Mena House And Pyramids, Giza, Cairo

Undivided back postcard. Postmarked April 6, 1905, Cairo, Egypt. Artist unknown. Publisher:  Lichtenstern & Harnel. Stamps:  Used Deux Milliemes, Sphinx and Pyramid, Green; Unused Un Millieme, Sphinx and Pyramid, Brown. Enlarge images to view condition for stamps.

Price:  $30.00

An unknown artist’s tableau of Mena House, a luxury hotel established in 1886, with the Pyramids of Giza behind it. Closer to us in the scene, the figure of a white-robed Egyptian standing next to a dirt road.

For comparison, a photo below, retrieved from the Library of Congress website, and taken from almost the same angle, but a little closer in:

The postcard is addressed to:   “M. J. M. Sluiter, Barendzstroat No. 40, Amsterdam (Hollande)”

The sender wrote:   “Voilà une adresse – Madme[Madame?] Egizia Romani. Minet-el-Bassal. Alexandrie (Egypte)       Ida Romei”

So, it’s kind of funny but “Egizia Romani” translates from Italian as “Egyptian Romans.” This leads us to think that maybe this was part of the street or district address, rather than a name. But not necessarily, as Egizia is an Italian given name and Romani an Italian surname.  What appears to be “Madme” then might be an incorrectly written abbreviate for Madame (Mme), since French is likely not the sender’s native language. (Ida’s an Italian living in Egypt, writing in French, to someone in the Netherlands. I love these types of criss-crossed connections across the globe!) The fact that Ida Romei had a stamp for her name and address (Ida Romei, Scharawe 22 Cairo Egitta – showing on the reverse) is unusual and may indicate she was a woman of some means.

Minet El-Bassal is a district in Alexandria, on the western harbor, that was built around 1810 and became famous as an industrial and trade center for Egyptian exports, including grains, sugar and most notably, Egyptian cotton. At the time this postcard was sent, in 1905, it was certainly prospering. It is one of numerous places on the planet that for economic and political factors had later fallen into terrible decline, with somewhat recent studies showing online regarding hopeful proposed revitalization. We’d be interested to hear from any readers who might be able to give us any up-to-date information.

A last thought:  In typing the above, the term “urban decline” of course comes to mind. But I wonder how easy it’s become to name something and then become blasé or cynical about it, in part, because it has been “categorized.” As in, we learn to react to the words and become indifferent to the events.

Sources:  “Mena House Hotel (1886)”. Historic Hotels of the World:  Then and Now. https://www.historichotelsthenandnow.com/menahousegiza.html. (Accessed June 23, 2022).

Maison Bonfils, photographer. Hotel Mena-House et pyramides / Bonfils. Egypt Jizah Jīzah, None. [Between 1867 and 1899] [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/2004666753/.

Minet El-Basal, Alexandria, Egypt:  Urban Revitalization. https://www.behance.net/gallery/37446209/Minet-El-Basal-Alexandria-Egypt-Urban-Revitalization. (Accessed June 23, 2022.)

La Crue du Nile Old Postcard

Divided Back postcard. Postmarked June 22, 1912, Alexandria, Egypt. Publisher:  POF or OPF. Stamp:  Postes Egyptiennes, Cinq Milliemes, rose color.

Price:  $15.00

La Crue du Nile…..The Flood of the Nile

The flooding of the Nile was usually an event each August before the Aswan High Dam was built in 1970. If you have time, take a look at this great article on the Saudi Aramco World site, “The Last Nile Flood,” by John Feeney.

This postcard was produced from a photo; at the time of this post, there’s a colorized version of the same scene available on eBay, but from a different publisher. The scene is two boys seated on a water buffalo, a man in charge of the animal at the reigns, and two men in charge of a camel, the one holding onto the camel’s tail. The boys and men are all posing for the camera.

Addressed to:   “Yonge juffrouw Lucie van Veen, Keizersgracht 254, Amsterdam Holland.”

The sender wrote:

“Alexandrië 22 Juni 1912. Beste Lucie, Ik ben nog niet op en kameel geweest, maar ik hed er al meer dan een op straat ontinoef. Ik denk heel dikwyils aan jullie allen en hoop dat je je niet te veel verveelt. Vele groeten.”

Translated from Google as:   “Dear Lucie, I haven’t ridden a camel yet, but I’ve seen more than one in the street already. I’m thinking of you all very often and hope you’re not bored too much. Many regards, Anie Schulthess.”

What a great way to start a postcard line, “I haven’t ridden a camel yet.” Love it! Neither Anie nor Lucie are showing up on Ancestry, however it’s always possible their descendants will find this card. We listed the type of stamp for the stamp collectors out there. The publisher’s a bit of a mystery:  Assuming that the initials go in the order of POF, if not OPF, however we’re not finding any other like this online right now or in the usual sources we consult (Metropostcard, Walter Corson’s Publishers’ Trademarks Identified and several others). Here’s the logo that’s appearing on the front of the card, bottom right:

Source:  Feeney, John. “The Last Nile Flood.” May/June issue of 2003, Volume 57, Number 3. https://archive.aramcoworld.com/issue/200603/the.last.nile.flood.htm (accessed June 1, 2022).

Port Said Entrée au Canal Old Postcard

Divided Back, Used postcard. Postmarked November 11, 1913, Port Said, Egypt. Publisher:  The Cairo Postcard Trust. Series 306. Postally used stamp:  Postes Egyptiennes, Deux Milliemes, Green.

Price:  $15.00

Colored scene of Port Said, Egypt, entrance to the Suez Canal. Publisher or printer would have added the colors to this card which would have based upon a black and white photo.

Addressed to:   “Monsieur Foray, rue Pierre-Gay, Décines-Charpieu, Isère, France”.  The front is signed and dated by the sender. The signature (Springer?) is open to interpretation.

This card would be of interest to the Foray family. One possibility is Bernard Foray, who was married December 4, 1886 to Annette Vittoz in Décines-Charpieu.

Décines-Charpieu is located in Lyon, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France.  “Isère” in the address, was a little difficult to decipher, and then we wondered why it was included, but the question got sorted out by Wikipedia (in the History section):

“Décines left the department of Isère to join the department of Rhône in 1968, and became a member of the Communauté urbaine de Lyon in 1969. On 1 January 2015 Décines left the department of Rhône to join the Metropolis of Lyon.”

Sources:  Décines-Charpieu. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C3%A9cines-Charpieu (accessed May 28, 2022).

Archives départementales du Rhône; Lyon, France; Actes de naissance, de mariage et de décès. (Ancestry.com).

Easter Greeting Lilies And Cross

Divided back, embossed, used postcard. Postmarked March 25, 1910 from Santa Clara, California.

Price:  $2.00 or contact us for pricing on the set

From The Ethel Main Collection

Addressed to:   “Mrs. B. F. Main, 253 – 14th St., San Francisco Cal.”

The sender wrote:   “Dear Grandma, Have a boil on the side of my cheek. Girl bit me when I was dancing. Hate to see her do that. Easter greetings to all. Elmer W. Main  Top heavy.”

This guy was quite the card, or is he being serious about the girl? No, don’t think so. But either way 🙂

Forget-Me-Not Easter Greetings

Divided back, embossed, used postcard. Postmarked March 24, 1910 from San Jose, California

Price:  $2.00 – Or contact us for price on the whole set.

This is part of our Ethel Main Collection……Ethel’s nickname was “Tottie.”

Addressed to:   “Mrs. L. Main, 253 14th St., San Francisco Cal.”

The sender wrote:   “Dear Ma, Will you please put my postals in my album and look at my post card and photo album to see that that mouse don’t eat them. Love to all, Tottie.”

Taxco, Guerrero, Mexico

Divided back, used postcard. April 13, 1940. Artist unknown. Publisher:  Fischgrund, Mexico (Eugenio Fischgrund). Printed in Mexico. Printer:  F. Sanchez H. y Cia, México, D.F. (Mexico City).

Price:  $15.00

Moving from California to Mexico in our posts – we’ll start off with a colorful card of a Taxco street scene by an unknown artist. In the background is the Church of Santa Prisca. And it’s sometimes assumed, on these type, that F. Sanchez (per the printing at the bottom right on the reverse) is the artist, but Sanchez is actually the printer. This was confirmed by finding another card by publisher, Fischgrund, with the same F. Sanchez info, but by a very well-known artist.

The card is addressed to:  Mrs. May Babcock, 3828 Belmont Ave., San Diego, Calif. U.S.A.

The sender wrote:

“Mexico City. Apr. 13 – 1940. Dear Mrs. Babcock:  There are 2200 miles between you, my fiddle & yours truly. We have been serenaded all along the way & have observed that none of the fiddlers hang on to their bows the way you have taught us. This has been quite a trip so far, & plan to visit several other places before leaving. Hope you are making the class work hard. With love – Helen Tucker”

Mrs. May Babcock, per an article in 1941, was the director of the Oneira Club violin orchestra, in San Diego County. The Oneira club was a charter of the San Diego Chapter of the Federated Women’s Club. Per census and other records, Mrs. Babcock was born May Andrews, in 1867, New York. She married Lee Roy Babcock in about 1897, and taught music for many years. Their daughter Joy May Babcock, who remained single, also became a music teacher and had her own studio.

As for our traveler and postcard sender, Helen Tucker, it’s unclear from records whether there is more than one Helen Tucker (Mrs. Helen C. or Mrs. Helen R. Tucker) but it seems she was married. She is found mentioned in the clipping below:

Sources:  Church of Santa Prisca de Taxco. n.d.. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_Santa_Prisca_de_Taxco. (accessed March 4, 2022).

“Women’s Clubs Hold Annual Spring Festival.” National City Star-News. Friday, May 30, 1941. (Newspapers.com).

“Oneira Orchestra To Play Program At Club Friday.” The San Diego Union, Wednesday, May 25, 1938, p. 7. (Genealogybank.com).

Year: 1920; Census Place: San Diego, San Diego, California; Roll: T625_130; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 234. (Ancestry.com).

San Diego Directory Co.s San Diego City Directory 1940, p. 40. Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995.

California State Library; Sacramento, California; Great Register of Voters, 1900-1968. (Ancestry.com).

“Orchestra to Play.” San Diego Union. Sunday, May 25, 1941, p. 6D. (Genealogybankcom).

Fannie and Walter’s House

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard. Postmarked August 4th from Seattle Washington. Year not readable. Circa 1910s – 1926.

Price:  $7.00

Addressed to:   “Leo H. Ouellette. 113 North Norah St. Fort William Ont. Canada.”

“Leo – This is the little house where Fannie and Walter lived when she taught at Manchester. Harold and I often went over and stayed with them for weeks at at time. It was a nice little house. She liked it too. [signature not readable] ”

A very nice little house, indeed, and with a wrap-around porch! No luck in finding out the surname of Fannie (or Frances) and Walter, though. And we’re not sure if Manchester was the name of a school or a town, but either way, no definite results were found. If a town, then likely it’s the Manchester that’s west of Seattle, across Puget Sound. And though this photo was postmarked in August, it must have been taken in winter – note the bare deciduous trees.

The address of Leo Ouellette, 113 Norah St. N., appears to be an empty lot today, in what was formerly Fort William, now the city of Thunder Bay. Leo’s obit appears below. He was born April 16, 1893 in Duluth, Minnesota, father’s name Henry, and died January 23, 1927 in Seattle. His WWI Draft Registration Card, dated Jun 5, 1917, shows he was, at that time, single, living in Evanston, Wyoming and employed as a brakeman for the Union Pacific Railroad. His prior service was two months in the National Guard in Colorado. (B. P. O. E. in the notice below, stands for Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.)

Sources:  Fort William, Ontario. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_William,_Ontario (accessed December 12, 2020).

Microfilm. Washington State Archives, Olympia, Washington. Ancestry.com. Washington, U.S., Death Records, 1883-1960.

Registration State: Wyoming; Registration County: Sweetwater County. Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.

Seattle Daily Times, January 25, 1927. Tuesday, p. 21. (genealogybank.com).

Paris-Plage, La Chapelle Jeanne d’Arc

Divided back postcard. Postmarked July 3, 1917, Army Post Office. Stamped:  Passed Field Censor 2289. Publisher/printer:  Neurdein & Co., Paris.

Price:  $10.00

Plage is beach, so….beach in Paris or Paris Beach? Ahhh, so the full name of the town is actually Le Toquet Paris-Plage, which is located in northern France, on the shores of the English Channel. Le Toquet was, at one time, known as “Paris-by-the-Sea.”

Addressed to:   “Master J. Obery, Polkyth, Saint Austell, Cornwall.”

“Dear Frank. How are you. I saw a little boy who has had a bad throat – how is yours. Keep smiling. Best love   Daddy”

J. Obery was Francis John Patrick Obery, born East Ham, Essex, London in 1910, son of Edward Richard Hooper Obery, born about 1879 and Kate Hooper, born about 1876, who had married on August 5, 1905, in St. Austell, Cornwall. The parish marriage register shows the groom’s occupation as schoolmaster and that his father’s name was John Edward Oliver Obery. (Two middle names were seemingly a tradition.) Kate’s father was Francis Hooper. Edward’s address at the time of marriage was 141 Milton Ave., E. Ham, London and Kate had been living in Watering Hill, Cornwall.

It’s hard to write about some of these cards and photos sometimes. Maybe because there’s that familiar feeling of being able to walk over to the next block and find the Obery Family, or a sense somehow of a trillion points in a person’s life with connections back to ancestors, and forward to their descendants, an overwhelming fullness you can feel but that’s difficult to translate…..

That said, a quick look at the 1911 census shows Edward, Kate, Francis and Edward’s widowed mom, Phillipa Obery, all at 141 Milton Avenue. We later picture the Oberys, minus Edward, locating to Cornwall to stay with Kate’s family, for hopeful safekeeping, while holding Edward in their constant prayers. For context re the move to Cornwall, the month prior to this card being written, 162 civilians were killed in a German daylight air raid on London, June 13th. Another 57 civilian lives were lost in another raid July 7th, just four days after the postmarked date on the card.

Edward served in the Army Veterinary Corps and yes, thank God, he did make it back to his family.

A little about the postcard image:  So, this would have been produced from a photo, not necessarily true to the original, as sometimes the printer or publisher removed or added things (according to what they felt was needed). Anyway, there are some nice details to pick out within the full scene. (The whole is maybe reminding you of a bunch of miniatures set up in a reproduction.) We notice that the road’s edges must slope downward, since the car’s on an angle, driving “in the ditch” some would call it 😉 ; there’s one of those wooden pole fences held together by wire, leaning a little this way and that, as they are wont to do, the fence looking out-of-place with the very stately 4-story building behind it (Or vice-versa!) Moving to our right, we can partially read a sign for an Auto Garage; sweeping further, we pick out three buildings that have half-timbering on a portion of their facades (the vertical stripes with some diagonals) and then of course there’s the church, Saint Joan of Arc, which is not very old at all at this time, having first opened July 14, 1911. (Incidentally this church sustains damage in the Second World War, but is then, thankfully, able to be restored.)

Sources:  Le Toquet. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Touquet (accessed November 11, 2020).

England, Cornwall Parish Registers, 1538-2010. Salt Lake City, Utah: FamilySearch, 2013. (Ancestry.com).

Class: RG14; Piece: 9565; Schedule Number: 88. 1911 England Census. (Ancestry.com).

“The First World War. Spotlights on History. Long Range Bombers.” nationalarchives.gov.uk. (accessed November 14, 2020).

The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO). Ancestry.com. UK, British Army World War I Service Records, 1914-1920.

Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995.

Greetings From Hohenstaufen, Germany

Undivided back postcard. Postmarked July 25, 1898 from Göppingen, Germany.

Price:  $10.00

Gruss vom Hohenstaufen (Greetings from Hohenstofen)

Another, again a little hard to decipher without knowing German. The sender appears to have been  “M. A. Stempa.”  But it’s beautiful artwork, printed of scenes from the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, located in the south of Germany:  that of the mountains called Hohenstaufen and Rechberg, and the Barbarossa kirchlein (kirchlein means little church) and church at Schwäbisch Gmünd (Hohenrechberg pilgrimage church, built 1686). The reverse of the card shows the heading Königreich Württemberg, which translates as the Kingdom of Württemberg, a German state which existed from 1805 to 1918. See last link below.

Sources:  Rechberg (mountain). n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rechberg_(mountain). accessed September 28, 2020.

File:2015_Hohenstaufen_Barbarossakirche_1.jpg. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2015_Hohenstaufen_Barbarossakirche_1.jpg. accessed September 28, 2020.

Kingdom of Württemberg. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_W%C3%BCrttemberg. accessed September 28, 2020.

Rev. Anthony C. Stuhlmann and Friends, 1918

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard. Postmarked May 21, 1918 from Arkansaw, Wisconsin. AZO stamp box.

Price:  $6.00

Addressed to:   “Rev. Father A. C. Stuhlmann, Catasauqua (Pa.) St. Mary’s Rectory”

The handwriting is hard to decipher without knowing German, but it starts off,  “Arkansaw May 12 1918….” 

We’re presuming the gentleman in the priest’s raiment (dark suit, white collar, to our right of the tree) to be the addressee. The card may have been sent by William (nearest relative, maybe a brother) from the record below. (Wilhelm from the sender’s signature?) And we’re presuming this photo was taken in either Catasaqua, PA or Arkansaw, WI, when one had gone to visit the other. In either case, it’s a pretty happy group, and the Reverend has raised his glass (are those beer mugs in the shot?) so, it seems like they were all celebrating something, or maybe just the happy event of getting together. But what was the ladder for?

Anthony Christian Stuhlmann, from the WWI draft registration, was born September 17,  1879 in Germany. His occupation was Catholic priest, and home address 122 Union St., Catasaugua, Pennsylvania. Nearest relative, William Stuhlmann of Arkansaw, Pepin County, Wisconsin.

Sources:  Roth & Weaber’s Directory of the City of Allentown, Comprising Allentown, Rittersville, South Allentown. Also Directory of Catasauqua and Lehigh County, 1916. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Lehigh; Roll: 1893745; Draft Board: 1. September 12, 1918. Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.