La Calèche De Québec

Divided back, unused postcard. Publisher:  Librairie Garneau, Québec, PQ Canada.  Circa 1931.

Price:  $3.00

La Calèche:  a popular subject for old Québec postcards

The calèche, as shown in the postcard, is a light carriage with two large wheels, drawn by one horse, and usually seen with its top folded back. After searching old newspapers (the term calèche abounds) and books online, it seems the name was perhaps used generically for carriage, maybe at some point having something to do with the hood style. (This Wiki article in french shows the different look with four wheels) and after many searches the only thing that seems clear is that when exactly the two-wheeler came into being would be a subject for a more in-depth search, but here’s an excerpt from an article in 1850 that appeared in the Christian Watchman (Boston).

And we couldn’t resist including this next snippet from a short story by Fred Hunter from the newspaper Flag of Our Union (Boston) re a mysterious woman in a blue bonnet, bringing to mind the two-wheeler, really, if conjuring an image…

Speaking of bonnets, the women’s bonnet in images below, was aptly named the “caleche capote” (carriage hood). Newspaper articles in 1879 reference this as the latest style.

Surface romance

But back to the conveyance:  Is the vehicle as seen in the postcard above still in use today? No, today we’re talking about the horse-drawn four-wheeled carriage that has been a part of the tourist industry in the cities of Montréal and Québec. This is an eye-opening topic, if you have not yet heard of the plight of the carriage horse. Glad now that we never took that carriage ride, well what –  twenty years ago in Montréal? But, still. And through the surface of charm and romance we’d probably have thought anyway, “But is the horse happy?” You know how it is when you get that feeling that you’ve bought into something fake, something glossy on the surface but behind the scenes, “not so much.” So, in many cities the use of the carriage horse has already been banned, while in other places the fight continues. Below, a couple of excellent websites:

Anti-Calèche Defense Coalition

Horses Without Carriages

On to the postcard….

After some online digging we found that our card originated from a Real Photo Postcard:  One is currently showing on eBay, “The Old World Caleche, Quebec, P. Q.,” published by S. J. Hayward, 1448 Mountain St., Montréal, and dated by the sender in 1931. The photo itself could have been taken earlier. In addition to our tinted version there is a second colorized rendition from Toronto publisher, The Post Card & Greeting Card Company, Ltd., as shown below, second from left, top row, in some images from a Google search.

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Sources:  Calèche. The Canadian Encyclopedia. (accessed March 18, 2017).

Calèche. n.d. https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cal%C3%A8che (accessed March 18, 2017).

“A Trip to Quebec.” Christian Watchman (Boston, MA) Thursday, October 10, 1850. p. 4. (GenealogyBank.com)

Hunter, Fred. “The Blue Velvet Bonnet – A Parisian Tale.” Flag of Our Union (Boston, MA) Saturday, March 31, 1949. p. 4. (GenealogyBank.com)

“Images of caleche bonnet.” Cropping of Google.com search result. https://www.google.com/search?q=images+of+caleche+bonnet&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8. (accessed March 18, 2017).

“Old World Caèche Montreal Quebec Canada 1931.” ebay.com http://www.ebay.com.sg/itm/Old-World-Caleche-MONTREAL-Quebec-Canada-1931-S-J-Hayward-Postcard-3874-/192109228919?hash=item2cba9a3377:g:j~cAAOSwEzxYdbBK(accessed March 18, 2017).

“Images of Quebec postcards calèche.” Cropping of Google.com search result. https://www.google.com/search?q=images+of+cal%C3%A8che+postcards+quebec&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj6_9-rwODSAhUQ32MKHYs4Bf0QsAQIGQ&biw=1205&bih=522. (accessed March 16, 2017).

A Coaching Christmas

Divided back, used postcard. Postmarked from Lodi, California, December 22, 1921. Publisher unknown. S02 – 6. Des. (design) Xmas.

Price:  $4.00

We’ll start off Christmas this year with a 1921 postcard from the Alice Ellison Collection showing a stagecoach with team of horses arriving at a country inn:  There’s the driver and two (artistic license most likely) coach guards, both with their “yard of tin,” the long trumpet used to announce arrival and departure, warn off other traffic on the road, and announce arrival at toll gates; and with the figures of a man and boy; a bunny bounding down the path through the snow; and a couple of horseshoes and whip….altogether a charming remembrance of the Regency Era. The card’s beautiful verse goes out to all:

“Each Christmas binds more close the friends

We knew in Auld Lang Syne,

And so, in thought, my hand extends

To meet the clasp of thine.”

Addressed to:   “Miss Ella Ellison, 1314 F St., Sacramento, Califa.,”  and signed, “From Mrs. McNees & Dorothy.”

Walnut Festival Parade

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Vintage parade photo, 1950s, Walnut Festival.

Price:  $10.00            Size:  5 x 3 and 1/2″

Circa 1950s, of the Walnut Festival Parade, showing a view of horses, tacked up in silver finery, and their riders (does the guy in the foreground remind you of Teddy Roosevelt?) in hats and typical fifties-era cowboy shirts, on parade before an audience lined up on both sides of the street. The most logical guess for location would be Walnut Creek, California. We’re not finding city directories or old phone books online for this time-frame for Walnut Creek, so perhaps the answer lies in a local library. (A day trip on the horizon?) One of the most helpful clues to identify the city would be the restaurant on the left. You can see a sign showing “Chick’s Eat”  above the  “….Famous Fried Chicken”  sign. (Check out the guy perched up there, who secured a nice spot for himself to watch the parade.) We can also make out a Chevron logo on the other side of the street (one such sign recently sold for $1800.00.)  In the background, the banner strung across the road reads,  “Walnut Festival.”

Queen Anne Soap, Detroit Soap Co.

Queen Anne Soap tc1

Trade card, Detroit Soap Company. Circa 1883. Copyright, Clay & Richmond, Buffalo. N.Y.

Price:  $20.00            Size:   About 2 and 1/2 x 3 and 3/4″

Here’s an unusual choice for a trade card image, sort of:  a knight on a white horse, thundering down a country road. Looks like he’s on a mission, or exhausted coming back from one. You would expect to see a more victorious image of a knight in armor, the well-rested horse and rider….majestic bearing, etc. But that’s one of the great things about pursuing old trade cards:  finding the unexpected. Musing on an idea now…of things being less standardized decades ago. Makes sense, and sounds like a good theme for a college paper. Or, maybe more accurately, how images evolve over time. But back to the trade card, which shows:

“Queen Anne Soap. The Favorite Family Soap of America. The Purest and Best in the World. Manufactured by Detroit Soap Co., Detroit, Mich.”

“Copyright, Clay & Richmond, Buffalo. N.Y. 1883.”

From Detroit Free Press newspaper ads and articles the Detroit Soap Company started up in the summer of 1881, or shortly prior, and were originally located at Dix Avenue, between 24th and 25th streets in Detroit. The company was managed by Samuel Post of Ypsilanti, and his sons William R., and Samuel, Jr. (The time-frame for the sons was not researched.) A fire on May 7, 1898 destroyed the Dix Ave plant which then stood abandoned for at least a couple of years. Sometime after the fire in the same year, 1898, the factory was re-built at a different location on 25th St. and another constructed at what was the foot of Leib St. on the riverfront, just west of Mt. Elliott Ave and kitty corner from the western edge of Belle Isle. Queen Anne Soap stores were located on 77 Woodward Ave in Downtown Detroit, as well as in Saginaw, Grand Rapids and Toledo. In 1915 the Detroit Soap Co. was sold to Lautz Bros. & Co., making that a pretty good soap-making run of about thirty-four years.

A couple of “buy local” requests from about 135 years ago….so timely for today, eh?

Detroit Soap Co Ad 10 Aug 1881   Detroit Free Press, August 10, 1881

Detroit Soap Co Ad 14 Aug 1881   Detroit Free Press, August 14, 1881

From the top, Michigan in 1881 is still considered to be  “in the West.”  And from the article above,  “All things being equal, home industries should be patronized exclusively, for the support given by the people of a city to its manufacturers, encourages and sustains them. Without manufacturing enterprises no village could ever hope to become a city.”  Funny to think of Detroit as a village, but then in 1881 that village image was not as far removed, time-wise. Fast forward to today, in 2016, and here we are talking about, getting involved in, and cheer leading for, the continued resurgence of the city of Detroit. (If one could be in two places at once…anyway, Luv baby, 313 😉 )

Fire at the original building on Dix

Reduced To Ashes   Detroit Free Press, May 8, 1898

From the above, seven fire engines were called to the scene, firefighters Edward Bates, Joseph Hockenfeldt and Frank Gaffney of Engine Company 10, miraculously escaped death. Other names mentioned are Fire Chief Broderick and Night Engineer Bullock who discovered the fire and Night Watchman, William Robbins who sounded the alarm.

Factories   Detroit Free Press, January 1, 1899

According to the above, which was under the heading,  “Building in Detroit in 1898. Operations show an improvement despite contrary figures”  it appears the company re-built at a different location on 25th Street, as well as building a new factory at 304-312 Wight Street. The Wight St. address must have been what became referred to as “foot of Leib St.” and would be the location in the drawing below.

The Riverfront, Detroit Soap Company and civic pride

Queen Anne Soap Factory   Detroit Free Press, May 27, 1906

The riverfront location for the Detroit Soap Co. was at the foot of Leib Street, just west of Mt. Elliott Ave, at what is now the Harbortown area. Leib is no longer at the river, only a portion of it remains, a little further north. Check out the current era before and after photos of the riverfront (awesome transformation!) under the Riverwalk category at the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy website. That’s part of Belle Isle at the bottom right in the image below.

Leib St 1901  1901 map showing Leib St.

The partial Riverfront map above is from Polk’s city directory for Detroit, 1901. It’s a great reference if you’re looking for a city map from this era, and will be found at the beginning of the directory, right before the cover page.

Free Excursions   Detroit Free Press, May 27, 1906

May 1906:  50 soap wrappers per adult and 35 per child would get you a trip and back to Bois Blanc on the “magnificent” steamer Columbia and 75 per adult and 40 per child would get you a trip and back to Put-in-Bay on the “flyer of the lakes, the handsome” steamer Frank E. Kirby. If you notice, the offer says Queen Anne Soap has been around for 30 years, but nothing was found for them or Detroit Soap Co. prior to 1881, so maybe the facts were stretched a little.

Detroit Soap Sells to Buffalo Firm   Detroit Free Press, Sept. 13, 1915

Above, the Buffalo, N.Y. firm, Lautz Bros. & Co. acquire the Detroit Soap Co.

Sources:  “Patronize Michigan Manufacturers!” Detroit Free Press, Wednesday, August 10, 1881. p. 5. (Newspapers.com)

“Business Points.”  Detroit Free Press, Sunday, August 14, 1881. p. 1. (Newspapers.com)

“Reduced to Ashes.”  Detroit Free Press, Sunday, May 8, 1898. p. 20.  (Newspapers.com)

“Factories.”  Detroit Free Press, Sunday, January 1, 1899. p. 7. (Newspapers.com)

“Sayings and Doings”  Detroit Free Press, Wednesday, August 15, 1900. p. 5. (Newspapers.com)

“Plant of Detroit Soap Co. Where Improvement of River Front Began.”  Detroit Free Press, Sunday, May 27, 1906. p. 4. (Newspapers.com)

Detroit city map. R. L. Polk & Co.’s Detroit City Directory, 1901. (Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995).

“Free Excursions to the Users of Queen Anne Soap.”  Detroit Free Press, Sunday, May 27, 1906. p. 14. (Newspapers.com)

“Detroit Soap Co. Sells Business to Buffalo Firm.”  Detroit Free Press, Monday, September 13, 1915. p. 5. (Newspapers.com)

Salinas River Flooding, Circa 1900s

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The first in a series of (mostly) copies of old photos of Salinas, California and environs:

This one was labelled on the plastic sleeve as  “Salinas River, Flooded, 1900s.”  It shows two horse and buggy sets and a third horse-drawn vehicle, maybe a wagon, it’s hard to tell. In any case, all three are being driven up a wide, flooded dirt road, traveling toward the photographer. The lighting doesn’t let us pick out too many details for drivers and passengers. And the photo’s exact location is unknown at the moment, but within the scene we find a couple of great clues:  In addition to some farm buildings, a weather vane and a utility pole, we see a couple of two-story wooden buildings – the one on our right, shows “Tavern” painted on the side, (see the horse standing in front?) and the one on our left appears to say “Riverside Hotel.” Hats off to you if you can make out the sign above the entrance way (Pederson?) In the far distance is part of the mountain range that surrounds the Salinas Valley. All in all, a great photo….but we’ll keep looking for that hotel.

Copy of old photo originally taken circa 1900s. Unknown photographer.

Price:  $15.00          Size:  10 x 8″

Cutting Wheat

Cutting Wheat p1

An old photo, circa 1900s to 1920s, of a farmer behind a team of four (hard-working!) horses pulling a grain cutter-binder machine. That’s a riding crop the farmer is holding. And that looks like a lot of heavy equipment the horses are strapped into, but the fringed-type back covers are fly nets, to help keep the flies off of the sweating horses. From the 1901 newspaper ad below, it appears that the leather strips in the netting were called lashes.

Horse Goods Items Ad

Here’s a YouTube video of a tractor-pulled McCormick Deering Antique Wheat Binder in action. The machine cuts the grain, gathers it, and binds the bundles with twine, leaving the bundles to be picked up later to be taken off for the threshing process.

Price:  $10.00

Size:  About 5 and 1/2 x 3 and 1/4″     Condition:  Good except there is a small tear at the top.

Sources:  “Horse goods items.” Chicago Daily Tribune. June 30, 1901. Sunday, p. 49. (Newspapers.com)

Taylor, C. [ctaylor9919]. (July 3, 2009). McCormick Deering Antique Wheat Binder. [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubG4YVzyzOE.

Little Girl And Big Horse, Defiance, Iowa

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Oh! I hadn’t realized I had two by this photographer. Excellent! It’s a great one of a pretty girl (gazing downward) in coat, gloves and hat (how do you like that big pom pom, not to mention the big bow outside the coat?) She’s standing on a wooden mounting block, next to a beautiful horse (that sweet expression!), and she’s holding onto the reigns with one hand. It’s maybe late winter, early spring, the ground is wet and muddy. We see a conglomeration of buildings in the background. It’s not very affluent-looking, maybe these are farm buildings, but then it looks like we might have a main city street running behind them. For some reason I think England when I look at this photo. Don’t know why. The photo artist’s stamp on the back shows:

“Photo By Jessie Westbrook, Defiance, Iowa.”

See the prior post for more on Miss Jessie Westbrook.

Divided back, unused Real Photo Postcard. Photographer:  Jessie Westbrook. Circa 1914 – 1917.

Price:  $15.00

Horse Team And Wagon, Defiance, Iowa

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The scene in this Real Photo Postcard is of three women, ready for travel, who are seated in a wagon that is hitched to a team of light-colored horses; a gentleman standing at the horses heads, probably steadying the team so the shot can be taken; and in the immediate background, a high wooden fence and beautiful barn. (Photos of old barns now immediately remind me of the t.v. show Barnwood Builders – Mark Bowe and his crew restoring old log cabins and barns or re-purposing the old logs. Check it out if you haven’t seen it yet.) And the expressions of the women are wonderfully varied. It’s a great shot, despite a little blurriness at the bottom center. And, if you read on, you will see that the photographer was likely not set up professionally; therefor, this photo might have some relation to the photo artist’s family or friends. The back of the card shows the stamp:

“Photo By Jessie Westbrook, Defiance, Iowa.”

You go, Jessie girl!

So, Jessie does not show up at all in city directories as a photographer; nor do any of the State or Federal Census records show her listed as such. This is the first time we’ve run across a female photographer.

The 1910 Federal Census for Defiance, Shelby County, Iowa, shows Jessie, born Iowa, about 1885, living with parents Charles H. and Maria Westbrook. Charles’ occupation is Pharmacist. Jessie’s occupation is Proof Reader in a printing office. Charles was born in Pennsylvania, and Maria born in New York.

The 1915 State Census for Defiance has Jessie M. Westbrook, no occupation listed, church affiliation Methodist. Entries on the 1915 are on separate cards, but she’s presumably still living with her parents.

The 1920 reveals she is still single, living with her parents in Defiance. Her occupation on the 1920 is listed as Operator, the rest is hard to read (looks like Register).

By 1925 Jessie is married to William Uptegrove, who was born about 1864 in Missouri. They’re living in Portsmouth, Shelby County, Iowa. His parents are Edward L. Uptegrove and Elizabeth C. McKinsey. Jessie’s mother’s maiden name is Ashton. (How heavenly are these 1925 Iowa State Census records! They even include the parents’ place of marriage.)

We wonder if there is any more photography out there by Jessie Westbrook…Oh, well lo and behold, I do have one more by her. See the next post. And did she still do photography after she got married? I like to think yes.

On one last note:  Playle.com estimates this particular style of postcard back header as being from about 1914 to 1917.

Divided back, unused Real Photo Postcard. Photographer: Jessie Westbrook. Circa 1914 – 1917.

Price:  $12.00

Sources:  Year: 1910; Census Place: Union, Shelby, Iowa; Roll: T624_423; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0177; FHL microfilm: 1374436. (Ancestry.com)

1915 State Census, Defiance, Iowa. Ancestry.com. Iowa, State Census Collection, 1836-1925

Year: 1920; Census Place: Union, Shelby, Iowa; Roll: T625_513; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 196; Image: 840. (Ancestry.com)

1925 State Census, Portsmouth, Iowa. Ancestry.com. Iowa, State Census Collection, 1836-1925

“Real Photo Postcard Stamp Backs – Unknown Manufacturers.”  Playle.com. (Accessed April 12, 2016.)

Another Horse And Buggy RPPC

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Another Real Photo Postcard with horse and buggy:  this one showing two gents in suits and derby hats. It looks to be maybe late winter, as the trees in the background are not leafed out yet. Also showing is a utility pole, and a house (or church or school?) with a cupola. We see some buildings further back:  the one on the left makes us think this is farm land.

The always helpful Playle.com website dates this particular Sailboat stamp box as from year 1908.

Divided back, unused, Real Photo Postcard. Sailboat stamp box, circa 1908.

Price:  $4.00

Source:  “Real Photo Postcard Stamp Boxes, R – T.”  Playle.com. (Web accessed April 10, 2016.)

Horse And Buggy Couple

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“12 1/2 of these”  appears written in pencil on the back of this Real Photo Postcard. Hmmm, maybe this was photography lingo for twelve “half-size” or something to this effect. But it’s a beautiful photo of a young couple posing for the camera, seated in their buggy, with horse hitched, ready to start or resume a jaunt in the country. There are some nice details to pick out:  hats for both (of course) the young lady’s is a fairly wide-brimmed straw topped with flowers; a pin-striped suit and bow-tie for the gent; and they are cozy under a fringed lap coverlet (perhaps it was morning, with a little chill in the air.)

Divided back, unused with writing, Real Photo Postcard. Circa 1910.

Price:  $10.00