All A-Tiptoe

All Atiptoe pc1All Atiptoe pc2

“All a-tiptoe I will be

Until my Valentine I see.”

Here’s a beautiful E. Curtis, (Elizabeth Curtis) artist-signed postcard published by Raphael Tuck & Sons. The artwork is actually a little cut off at the bottom, but it shows a little boy in red-striped winter hat and blue scarf, with a mailbag on his shoulder, on tip-toe reaching to the mailbox. The composition is lovely with another mailbag illustrated at the top right, open and with letters falling. The card is addressed to:

“Miss Helen Huggins, 2313 Channing Way, Berkeley, Cal.”

Helen Huggins would have been about five or six years old when she received this postcard. She can be found on the 1920 Federal Census for Berkeley, at the address on the postcard, born in California, about 1899. She is with her parents, Charles W. Huggins, born Minnesota, about 1861, working as a civil engineer for the city, and Pearl O. Huggins, born Missouri, about 1871; and younger sister, Bernice Huggins, born California, about 1903. Boarding with the family is Euphemia A. Black, born California, about 1881, occupation Housekeeper.

Undivided back, artist-signed, used postcard. Postmarked February 13, 1905 from Santa Barbara, California. Artist:  Elizabeth Curtis. Publisher:  Raphael Tuck & Sons Co., Ltd., New York. Copyright 1903.

Price:  $15.00

Source:  Year: 1920; Census Place: Berkeley, Alameda, California; Roll: T625_93; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 184; Image: 113. (Ancestry.com.)

Mystery Building

Mystery Church

Old photo of a building that appears to be a church, or perhaps was once a church. If you look closely at the arched windows on the top, you will notice that each window has panes of a different opacity or maybe color to make a cross shape. (One of the windows is open slightly.) There is a plaque that identifies the building but, maddeningly, it is unreadable, although, you can come up with many different possibilities. Up by the part that sticks up like a chimney (but is it?) you’ll see an opening that looks like it once held a bell. Also, you’ll notice that there is a man walking in front of the building:  he wears a dark suit, white shirt and a hat. The brick-paved section of the street shows trolley or streetcar tracks , and the dark spots on the street give an indication that horses might still be in use for transportation. I was puzzled by the thing on the pole at the corner, until my husband informed me that, of course, it’s a mailbox:  The dark part is the box; you can see the two brackets that are holding the box to the pole. The side of the box blends in with the building but there’s a little bit of a shadow under the top of the box, so when you’re looking at it as a mailbox, it makes sense. There were different styles of lamppost mailboxes by different designers; it’s possible that this one might be one of the Doremus boxes or maybe an Owens. According to an online article by Allison Marsh of the National Postal Museum, the four-footed mailbox was first “suggested” in 1894, and took off from there. So, this seems to be a pretty old photo, maybe from the Eastern part of the U. S., estimating late 1800s to just after the turn of the century. Looking at the plaque again – perhaps it’s in another language: German, for instance. Would there have been plaques on buildings in the U. S. in other languages around the turn of the century? That’s another line of research to pursue. Another intriguing detail are the corner guards for the lawn segments. We don’t see these much today, at least not on the West Coast, but I remember seeing them a lot while growing up in Michigan, but of course the style was different. These in this photo look like they might be made from wood.

Antique photo, circa late 1890s – early 1900s. Size:  3 and 3/4 x 4 and 5/8″

Price:  $15.00

Sources and related reading:  Marsh, Allison, “Postal Collection Mailboxes.” National Postal Museum, 20 March 2006. Web. Accessed 10 June 2014. [http://arago.si.edu/index.asp?con=1&cmd=1&tid=2032051]

http://arago.si.edu/index.asp?con=1&cmd=1&tid=2032051

http://www.uvm.edu/landscape/dating/mail_service/doremus_mailbox.php

http://postalmuseumblog.si.edu/postal-service/page/3/