Alaska Mining Camp In Winter

Divided back postcard, unused. Publisher:  Edward H. Mitchell, San Francisco, California. Printed in the United States. Series or number 1416. Circa 1910s.

Price:  $5.00

I had to check the title on this one, yes, Alaska Mining Camp (an undisclosed mining camp in Alaska) is correct, rather than “Alaskan” Mining Camp. I thought the original title printed on the card made it sound like there is a town called Winter, in Alaska, which per a quick web search, there is not. This card is a segue from the snow in the previous ice skater card, for which the winter theme got interrupted by a post about the ice skater card’s publisher. So, back to winter, briefly, before linking this Alaska card to totem poles in AK, coming up next. If none of this makes sense 🙂 it doesn’t matter, it’s only that I like to find some kind of link from one post to the next, just for fun.

And if this one reminds you of a song, the most obvious may be….“Big Sam left Seattle in the year of ninety-two, With George Pratt his partner and brother Billy too…..”  You know it (a great one!). Anyway, it’s not 1892 at the time of this postcard, but probably more like the 1910s. And the publisher, San Francisco native Edward H. Mitchell (1867 – 1932) was a major West Coast name in postcard publishing. For some interesting insight into the souvenir card business in year 1917, see Mitchell’s letter written in opposition to the proposed rate hike for postage at that time. (The increase to 2 cents went into effect November 2, 1917 and was changed back to one cent July 1, 1919.)

Sources:  Horton, Johnny;Franks, Tilman. “North to Alaska.” 1960.

“Letter from Edward H. Mitchell, Publisher of Souvenir Post Cards, San Francisco, Cal.” Revenue to Defray War Expenses:  Hearings and Briefs…on H.R. 4280. U.S. Government Printing Office. Washington, DC. 1917. (Google.com books).

History of United States Postal Rates. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_United_States_postage_rates (accessed February 1, 2020).

Happy New Year To Chillon Carter

Divided back postcard. Postmarked December 31, 1914 from Joplin, Missouri. Publisher unknown. Printed in Germany. Series or number 1154/1.

Price:  $8.00

Here’s another card, like the previous one we posted, that’s tinted (or colored, if either is the right term) and also so cute. On this one a little girl is surrounded by good luck/prosperity symbols – piggies (two), a four leaf clover, a horseshoe, and what looks like bags of money. (Well, that last is not so much “a sign of” but more prosperity itself, it seems.) And one interesting rendition of why pigs are good luck, specifically on New Year’s Day, comes from the Pennsylvania Dutch, and it’s because pigs root forward, and we want to go forward in the new year. See the link in the sources listed below for the online article.

This card is addressed to a gentleman with an unusual first name. It reads:   “Chillon Carter, R F D # 1 – Galena Kansas.”

And the sender wrote:   “Your xmas gifts rec’d ok. Many thanks. Have some for you. Will come over soon. Probably Sunday. I was in Columbus between trains one day last week at Carthage yesterday. Hope you had a nice time xmas, we were sorry that we could not come over there I had a severe cold & Johnnie thought the weather to cold to make the drive. am all ok, now. Mabel[?]    Rec’d New Year box all O.K. this a.m.”

From the 1920 census and Find A Grave, we find that Chillon E. Carter, born 1902 in Kansas, was the son of Chilon Carter and Sadie (Stanley) Carter.

Sources:  Stoneback, Diane. “Why eat pork and sauerkraut for New Year’s day?”January 1. 2018. 12 a.m. (accessed January 1, 2020).

Year: 1920; Census Place: Spring Valley, Cherokee, Kansas; Roll: T625_526; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 40. (Ancestry.com).

Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 01 January 2020), memorial page for Chillon E. Carter (28 Oct 1902–29 Mar 1939), Find A Grave Memorial no. 27017873, citing Oak Hill Cemetery, Galena, Cherokee County, Kansas, USA ; Maintained by JFI (contributor 47211966) .

Borealis and Sleigh Ride

Antique circular print. Artist and publisher unknown. Circa 1880s – 1900.

Price for circular print without background:  $5.00        Size:  About 3 and 3/4″ across.

This was just a circular cutout from somewhere, that someone had saved, back in the day. It had made its way to one of the paper fairs or maybe an antique store, I don’t remember. The top and bottom had gotten a little scrunched but you can’t notice it in the image. And in looking for a background to scan it on (always a fun search!) I noticed our wall calendar for this year which was all photos of the Aurora Borealis. So, I got kind of enamored of the idea of this couple, and their team and sleigh, sort of floating in space in a sky of magical Borealis colors and lights (What would be the translation into music? Surely something so beautiful!)

And note in the closeup below, the carved figurehead with draping wings of what is probably a peacock. Searching online we find that there were many stunningly ornate sleighs crafted in prior centuries, including those with figureheads. Click here to see some examples that others have posted.

Source:   Google.com search result for “ornate antique open air sleighs with figureheads.” Accessed 12/29/19.

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 large box of loose photos next to 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).