Young Hockey Players

Vintage photo, white border, circa 1950s.

Price:  $4.00         Size: 4 and 7/8 x 3″

It’s hockey season again, yay!

These guys are happily posing with their sticks on a frozen stream, by the looks of it. There’s a rustic wooden bridge behind them. Easy to miss in the background is an Esso gas station sign. No writing on the back but this photo was found (at the paper fair in San Francisco) in a bin floating around near other ephemera of French-Canadian origin, which we’ll be posting next…..But hey, where are the guys’ skates? And one more question:  Could the sticks have been handmade? Just wondering because of the lack of any company name appearing on them, especially on the goalie’s, the wider one, in the front center. And in googling Esso we discovered a major connection to the sport.

Cropped shot of the Esso sign appearing in the photo:

Some trivia….

First of all, did you know that the name Esso is just the pronunciation of the S and O for Standard Oil?

The first NHL game broadcast on the radio was in 1936 and was sponsored by the Esso brand.

The three stars awarded in NHL games originated as a way to advertise Imperial’s three star brand of gasoline.

See the Imperial/Esso/Mobil link for more.

Source:  Esso and Mobil:  Our History. https://www.esso.ca/en/our-history. Accessed October 27, 2019.

From Mother to Roas and Mike

Divided back, embossed, unused postcard. Printed in Austria. Circa late 1900s – early to mid-1910s.

Price:  $5.00

Hearty Easter Greetings

A sheep pulling a cart (note the wheels are made of or covered in flowers) holding a large red Easter egg. Underneath is a beautiful embossed spray of violets, roses, forget-me-nots and lilies of the valley, and in the background green snow-topped mountains and embossed snow falling in a  pink (!) sky. The age of this card is just an estimate, guessing it might be pre-WWI. And the recipients of the postcard, Roas? and Mike. Guessing Roas might have been short for Rosalinda (with odd spelling). Notice how two lines were drawn with a straight edge for the sender to write on. (These details seem to transport us back to the moment it was being written!)

Albert Mayer And Tobias Branger Storefronts, Davos, Switzerland

Carte-de-visite. Circa 1890s. Davos, Switzerland

Availability Status:  SOLD          Size:  4 and 1/16 x 2 and 7/16″

Circa 1890’s, Davos, Switzerland….

Here’s a carte-de-visite found at an antique shop on the Central Coast of California. And, it’s always a thrill to get a photo scanned to the computer (mentally rubbing hands together in anticipation of being hit with the wow factor, or the “hmmmmm factor”, which is just as good, or better, the intrigue, you know….which can then lead us to the wow factor. 😉 ) But, it can’t be stretching the point to say that each item anyone finds (or has, or looks at, or whatever) whether it’s a postcard, a photo, a trade card, a calling card, or some other enchanting piece of ephemera, likewise a piece of furniture, jewelry, etc., is like a key just waiting to open, or re-open, multiple doorways. Come to think about it everything has a history, even a scrap of paper lying on the ground outside….The contemplation of the history of everything is mind-blowing, which leads one to thinking about the inter-connectedness of everything and everyone, no doorways now, just like a billion times a billion, or better, infinity times infinity of criss-crossed links, well….really just oneness. (Is this how enlightenment happens for some, the contemplation of a piece of dust or a scrap of paper?)

Alpine air and wonderful shops

Davos, Switzerland, circa 1890s:  A street scene showing the Centralhof, (Central court) which is the tall building, (guessing this might have been an apartment building or hotel) and attached to the Centralhof a line of single-story shops; of these, the two store names that we can discern are, on the left, Albert Mayer Juwelier (Jewelry store) and on the right Tob. Branger. Click the image to enlarge and note at the top of the Branger window, there’s a phrase of some sort, the second word appears to be Voyage. The first word appears to start with an “A” so, maybe it was the poetic, l’Art du Voyage:  It turns out that Tobias (pronounced TOE-be-us) Branger and brother Johannes owned a shop specializing in, “…sporting equipment and ‘travelling utensils.’ ” 

All who wander…..

A little research explodes into lots of (snow-covered) paths to wander down…..Wow! Tobias Branger, thought to be the first professional ski instructor in the Alps…..he and brother Johannes teaching author Arthur Conan Doyle to ski….the history of Alpine skiing…..Doyle’s contribution to Davos as a winter sports destination….Davos’ history as a health resort for tuberculosis sufferers….the life of Louisa Doyle, Conan’s first wife…..Tobias’ “Norwegian snowshoes” (were they in the shop window at the time of the carte-de-visite photo?)….Alpine skiing with one pole….night skiing to avoid ridicule (I’m picturing the Brangers and other pioneers hanging out with today’s winter X sports pioneers and contributors – kindred spirits, for sure.) Wonderful articles online abound – see the links further below. And a question:  Is that Tobias and Johannes Branger posing outside their shop in the photo? A definite maybe. And though Tobias Branger and Conan Doyle are said to have looked remarkably alike, of the two, it would seem to be Tobias (on our left) in the image. See the comparison photos in In the Tracks of Sherlock Holmes, first link below.

Location confirmation

Backtracking a little, not being certain, at first, that the scene on our card was really Davos, we found mention of jeweler Albert Mayer, in the Dutch publication shown below, which is a guide for the treatment center for lung ailments and a travel guide. Description of some of the shops lists Mayer’s as having “the finest gold works, watches and rings,” and just to mention a couple more, a store selling Swiss wood carvings and (one can picture how the author of this booklet was charmed at finding) a flower shop with [Google translation from Dutch]  “the most robust little bouquets, even in winter when the trampled snow outside the shops is at least two feet high.”

In the Tracks of Sherlock Holmes

Davos –  the pioneer:  Winter tourism in the Alps

The Davos sledge:  A classic among sports equipment

Two Planks and a Passion

Teller of Tales:  The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle

More musings on the carte details….

Was there some occasion for this photograph, or was it just the occasion of a photographer taking a photo circa 1890s? Note the three people on the second story outdoor courtyard area of the Centralhof building, two ladies on the left and a man on the right. (This from inspection under a magnifying glass – feeling a little Sherlock Holmes-y, for sure….) Other details to note are the duffel-looking bags (maybe mail bags) in front of both Albert Mayer’s and the Brangers’ shop; the poster advertisement – a mustachioed man with epaulets pointing in the distance and young woman just below him, it’s maybe a company name advertised there (almost readable) ; the iron balconies of the Centralhof building; the beautiful horizontal stripe effect of the mason work on the shop fronts….

Sources:  Stashower, Daniel. Teller of Tales: The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle. Henry Holt & Co., 1999. Google Books accessed March 31, 2013.

Davos – the pioneer:  Winter tourism in the Alps. (www.davos.ch.) Accessed March 31, 2019.

The Davos sledge:  A classic among sports equipment. (www.davos.ch.) Accessed March 31, 2019.

Louisa Hawkins. The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia. (www.arthur-conan-doyle.com) Accessed March 31, 2019.

Huntford, Roland. Two Planks and a Passion: The Dramatic History of Skiing. Continuum UK, 2008. Google Books accessed March 31, 2013.

Rosenblatt, Albert and Julia. “In the Tracks of Sherlock Holmes.”  Skiing. February 1982. pp. 74-78. Google Books accessed March 31, 2013.

Andriessen, Willem Frederik. Davos: eene beschrijving van het leven in dit herstellingsoord voor borstlijders. Van Raven, 1888. p. 56. Google Books accessed March 31, 2013.

Snow-covered Oldsmobile

Old photograph, 1949 – 1950s.

Price:  $3.00         Size:  3 and 3/16 x 3 and 1/16″

This is definitely an Oldsmobile, maybe a 1949 or ’50 Series 76 or a 1951 Oldsmobile 88. The styles were very similar for those three years, but it’s not the ’52 due to the front bumper re-design at that time.

This image brings back lots of memories! Michigan, a wet cold, pushing off mountains of snow from the car, getting snow under your sleeves, scraping at the ice on the windshield while waiting for the car to heat up….the scraper was either the short one with the pale yellow handle (but the scraper part was the color of an icicle) or the long one with the brush along one end (the brush didn’t do well with heavy inches, thus you resorted to using your arm.) The fun sometimes, riding with Dad while he let the car slide a little on the ice, on purpose. The not-so-fun part of getting stuck – it was especially tricky going around the “islands”  but an old rug under that spinning tire worked good (if you’d remembered to put one in the back seat). And there was the camaraderie of neighbors helping each other, the Good Samaritan coming along and pushing while you finessed the gas pedal…..and then what stands out for me (some pride here) as the ultimate winter driving experience – the city didn’t have the money to plow our residential streets, so we were forced to learn (knowledge is power) how to share that one and only set of tire tracks (that had been carved out previously by prior vehicles) when meeting an oncoming car. A beautiful thing – you and the other driver – the recognition, the skill (when there was a lot of snow) and the feeling of unity/harmony/good will/accomplishment, relief if the snow was really deep (you’d gotten by each other unstuck and unscathed) and that little bit of pride – who needs snowplows?

Branch Brook Park In Winter, Newark NJ

Undivided back postcard. Series or number 1969. Postmarked March 7, 1909.

Price:  $5.00

Branch Brook Park is known for its Cherry Blossom Festival and was the first county park in the United States.

Though the postmark is dated 1909, this card would have been produced prior to the change in U.S. postal regulations in December 1907, which saw the advent of the Divided Back cards.

On the reverse, part of the address is unreadable, looks like this postcard was once glued in an album or just had something stuck on the back. But….mystery solved:   We actually have another Canning postcard with the full name on it. So, our card above would have been addressed to either (or both) Mr. M. J. Canning (Montgomery J. Canning) or Mrs. M. J. Canning (Louise Canning). The address from the 1909 city directory was 406 Clayton St., San Francisco, California.

See Surprise Us – Write for more on the Cannings.

Reading wrong between the lines….

Straight to the point with a rather catchy phrase, the sender (Mame?) wrote:   “You are reading wrong between lines. Your postal was all O.K.  need not take it back.    Mame”

Sources:  Branch Brook Park. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Branch_Brook_Park (accessed January 13, 2019).

Crocker-Langley’s San Francisco Directory for 1909, p. 362. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

For Nora From Jessie

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard. Unused, circa 1910s.

Price:  $4.00

“Dear Nora. This was taken when I was at home. They aren’t very good but will send them any way, what did you do with you Kodack, don’t you take any more. Jessie”

Sounds like Jessie had more postcards or photos that she had sent to Nora, and funny, but oftentimes we see the sender leaving off question marks in their message. In this case, Nora was asking what Jessie had done with her Kodak camera, isn’t she taking any more photos? No last name or location for this image, but it’s so charming. Wintertime or maybe early spring on the farm:  Posing for the shot, three beautiful children, and a handsome young man, (who looks to be about sixteen, I thought, but click to enlarge, and you’ll notice it looks like he wears a wedding ring.)  I love it when everyone in a photo is looking in different directions.

I Hope You’re Happy, Too.

Divided back postcard. Postmarked December 22, 1920, Oakland, California. Series or number 425A.

Price:  $8.00

“I Hope You’re Happy Too

I feel so fine and Christmassy

And generally good,

I want to share the feeling

As a good friend rightly should.”

Signed, Florence Thickle.

These postcard captions are funny sometimes, which is definitely part of the charm of the old cards. And well, imagine trying to come up with something slightly different for yet another Christmas postcard….As for the illustration, it’s beautiful – a full moon lights a wonderful view looking up a set of steep steps (be careful on the way down!) toward a manor house, we presume (due to the grandeur of the approach).

The sender, Florence, wrote:

4427 Evans ave., Oakland, Calif. Dec. 21, ’20. Dear Grandma Waiters:  This is to wish you happy Xmas, and a fine new year. I’m not doing much for this Xmas; but hope I’ll be able to be at work again before very long. How are you all? Hope old Santa treats you all real good. Lots of love from – Florence.”

Addressed to:   “Mrs. V. C. Waiters, Paso Robles, California.”

V. C. Waiters is Vesta C. Waiters, wife of William A. Waiters (second marriage for both) found on the 1910 Federal Census for Paso Robles, born Iowa, about 1847. Her name at birth was Vesta Catherine Fry. On the 1920 she is widowed, head of household in Paso Robles; with her is her brother William H. Fry and granddaughter, Sarah E. Gesser. Curiously, nothing definitive was found for Florence Thickle in records, though we did not trace the grandmother-granddaughter relationship as that tends to be quite time-consuming. Florence must not have been at the Evans Avenue, Oakland address for very long as city directories show a different family in 1920.

Sources:  Year: 1910; Census Place: Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, California; Roll: T624_104; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 0038; FHL microfilm: 1374117. Year: 1920; Census Place: Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, California; Roll: T625_144; Page: 15B; Enumeration District: 45. (Ancestry.com).

Bertha Jensen And Wendall Wheat, 1928

Photo dated 1928, probable location:  Superior, Wisconsin.

Price:  $8.00             Size:  About 2 and 1/4 x 3 and 1/8″

An adorable photo of Wendell Wheat, about one year old, bundled up warmly for the cold weather in the likely location of Superior, Wisconsin and with him is his aunt, Mrs. Bertha (Clancy) Jensen. Bertha was born in Minnesota in August 1897 so would have been thirty when this photo was taken.

Sources:  Year: 1930; Census Place: Superior, Douglas, Wisconsin; Roll: 2570; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 0029; FHL microfilm: 2342304. (Ancestry.com).

Year: 1900; Census Place: Deer Creek, Otter Tail, Minnesota; Roll: 779; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 0155; FHL microfilm: 1240779. (Ancestry.com).

Year: 1930; Census Place: Caledonia, Racine, Wisconsin; Roll: 2606; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 0006; FHL microfilm: 2342340. (Ancestry.com).

Mystery Language

Divided back, unused, Real Photo Postcard. AZO stamp box. Circa 1904 – 1918. Printed in Canada.

Price:  $8.00

The snow is piled up in front of two stylish ladies (check out all the trim on the young woman’s coat) who have posed for this photo. Their dog is beside them, and prominent in the background is what looks to be a church, just from the shape of the windows, and next to the church, a house. The branches of the bare trees are beautiful in this scene, too. Possibly the postcard photo originated in the same area as the sender’s address, so the card may be of historical interest for Saskatoon history buffs, as well as any Abrams descendants.

Baffled….for now

But the note from the sender of this card is a stumper. What language is it written in?  Deciphering can be tricky for old postcards in other languages due to abbreviations and sometimes misspelled words or former spellings of words used, let alone a person’s particular style of cursive, although the name and address are easily read on this one as:   “Mrs. Wm. Abrams, Saskatoon, Sask.”

Without being able to decipher but one or two words on the back (if that) we turned to searching for the receiver of this card to find their native tongue as stated on census records. There is a William Abrams and his wife Maria and their children listed on the 1911 and 1916, residing in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. This would coincide with the postcard date of circa 1904 to 1918, per the AZO stamp box (all four triangles pointing upward, along with divided back starting December 1903 in Canada.) William was born in Russia and Maria in Germany. William’s declaration of intent, in his U. S. naturalization process, appears to show that he was born in Ekaterinoslav, Russia, which is now called Dnipro and lies within Ukraine….No other possible Abrams were found to fit our postcard, so this is all good info, even though it doesn’t help us figure out the writing on the back. Hopefully, we’ll get some help on the translation from somewhere!

Sources:  Year: 1911; Census Place: 30 – Saskatoon Ward 1, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; Page: 26; Family No: 236. (Ancestry.com).

Year: 1916; Census Place: Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, 03B; Roll: T-21944; Page: 22; Family No: 247. (Ancestry.com).

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Naturalization Records of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, Central Division (Los Angeles), 1887-1940; Microfilm Roll: 21; Microfilm Serial: M1524.

Dnipro. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dnipro (accessed January 16, 2018).

Par La Lumière De La Lune

Divided back, unused postcard. Made in France. Series Nivôse. Publisher: SR. Série Nivôse. Reproduction Interdite. Fabrication Française.

Price:  $10.00

Bonne Année

Happy New Year….by the light of the moon:  A rustic but romantic artist’s rendition of a home in winter, that you could travel under by boat, almost like a toll gate building, but then not. It’s rather unusual.

Nivôse, from the Latin word nivosus, meaning snowy, was the fourth month in the French Republican Calendar, and the first month of the winter quarter.

The date of the card is unknown, as is any information on the publisher, though we presume the publishing company used the initials “SR.”

Source:  Nivôse. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niv%C3%B4se (accessed January 6, 2018).