Photo Op By The Lake

Vintage photo, circa 1950s.

Price:  $4.00       Size:  About 3 and 3/8 x 2″

Maybe Michigan, probably 1950s

An African-American family possibly taken in Michigan, where the photo was found. Were they on their way out to breakfast or church? Was the location a vacation spot for them or taken near home or were they visiting relatives? We’ll probably never know unless by some amazing serendipitous event someone’s browsing and happens to recognize these people. Not unheard of. I’ve been reading Henry Z. “Hank” Jones, Jr.’s Psychic Roots, Serendipity & Intuition in Genealogy.”  If you do family research, for example, chances are excellent that you can recount multiple instances of that feeling of “being led” to a spectacular find. Or, on the opposite side, if you sell or post family photos or other items you may have a story of someone walking into your store and finding their relatives’ “lost” family album, or seeing someone happen upon a postcard that they themselves had written and mailed fifty years ago. In our talks with sellers we’ve heard a surprising number of such accounts. The kind that make your hair stand up on the back of your neck (in a good way!). Here’s one from my family:

Serendipity in Montréal

Maybe fifteen or twenty years ago, I’ve forgotten by now, I was with some family members vacationing in Montréal. Sitting on the beds in the motel we were trying to figure out what to do for the day, looking at brochures. I was drawn to the one on the Pointe-à-Callière Museum and felt we “had to” go there, that it was important to go. In one of the exhibits we saw an artist’s rendition of a mother holding a child. Standing in front of this drawing I had a strong urging to take a photo. Immediately the thought came into my head,  “Why? It’s not like you’re related to her or anything.”  Ahhh, but as you’ve guessed 🙂 she (beautiful Charlotte, specifically Marie Charlotte Gloria dit Roch or DesRoches) turned out to be, not just any relative necessarily, but mine and my siblings’ 6th-great grandmother. (See Collections archéologiques for a photo of the handle of a tool? with Charlotte’s name carved on it. This was one of many artifacts that had been uncovered at the site of what is called “the birthplace of Montréal” and what later became the museum.) Now, at that point I hadn’t yet researched that particular line, and had never even come across her name. It was not till a few years later, while searching my Dufour side online, and “climbing the tree” by finding my direct ancestor Pierre Dufour that there, lo and behold, was his wife, Charlotte Roch. Wait, what??? (Jaw-dropping, falling out of chair.) Not the end of the story, though. For about a week after that, what seemed like every time I got into the car, I heard Chuck Berry’s, “You Never Can Tell” either just playing or as the next offering by the d.j. You know the lyrics, ♪ “It was a teenage wedding and the old folks wished them well. You could see that Pierre did truly love the mademoiselle.” ♪ True, Pierre was not a teenager when they wed, and though Charlotte was, that was not unusual in the least at that time, but it was the true love part that seemed to be the point of what felt like a message bridging “time.” (What is time? 😉 ) Records show that Pierre and Charlotte had eleven kids and, of course, have many many descendants. Notable is the birthplace of their second child. Their first was born in Montréal, and the youngest nine in Detroit. But the baptismal record (all are in French) for their second child, Marie Charlotte Dufour, states she was born in the  “8yattenons.”  (French-Canadian priests sometimes wrote a number to denote a sound or abbreviate a word, for instance “7bre” for septembre, which by the way, can be confusing when reading the record, the digit 7 but the 9th month!) The appellation 8yattenons was used for Fort Ouiatenon. This has been verified in other unrelated records, and the fact that Pierre was a soldier when he and his young family left Montréal adds credibility to daughter Charlotte having been born at or near this fort. Well, this ended up to be a lengthy sidetrack off the subject of this post, that of the vintage photo from the 1950s, yikes! But definitely, if you’d like to share your own stories of the serendipity-amazing luck-small world type we’d love to hear them.

Back to the photo…..

Amazing how every photo transmits so much. An everyday moment maybe, but no less special, as when we look we see the smiles, and the grace and humor, maybe get a sense of the struggles, and yet the joy, in a backdrop, no, make that of a oneness with, a particular place and time, and somehow in total it all washes over us like a blessing…. No identifying info on the back, but maybe we’re looking at a photo of a husband and wife and mother or auntie or older sister of either? All three are very stylish. Love the striped tie on the gentleman. I think of him as Clarence (heehee, he’s likely laughing somewhere now). There’s the flashy belt the older woman wears that’s caught the lens light……there’s the very chic pose of the younger woman, and….her skirt. Check out the pattern on the fabric, a surprise and a delight:  Chickens!

At Play On The Doorstep

Card, lithograph with initials G.R. for artist, publisher or lithography company. Circa 1880s – 1890s.

Price:  $5.00        Size:  4and 3/4 x 3 and 1/4″

Here’s some gorgeous color in the midst of a series of mostly black and white photos….A rooster and chicken attend two children at play on the doorstep of the children’s cabin home; the wooden doorstep being the perfect place to set up the little toy house and trees and people….There is no advertisement or identifying writing on the back, but someone had loved this small lithograph. It was found in an antique store in Salinas, CA. The initials G. R. (or R. G.?) that we see in the lower left corner, may be for the artist, the publisher or the litho company, but we’re betting they were for the artist.

Hauskaa Pääsiäista

Divided back, used postcard. Paletti, Sarja Pääsiäinen. Circa 1930.

Price:  $10.00

An Easter card from Finland of a proud rooster with all his baby chicks, and the caption translating to merry, fun or amusing, or maybe just Happy Easter. The cancellation date is difficult to read, however the stamp should be from 1930. Paletti as you’ve guessed is Palette (not sure if this is the publisher name or not) and Sarja Pääsiäinen, as you’ve probably also guessed, is Easter Series. The card is addressed:

“Herrasväki Sivulat, Helsinki, Laivurinkatu 39.”  And on the front (we need a native speaker) it appears to say  “F:  Utriaiset.”  Below, the location this postcard went to in 1930. If we could time travel to be there as it was being received….(!)

Sources:  Stamps of Finland: Definitives of 1930 – 1946. Stamp-Collecting-World. (accessed April 1, 2018).

“Laivurinkatu 39 00150 Helsinki, Finland.” Google.com maps. (accessed April 1, 2018).

Easter Chick For Verne

Divided back, embossed postcard, unused with writing. Copyright 1909, H. Wessler. Series:  422.

Price:  $7.00

A Peaceful Easter.

Chicks rule this year…and this is another beauty, a charmer (that face!) Our chick appears in an oversized eggshell, the top broken off; egg and chick comfortably nestled in a cluster of lilies of the valley. Note how very well-done the subtle shading is around the shell and flowers, and the white decorative trim at top and bottom is beautiful, especially falling as it does on that shade of gray for the background.

In pencil, on the reverse, is written:   “Verne from Aunt Bertha.”  And with no loss of elegance from front to back, the publisher’s lily design (a bonus for Easter, we reckon 😉 ) divides the back, and the top corner holds a matching stamp box.

A publisher mystery

Who was H. Wessler? At the time of this post, no identifying records were found for him. He’s mentioned in a Google book snippet along with John Wensch (see prior post), as both being importers and producers of beautiful greeting and postcards. We presume that Wessler, like Wensch, was of German ancestry. Quite a number of postcards can be found online for him, but none showing the full name. This is the second H. Wessler we have on LCG:  See Just A Few Lines From.

Source:  Lighter, Otto & Reeder, Pearl. Hobbies. Vol. 59, p. 147. 1954: Lightner Publishing. Google snippet. Accessed April 16,  2017.

Hen And Chicks On The March

Divided back, unused postcard. Unknown Parisian publisher. Printed in France, Series or number 595. Dated by the sender:  October 1944.

Price:  $5.00

A very cute French postcard for Easter (though dated in October) showing a hen and her three chicks, marching off to une Fête de Pâques. The hen is a cut-out that is pasted on for a slight 3-D effect, and some of the card’s silver glitter still remains after seventy-three years. But we love the details:  the differing expressions for each of the feathered-four, and the red balloon, the green umbrella, the Pierrot-like clown hats worn by the chicks, and the artist’s realistic touch with the four-leaf clover….The card was, poignantly, sent home during WWII, from probably an American soldier, to his little girl, Elsa. He writes:

“Special for my sweet little daughter, Elsa-pie from her loving Daddy. France, October 1944.”

A close-up of the publisher logo appears below, but the company name is, for the moment, a mystery. For sure, that’s “Paris” at top and underneath would be “Marque Déposée”  for trademark, but what’s the first letter there…? Our best guess for the publisher initials is either T.D.A or Y.D.A.

King Of The Yard

King Of The Yard pc1King Of The Yard pc2

Divided back, unused, Real Photo Postcard. Circa 1910s – 1920s. Cyko stamp box.

Price:  $7.00

A boy standing with his arms folded back behind his head, feed bag hanging from one shoulder, surveying his charges:  a yard full of about 35 chickens. Directly behind him is a wagon, its two rear wheels standing just taller than the boy. In the background is what we take to be the chicken coop:  a good-sized structure with wooden siding, tall windows and door, and a steep roof with cupola.

Eva Blasdale’s Party, April 3rd 1901

Eva Blasdale's Party Placecard April 3 1901 m1Eva Blasdale's Party Placecard April 3 1901 m2

Here’s a wonderful hand-drawn, hand-colored place card made for one of Eva Blasdale’s party guests, Russell Doughty. It shows an elf holding reigns of silver ribbon which is trailing up to the sky; the elf is being led by a chick. Lovely details on the elf – you can see the buttons on the tailcoat; love the yellow pantaloons  and the curly shoes and hat. The party date is April 3, 1901, which was a Wednesday.

Hand-drawn party place card. April 3, 1901.

Price:  $12.00    Size:  About 3 and 1/4 x 2 and 1/4″

Easter Chick For Lily V. Herrling

Easter Chick For Lily V Herrling pc1Easter Chick For Lily V Herrling pc2

“Easter Greetings”

Here’s one more official Easter postcard for this year and it’s of another chick, so adorable, wearing her little shell hat with pussy willow decoration, and carrying a little bouquet.

The sender writes:

“April 4, 1914. Fort Pierre S. Dak. Dear Miss Herlling. I will drop you a few lines this tues[?]. we all well hope you the same. the snow is all gone now and we have a nice bit of water in the…?…now. it has bin dry all winter but we will have a lot of it now for this summer & yes nellie has got a little colt one week old but lily…?…is the same color she was when you saw her. good by, by for now[?] …and…?  L. E. Datts. I will write a letter in a few days. Wishing you a joys Easter.”

Sent to:   “Miss Lily V. Herrling. Walton, Neb. % Geo. Wilson. R.F.D.”

Lily was a public school teacher who was born in Wisconsin, about 1885. The 1920 Federal Census for Sheboygan finds Lily and her sister, Elsa May, living with their brother R. B. Herrling. Various short newspaper clips can be found online, like the two below, which show that Lily traveled to various locations to teach:

From the Lincoln Daily News (Lincoln, NE) 11 June 1915:

Lincoln Daily News Jun 11 1915

From the Sheboygan Press (Sheboygan, WI) 17 August 1916:

Sheboygan Press Aug 17 1916

Divided back, used postcard. Postmarked April 13 (or 3rd?) 1914, Fort Pierre, South Dakota. Publisher:  James E. Pitts. Series 42 F.

Price:  $12.00

Sources:  Year: 1920; Census Place: Greenbush, Sheboygan, Wisconsin; Roll: T625_2016; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 116; Image: 1042. (Ancestry.com)

Lincoln Daily News (Lincoln, NE) 11 June 1915. (Ancestry.com)

Sheboygan Press (Sheboygan, WI) 17 August 1916. (Ancestry.com)

Easter Joys Be Thine

Easter Joys Be Thine pc1Easter Joys Be Thine pc2

Divided back, embossed, used postcard. Postmarked in Homer, New York on March 27th, year not readable. Publisher unknown. Series or number 155. Circa 1910.

Price:  $15.00

This is a really cute one. A chick (chicks are ruling this Easter) in a large eggshell cart that is equipped with flowers for wheels, driving two white bunnies who are harnessed with pink ribbons. The chick’s riding crop is a sprig of lily of the valley. And the colors are a little unusual in the card:  The grass is more blue than green; the colors are muted but sort of like “dream” colors, not just understated but sort of “off” like you’re looking at a replay of a dream, or a badly tinted old movie or something similar. It’s very cool. Anyway, the sender writes:

“Wed. Morn. Dear Lucy. Your Aunt Martha says she will come over and stay with you for 2 weeks and do light work if you want her too. So write back soon if you want her. Pa is not feeling good, got the blues. Hope you are all well, Mother.”

Addressed to:   “Mrs. Lucy Sears, McGraw, Cortland Co. N. Y., R.D. #3.”

Lucy E., according to the 1910 Federal Census for Homer, New York, was born about 1885. She is married to George F. Sears, born about 1881. He owns a dairy farm, and the couple have two boys, Floyd A., born in 1908, and Roy L., born in 1909. Living with them and helping with the farm is George’s brother, Erastus, born about 1887. All are natives of New York. The town of Homer is about five miles northwest of McGraw, as the crow flies.

The year is not readable or didn’t get stamped when postmarked. It wouldn’t be surprising if it’s 1910, since Lucy at this time has two boys under two years old, and she could definitely use a little help.

Source:  Year: 1910; Census Place: Homer, Cortland, New York; Roll: T624_934; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 0127; FHL microfilm: 1374947. (Ancestry.com).