Devil’s Canyon From Saddle #2

Photo, white border, circa 1920s – 1930s. Photo developer:  Hirsch & Kaye, San Francisco, California. Velox photo paper.

Price:  $12.00

The location of this beautiful winter mountain scene is a bit of a mystery. There is, not surprisingly, more than one Devil’s Canyon, or Cañon as it was meant to be spelled in the description on the front. The Spanish spelling was common until more recent decades, just as the word “today” was formerly seen as “to-day” and “puerto” was formerly written as “porto.” But what a breathtaking scene….just imagine yourself in the picture, taking big gulps of the crisp, clean air!

Definitions for the geographic term “saddle” vary somewhat, for details see Wiki’s Saddle (landform).

For guesses for the location of the photo, our best is the San Gabriel Mountains in Angeles National Forest.

The back is stamped:   “PlaTone Print. Hirsch & Kaye. 239 Grant Avenue, San Francisco.”  A city directory ad for the firm of Hirsch & Kaye was found as early as 1922, at this address. Directories and newspaper ads show that they were in the optometry, photo supply and photo and film developing business.

Below, the obituary of Alphonse Hirsch, pioneer optometrist, that appeared in the Santa Cruz Evening News, September 1923. Per the obit, son, Alphonse, Jr., was associated with the firm, Hirsch & Kaye:

Below, a Hirsch & Kaye ad, from the San Francisco Chronicle, September 24, 1923:

A 1938 ad from Santa Clarita’s The Signal:

Sources:  Saddle (landform). n.d. (accessed December 15, 2017).

San Gabriel Mountains. n.d. (accessed December 15, 2017).

H. S. Crocker Co., Inc.’s Crocker – Langley San Francisco City Directory, 1922. p. 1956. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.   photo supplies

R. L. Polk & Co.’s Crocker – Langley San Francisco City Directory, 1941. p. 1687. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.  optometrists

“Death Claims Alphonse Hirsch.” Santa Cruz Evening News (Santa Cruz, CA) September 7, 1923. Friday, p. 8. (

“Better Vision.” San Francisco Chronicle, September 24, 1923. Monday, p. 2. (

“Cameras.” The Signal (Santa Clarita, CA) July 21, 1938. Thursday, p. 6. (

A Break From The Summer Heat

Divided back, used postcard. Postmarked July 5, 1911[?] from East Jordan, Michigan. Publisher:  E. C. Kropp Co., Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Price:  $6.00

Old River in Winter, Charlevoix, the Beautiful:  A break for the senses from a Michigan summer’s sweltering heat, and a July 4th reference below….

Happy 4th!

“Hello old boy:  How does this look to you in this kind of weather? 104° yesterday & 90°  to-day, no trouble to keep warm I assure you. Have any fire crackers on the 4th ha ha. I amused my self with a toy pistol and some match heads. Yours, Scotty.”

Addressed to:   “Mr. E. C. Bowman, 33 Kingwood St., Morgantown, W. Va.”

The recipient of this card was likely Eugene C. Bowman, found on the 1910 Federal Census for Morgantown, with wife Madge (Smith). Both are W. Virginia natives: Eugene is about age twenty-seven on this census, and an engineer at a power plant.

Sources:  Year: 1910; Census Place: Morgantown Ward 1, Monongalia, West Virginia; Roll: T624_1691; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 0077; FHL microfilm: 1375704. (

“West Virginia Marriages, 1853–1970.” Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2008, 2009. (

In Our Front Yard

Old photo, circa early 1900s.

Price:  $3.00       Size:  About 4 and 1/8 x 2 and 1/2″

Gibson Girl hairstyles, sailor dresses, little brother and dog. Front yard posing in wintertime. There are no notes or i.d. written on the back, but imagine remembering the good time had by all. (Mabel, you were falling….That was your fault Eth, you were pulling me down!….) We can only see the back half of the dog, the boy is smiling looking straight into the camera, and what is he holding – could that be a folding pocket camera? The girls are clowning, and have tucked their long dresses into their boots, hanging on to each other in their best attempt to turn themselves into a 3-legged being. Behind them, their home, we presume. And in looking at the prior post (the two photos were found in the same pile) we wondered at first, if they could be some of the same girls, but likely not, this snapshot was probably taken earlier than the other….And what a heavenly front porch this must have been in summertime! Why was the wooden bench on the right turned over on it’s side? That’s another story!

Snow Maidens

Old photo, circa 1910s – 1920s.

Price:  $1.00       Size:  About 3 and 1/4 x 2 and 1/4″

Snow and laughter… here’s a great old photo for wintertime, no names (darn!) but wonderful just the same, of four young ladies, sisters or friends or a combination of both. They’re posed leaning on a snowbank with a house directly behind them. Note the nice porch supports. And are any of these girls the same as in the next upcoming snapshot? You be the judge!

Fortune Bright, Friendship True

Divided back, artist-signed, embossed, used postcard. Postmarked December 22, 1916 from Sacramento, California. Artist:  Ellen H. Clapsaddle. Publisher:  International Art Publishing Co. Series 104-3.

Price:  $12.00

Best Christmas Wishes…

“Fortune bright and friendship true,

Bless this Christmas-time for you.”

A Clapsaddle Christmas postcard:  This one’s a bit of a departure from the artist’s more recognizable work of adorable children. It shows a hazy winter scene of evergreens, with one in white standing out in embossed relief, and three small biblical-looking figures (I think it’s the staff that gives that impression) appearing near the bottom of the stand of trees, and then a rustic wooden fence leading to the foreground.

Sent to:   “Miss Bessie Ellison, 1415 G St, Sacramento, Calif.”

The sender wrote:   “A Merry Xmas and a happy New Year. F. J. Reynolds.”

The postcard cancellation was advertising the  “Panama California International Exposition at San Diego – 1916.”

Sources:  Ellen Clapsaddle. n.d. (accessed December 23, 2016).

Panama-California Exposition. n.d. (accessed December 23, 2016).

Me In 1915


Undivided back, used, artist-signed postcard. Postmarked April 6, 1906 from Waltham, Massachusetts.

Price:  $12.00

This 1906 postcard shows off the 1891 popular watercolor and gouache work, The Music of the Dance, by Philadelphia-born artist Arthur Burdett Frost (1851 – 1928). Funny that we have three dates here:  The date on the original artwork, 1891, that we see in the left corner of the “tableau” next to the signature; the postcard date of 1906; and the date projected into the future by, likely the sender of the postcard, who wrote,  “Me in 1915”.  Was the sender joking that he would be reduced to….or projecting his hopeful success of being elevated to the life of a traveling musician (in nine years time)? Interesting question!

And though the postcard is not in good condition, it’s the only one we see at this time online, and definitely a nice part of artist, postcard, and African-American in art history, not to mention significant for anyone doing any Rumrill family research.

The card was mailed to:   “Mr. F. P. Rumrill, Hillsboro Br., N.H.”

The abbreviation Br. is probably for Borough. And there are some possibilities but we didn’t find any “no-doubters” (as in home run baseball lingo) for F. P. Rumrill. But there were definitly Rumrills in Hillsborough (also written Hillsboro) notably a Frank G. Rumrill, born in NH December 1866 who appears on the 1900 Federal Census.

Sources:  Gouache. n.d. (accessed December 11, 2016).

“Arthur Burdett Frost (1851 – 1928) The Music for the Dance.” Copley Fine Art Auctions. ( Accessed December 11, 2016.

Year: 1900; Census Place: Hillsborough, Hillsborough, New Hampshire; Roll: 947; Page: 22B; Enumeration District: 0084; FHL microfilm: 1240947. (

Soapine Trade Card

Soapine Trade Card tc1Soapine Trade Card tc2

Soapine Trade Card, Circa 1880s. Lithographer:  William Karle, Rochester, New York.

Price:  $15.00.    Condition:  Very good, lays flat, no water damage or tears (click trade card images to see condition.)         Size:   About 5 and 1/4 x 3 and 1/2″

Beauty, eh?  Et elle montre un Québécois sans doute!  This trade card shows a man tobogganing (I like his style) wearing a white wool coat with blue and red stripes. (One might recall the Hudson’s Bay Company blankets. I see a vintage blanket at the time of this post on Etsy, with the red, blue and yellow stripe, though the yellow in our man’s coat appears as part of the barely visible lining.) And there’s his ceinture or sash, as in the days of the voyageurs. This card looks to have been one of a set of five, per a current eBay offering which includes another with the toboggan and three with a snowshoe theme.

Whale Oil?

There are hundreds of Soapine trade cards online, many, like the portion below from Google images, show the trademark whale, which personally I find hard to look at, but it was a different day and age back then, when whale oil was used for a variety of things, including in the making of soap and margarine.

Soapine Google Images

A short article from an 1881 Boston trade journal described someone’s analysis of Soapine in comparing it’s components to that of  “good Castile soap.”  

1881 Soapine Analysis

Predating the above, an ad was found dated July 11, 1879 in the Bangor Daily Whig and Courier.


Jumping back to the trade card…Can you find the lithographer name on the back?

Barely noticeable is the stamp from the lithographer that appears on the back of the card, just under Kendall Mfg. Co. which reads:  W. Karle, Rochester, N.Y, deciphered thanks to the eBay set of five, mentioned up top, where the name is much more discernible.

W. Karle is identified from the 1880 Federal Census for Rochester as William Karle, born in New York, occupation Lithographer; age 25; married to Mary (Eyer) Karle, born in Bavaria, age 28; their daughter, nine-month old Emila; and head of household on this census, Mary’s mother, Mary Eyer.

Below, an entry from the University of Rochester Library Bulletin, Vol. XXXV, 1982 regarding Rochester fruit and flower plates, by Karl Sanford Kabelac:

Karle & Co.; Karle & Reichenbach
William Karle (Rochester, September 19, 1854-Rochester, December 4, 1932) began his own lithographic company in Rochester in 1879. Anton Rahn was his partner for the first several years, and an 1881 guide to Rochester industries noted that Rahn & Karle had nine experienced employees, with Rahn responsible for the art work and Karle the engraving. From 1881 to 1883, according to the city directories, William F. Reichenbach was his partner. The firm was called Karle & Co. and then (1883) Karle & Reichenbach. Beginning in 1884, Karle is listed without a partner. Karle & Co. continued until 1932, when it merged with Stecher Lithographic (q.v.).

Looking very much like a business card, an 1879 city directory ad for William Karle.

Wm Karle Ad in 1879 Rochester City Directory p. 526

And back to Soapine again….

From an October 18, 1896 Boston Post article about Kendall Manufacturing, which mentioned a great company line that was seen at their exhibit at a food fair:   “Rain makes mud, mud makes dust and dust makes soap – necessary.”

Home Soapine Ad

Below, a nostalgically humorous by today’s standards, 1947 advertisement from the Troy Record.

1947 Soapine Ad

According to Kevin MacDonnell (MacDonnell Rare Books) Kendall Manufacturing lasted into the late 1950s, quite a long run from their established date of 1827! See his research regarding trade card artist Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Soapine and Kendall Manufacturing.

Sources:  “5 Fabulous Vict. Trade cards- Soapine- Snow shoe and Toboggan- 1880s.” eBay. Web accessed February 20, 2016.

Nichols, M.D., James R., ed. “Analysis of Soapine,”  The Boston Journal of Chemistry, Journal of Chemistry Company. Vol. XV. (1881):  pp. 136 – 137. (Google eBooks).

Bangor Daily Whig and Courier. Bangor, Maine. Fri, Jul 11, 1879 – Page 2. (

Year: 1880; Census Place: Rochester, Monroe, New York; Roll: 863; Family History Film: 1254863; Page: 57B; Enumeration District: 094; Image: 0701. (

Kabelac, Karl Sanford.  “University of Rochester Library Bulletin:  Nineteenth-Century Rochester Fruit and Flower Plates.”  Vol. XXXV. (1982). River Campus Libraries. ( Web accessed February 20, 2016.

Drew, Allis & Company’s Rochester City Directory, 1879. Vol. XXX p. 526. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

Boston Post. Boston, Massachusetts. Sun, Oct 18, 1896 – Page 21. (

The Troy Record. 27 Feb 1947. Thurs. p. 7. (

MacDonnell, Kevin  “Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Trade Card Designs.”  The New Antiquarian, Blog of the ABAA. Web accessed February 20, 2016.

Happy Be Thy Birthday

Happy Be Thy Birthday pc1Happy Be Thy Birthday pc2

“The wish of thy friend is

Happy be thy Birthday”


Per musings from the prior post, here’s another card with the often seen stone bridge. A simple design in a fancy frame:  a winter scene with red bridge over a stream and a red house that’s supposed to be further in the background. One of the Lena Davis collection, and the sender wrote:

“Oct. 4, 1912. Dear Cousin. Many happy birthday greetings from Mr. and Mrs. C. Haney[?]”

Addressed to:   “Miss Lena Davis. Almena, Kans. R. F. D. #3”

And what almost went unnoticed was the publisher info which barely appears from under the postage stamp, indicating Copyright E. Nash.

Last but not least, this same design with a different message shows up on another card in the same collection.

Divided back, embossed, used postcard. Postmarked October 5, 1912 from Elwood, Nebraska. Publisher:  E. Nash. Landscape Series, No. 16B.

Price:  $3.00

Three Generations In Winter

Three Generations In Winter pc1Three Generations In Winter pc2

Another winter scene in an unknown location:  This Real Photo Postcard shows a house, guessing the style might be Folk Victorian with a four-square layout; note the spindle work or gingerbread trim and the decorative running piece, that we can just see part of, on top of the roof. An older woman standing on the front porch holds a little boy who is perhaps her grandson, and two men, perhaps the woman’s sons, pose a little off to each side. The house appears at an angle, and in the foreground a picket fence runs most of the way across the photo. The fence is painted white except for the tops of the pickets, which are either painted a darker color or left unpainted. It looks like this was by design to be able to find the fence when the snow piled up high.

The time-frame for this card would be about 1907, due to the divided back, through about 1918, due to the AZO stamp box with all four triangles pointing upward. Wonder if it was the boy in the photo who wrote on the back. Looks like he addressed the card to someone and with a short message on the left 😉

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard. AZO stamp box.Circa 1907 – 1918.

Price:  $8.00

Pony And Boy

Pony And Boy pc1Pony And Boy pc2

A happy young man out for a ride on his pony on a winter’s day. We see a house in the far distance, a row of small trees or bushes (maybe fruit trees) and in the foreground what appears to be wagon or buggy wheel ruts in the snow. The time-frame for the postcard is about 1907 – 1918 due to the AZO stamp box with all four triangles pointing up.

Divided back, unused, Real Photo Postcard. AZO stamp box, circa 1907 – 1918.

Price:  $5.00