Katheryn Earhart, Elizabeth’s Best Friend

Old photo, circa 1920s – 1930s.

Price:  $15.00             Size:  3 and 3/4 x 5 and 13/16″

Semi-profile portrait of a smiling young woman in hat and dark-colored satin or silk blouse, identified on the back as Katheryn Earhart, Elizabeth’s best friend:

Katheryn has a love of hats, I think. This one is wide-brimmed and was accessorized by wrapping the crown in a scarf with braid applique – a dramatic effect – the dark braid on light-colored fabric.

A match in records for Katheryn was not found online, and we wouldn’t know for sure whether her first name is spelled correctly in the i.d. on the back, so that makes it a bit more difficult. (The hope was to find the name match and check the census records for a neighbor named Elizabeth.)

The big question for me – is this young lady an older version of our Girl in Hat from a prior post? The two photos were found at separate times. (Unfortunately, I’ve never kept a list of where each item was found. Not very far-thinking but, there you have it, though I used to remember them all when I first started this venture.) But I’ve definitely found additional photos for people at separate times in the past, so it wouldn’t be surprising.

As you can see in the link for the younger girl, she wears quite an unusual head covering, and in the photo above – this one’s a bit different, as well – put together by someone fashion-conscious, that seems pretty evident. A love of style, a love of hats. Comparing the features for the girls and allowing for their ages and the light exposure in each, they may well be the same person. (The prior post’s photo has more light exposure which could account for the eye color difference.)

Couple On Porch

Old photo, white border, circa early 1920’s.

Price:  $4.00           Size:  2 and 3/8 x 4 and 1/4″

We’re continuing a short couple theme, no names on the back of this one. I’m guessing the ’20s due to the cloche-style hat the woman is wearing, though it could have been earlier. Estimating dates from clothing, footwear and hairstyles can be really time-consuming, unless something specifically jumps out to pinpoint, or you’re already an expert or close-enough to one. Alas, I’m not. What was the moment? Obviously, he likes her, but she has that skeptical, “nobody’s fool” look. Nice porch columns displayed here – quite detailed and with that bit of gingerbread trim at the top.

Frank and Girlfriend, 1919

Old photo, 1919.

Availability Status:  SOLD                Size:  2 and 3/8 x 4 and 1/4″

Probably when I found this one (it was floating loose in a bin), I thought I’d be able to read the surname for Frank. Hmmm, no, not getting it. (My own scribble is just as bad.) But they’re a cute couple. (We’re on a short “couple theme” – a continuance of Valentine’s Day). At least, I think they’re a couple – no certainty there, either. But it’s a nice, “We were here….standing on this street….in the summer of 1919” photo. It would have been the summer after the end of the “Great War.” It’s a tree-lined residential road; you can see the utility pole and barely make out an old street lamp. There are train tracks, for a trolley one would guess, but we don’t notice any overhead cables, so maybe the tracks are a remnant from our horse-drawn car days, or maybe they’re old tracks, no longer used. That’s probably an old Model T in the distance (if you were betting you’d play those odds). Through the open wooden gate, we see a woman carrying something, potatoes maybe, on her way back from the garden or cellar storage.

The young woman in the photo – she’s beautiful, hair pulled up, appearing here in a long-sleeved white blouse with black cuffs (great style, yes, but think how practical that is) and in a striped, high-waisted skirt with big front pockets. Nothing fancy but it never needs to be. And Frank – he’s got that, “knows what he wants out of life” look. That direct gaze, a hint of sadness in the smile (did he lose an older brother in the war?), the confident, kind of brash stance, the backwards cap, that proprietary arm around his girl. We’re off with them, in spirit, just for a moment, to each of the many and wherever, those many possibilities led.

A Mom and Two Daughters

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

Price:  $7.00

No i.d. for this one. Why did I buy it? I like the contrasting fabrics, the plaid and the stripes – all that cotton. Refreshing to see in our day and age of synthetics. The girls’ expressions are so sweet, and there’s the mom’s narrowed (maybe a vision thing) but steady gaze, she’s slouched in the chair (a little unusual but that could have been according to where the photographer wanted her to appear, with the girls standing taller). The mom is wearing wire-rimmed spectacles, a watch and chain and a flat-topped hat. (There seemingly were no end to hat styles.)

One thing of note is the pattern on the younger girl’s dress, (click twice on the card image to enlarge). They’re a little hard to make out but those are (not pinwheels) but swastikas – the original meaning of this ancient symbol represented good luck. For more on that subject see the BBC article link below in “Sources”.

Since old newspaper articles and ads reveal a lot we always like to check them for proof of what was actually going on at the time; pretty enlightening in this case, as they do indeed confirm the swastika as a phenom and the time-frame that it had become popular (again). From Newspapers.com, starting around 1899 with 126 search results for “swastika” in the U.S., ads start appearing for products such as Swastika Stationary. (Bear in mind that many of these are instructional articles and, of course, there are always duplicate articles that appeared in multiple newspapers.) From 1899 through 1905 the results are in the 100 or 200 range. Then in 1906 it jumps to 787 results, and in 1907 it has skyrocketed to 9,875.

Below, a portion of a long article that appeared in the Washington D.C. Evening Star, September 1907, stating the then-current fad in the U.S. came from across the Atlantic, France actually. Caution:  Don’t take this as gospel – it could certainly be correct but we wouldn’t want to say for sure without extensive research.

There is also the probability that the symbol’s popularity was influenced by author and poet, Rudyard Kipling:  The author had requested previously (year unknown) that his father (an artist) design an emblem for him for book covers. See the images in this link of the elephant, lotus flower and swastika design (and subsequent image, minus the swastika). Kipling, in 1899, filed a lawsuit (which he lost, but that’s another story) against some publishers for copyright infringement (lower left from the Chicago Tribune, April 1899). Later in 1899 we see ads appearing nationwide, like the article on our right from The Los Angeles Times, August 1899:

One last note:  After readily falling down the rabbit hole for most of this post, we don’t want to forget to mention that the end date for our postcard is from Playle.com regarding the AZO stamp box, with all four triangles pointing upward.

Sources:  “How the world loved the swastika – until Hitler stole it.” October 23, 2014. https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-29644591. (Accessed December 4, 2023).

“Swastikas vs. Corbetts For Today’s Game.” Arizona Daily Star, March 22, 1908. Sunday, p. 2. (Newspapers.com).

“The Filigree Swastika Latest Form Of The Emblem.”  Albuquerque Journal. June 25, 1906. Monday, p. 4. (Newspapers.com).

“The Latest Out.” The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette. (Fort Wayne, Indiana).December 3, 1899. Sunday, p. 3. (Newspapers.com).

Search results for “swastika” from years 1898 – 1907. (Newspapers.com).

Watkins, Jake E. “Swastika, World’s Oldest Symbol Is Latest Fad. Modern Use Of This Ancient Good-Luck Sign.” Evening Star. (Washington, D. C.). September 7, 1907. Saturday, p. 21. (Newspapers.com).

“Tells of Kipling Books.” Chicago Tribune. April 28, 1899. Friday, p. 5. (Newspapers.com).

“Books.” The Los Angeles Times. August 24, 1899. Thursday, p. 9. (Newspapers.com).

“Kipling Loses His Suit Against The Putnams.” The Publishers’ Weekly. No. 1616. January 17, 1903, pp. 80-81. (Google.com).

“Real Photo Postcard Stamp Boxes. A – B.” playle.com. (accessed December 7, 2023).

Mary Kottmyer in Chicago

Divided Back, Real Photo Postcard, used. Circa early 1910’s.

Price:  $15.00

The smartly-dressed Mary in suit and ostrich-plume hat. We’re guessing she’s in her early twenties…..

As you’ve noticed, this card was postmarked but the date and location stamp portion didn’t make it, though odds are it went through Chicago. The sign under Mary’s left hand, when darkened in Photoshop, shows “Chicago Express.”  That being said, this is a photographer’s set up (albeit a nice one) as the scene behind her looks a little too clean and contrived. Indeed, the iron railing has the same look, and note the lack of space someone would have had to exit that door. (Rather amusing and obvious once you notice it!) Mary’s surname we’re basing on some online searches for similar possibilities and looking at the rest of the writing (the “e” in particular). But the correct spelling could just as easily be Kottmeyer, with the person who penned it just being unaware. One gets the impression that the handwriting on our left is much later, as if Emaline was going through a group of old cards and photos and adding names and locations.

Addressed to:   Emaline Keebler, 1304 Prichard St. Pittsburg Pa.”

Emaline M. Keebler was easily found in census records at this address. Per the 1940 Federal Census in Pittsburgh, she was born about 1897 in PA, single, occupation teacher at a public school. Further info was found on Find A Grave:  born November 15, 1896, daughter of Emil Andrew Keebler and Clara Olga (Kirbach) Keebler.

Sources:  Year: 1940; Census Place: Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03670; Page: 63A; Enumeration District: 69-589.

Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/109707824/emaline-m-keebler: accessed 26 September 2023), memorial page for Emaline M. Keebler (15 Nov 1896–21 Jul 1984), Find a Grave Memorial ID 109707824, citing Mount Lebanon Cemetery, Mount Lebanon, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA; Maintained by texjenn (contributor 48885098).

Mae at the Iowa River Dam, Iowa City, 1908

Divided Back, Real Photo Postcard. Postmarked January 15, 1908, Iowa City, Iowa.

Price:  $15.00                Size:  About 5 x 3 and 1/2″. Card is slightly cropped. 

For old times sake…….

Addressed to:   “Mr. L. G. Johnson. Denver Colo. Box 4. 40th St.Station.”

The sender wrote:   “For old times sake I send you this. Mae.”

The Iowa River is a tributary of the Mississippi and measures about 323 miles long. We found some similar images in old postcards currently on eBay and then the ad below from Duluth Lumber in 1909 confirming that Mae’s location was indeed the Iowa City Dam, today called the Burlington Street Dam. The building in the background should be the power station. And enlarge the postcard twice to get a much better view of Mae’s hat. (It’s quite nice!)

Sources:  Iowa River. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iowa_River (accessed September 17, 2023).

Burlington Street Dam. https://www.iowawhitewater.org/lhd/LHDburlingtonst.html (accessed September 19, 2023).

Duluth Lumber Co. Ad. Iowa City Press-Citizen. March 12, 1909. Friday, p. 3. (Newspapers.com).

Little Campers, Rio Grande Canyon, 1930

Old photo, white border, 1930.

Price:  $10.00            Size:  2 and 11/16 x 2 and 11/16″

“Billy Welsh and Lora Lou Mead at 6 a.m. by Campfire in Rio Grande Canyon near Taos N. Mex in 1930.”

Ha, Billy’s got that, “I need to adjust this campfire” look. Smoke’s probably getting to him a little. Lora Lou with that bonnet definitely has the old-time pioneer look. Pretty cute picture, for sure.

We’re not coming up with an exact match for Lora Lou in online records. (She was the hopeful.) And predictably, there are too many possibilities for Billy.

Coming Home By Rail

Divided Back postcard. Postmarked from Loudonville, Ohio, October 10, 1908.

Price:  $10.00

Railway days…….

There are other “Coming Home By Rail” postcards that can be found online; the joke, of course, being that the person is not traveling by train but walking along the railroad ties to get home. And due to the frequent occurrence of the expression in U. S. newspapers, (1872 is the earliest we found,) we assume it was American in origin. In the 1910’s (not surprisingly) it was still going strong, becoming less common as more and more people became proud car owners. The last mention we found was in 1952 (must have been an old-timer who wrote that article 😉 ).

For a twist on the original gag, here’s a clip from the U. K., from the Kent and Sussex Courier, 1923:

Friends, Orpha and Bertha…..

Postcard addressed to:   “Miss Bertha Yoder, North Manchester Ind. “College.”

The sender wrote:   “Hello Bertha. That address is:  Mr. C. U. Slifer. Abilene, Kansas. Hope you will receive the picture O.K. Pardon me for not getting the address sooner.”

“Do not think that I have forgotten you altho’ my silence seems to imply as much. I have been away visiting. Tell Cora that I saw her bro. Clyde at our District Meeting last week. Kindly remember me to Cora and all others that I do not know. Be good till I see you. Bye bye, Orpha. No. [North] Manchester about Oct. 20. Girlie tell all the pretty boys that I am coming and speak a good word for me. Do not forget. Ha! Ha! Lovingly, Orpha W.”

The given name Orpha was not terribly uncommon around the time this postcard was sent. The town of Loudonville, Ohio is located in Holmes and Ashland counties. Rather surprisingly, we weren’t able to find definite matches for either Orpha or Bertha.

Sources:  “The Yale Exploring Expedition of 1871.” The Watertown News (Watertown, Wisconsin). April 3, 1872. Wednesday, p. 1. (Newspapers.com).

“Tonbridge Cricket Week.” Kent and Sussex Courier (Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England). June 22, 1923. Friday, p. 13. (Newspapers.com).

“County Party Line.”  Ventura County Star-Free Press (Ventura, California). July 10, 1952. Thursday, p. 6. (Newspapers.com).

The Old Houseboat

Real Photo Postcard, unused. Circa 1907 – 1915.

Price:  $4.00

What confirms this structure’s status as a boat is the name at the stern – though very faint and indiscernible. And since the postcard’s image is so washed out, here’s a darker version:

So, unless someone is writing a book on old houseboats, I don’t see much monetary value here for this card. But we’ve had sales on items in the past – cover of a book on one, fashion example used inside another book, etc. – so, value is relative. Ha, it’s definitely true, sometimes I ask myself later, “Why did I buy this one?”  🙂 (No names, rather light…) Harkening back now to my mindset at the time, it was for the romantic notion of houseboats I’ve had since a child. (At least, I think this can be called a houseboat.) Woven in there somewhere is an antidote for a feeling – a lament, a long-running perception (that surfaces pointedly at times) that our present-day “expectation” is one of making everything ascetically acceptable (a nice lawn, nice-looking house, etc.) – an expectation that, in my opinion, often usurps the more important things in life – real friendship among neighbors, for instance….So it’s refreshing to travel back to the early 1900’s, to a time when a hand-built boat like this one would not automatically be viewed as an “eyesore” but rather, just simply for what it was.

The story from this captured moment….of course, we can speculate all day long, but my take….The houseboat belongs to the older gentlemen with the walking stick, having built it and lived on it for a time in his younger days. He’s got great anecdotes (that the rest of the family have heard a number of times – rolling eyes, 😉 ). He’s here to retrieve some items resting in storage, and he and the family have turned the trip into a nice outing and a photo op. (Note the three hats that have been removed and are laying on the ground in a pile.) Check out the expressions – the rather comical upwards glance of the lad toward the old man, the come-hither expression for the young lady (gorgeous lace collar), the straight-on pose for the woman (daughter or wife of the gentleman?), that air of history and ownership emanating from the old man, and never forgetting to mention, the family dog, happy to be out for the day with his “charges.”

Back to the boat – it’s quite long. I thought at first that the roofed portion on our left was from some building behind it, but no, that part is attached. Note the animal skins that lay draped over the top edge of the cabin (for keeping out the rain?). And the wooden or metal box attached to the cabin’s front wall, left of the doorway – the box meeting some type of practical purpose.

Street Shrine in Moscow, Russia

Old photo, white border. Circa 1910’s.

Price:  $15.00           Size:  1 and 3/4″ x 3 and 3/4″

Found at an antique store in California….this snapshot has made its way to us from Moscow, Russia.

In a high and fairly deep archway is a Russian Orthodox shrine (note the shape of the cross) painted on wood we believe, of the crucifixion of Christ; it’s set up in front of a pair of tall, ornate double doors in wrought iron. Was this a permanent display or something temporary for Easter? No other photos were found online for this location, nor were surprisingly, any similar street shrines in Russia. But maybe not so surprising given the political situation that (not knowing the exact date of this photo, so speculating) was soon to be thrust upon the peoples of Russia:  We’ve estimated 1910’s for the photo due to the Bolshevik takeover in 1917 and the subsequent “attitudes” toward religion by the Communist regime. (See the first link in sources below for more.)

Signage in old photos is very often the key to finding a time-frame and pinpointing location, and you’ll have noticed the plaque affixed to the building on the other side of the enclave, but it’s partially cut off from our view, so we can’t see the full wording on it, nor what appears above that, rather faint, and then, of course, we’re only seeing the last couple of block letters in whatever is displayed there denoting something. I’m wondering if the whole building would have been a church or if that’s a storefront or something like that next to the shrine. But note the images of saints and angels appearing on the stonework surrounding the 3-d crucifixion depiction, leading us to think that at least part of the building was a house of worship.

Last, but most certainly not least:  the mustachioed gentleman standing, leaning a little, next to the archway, in suit and visored hat of the type you can find in other circa 1910’s and ’20’s Russian photos, and high peasant-type boots – he’s a working man, holding one of the tools of his trade, a hand-drill. And then, about to lumber into our view, a draft horse that would have been pulling a cart or wagon.

Below,a clipped view of a Google.com search for antique hand drills:

Sources: Persecution of Christians in the Soviet Union. n.d. (accessed April 2, 2023).

Nov 7, 1917 CE: October Revolution. https://education.nationalgeographic.org/resource/october-revolution/ Accessed April 4, 2023.

“images of antique hand drills.” Google.com search. Accessed April 4, 2023.