A Valentine’s Lament

Divided back, embossed, unused postcard. Circa 1910s. Publisher:  Whitney Made, Worcester, Massachusetts. 

Price:  $7.00

“O, Why Isn’t She Always Here”

A dejected-looking boy and his dog are missing their Valentine. (Sob!) A cute card, and another in our Alice Ellison Collection, this one from Louise to Henrietta.

Roses For My Valentine

Divided back, embossed, unused postcard. Printed in Germany. Valentine Postcard Series No. 405. Publisher unknown. Circa 1907 – 1914.

Price:  $1.00

Valentine Greetings…..

To Miss Ella Ellison from Mary Strauch.

One from our Alice Ellison Collection. (A group of about 125 cards; they’re not all up on the website yet.) This one’s a little beat up and with a coffee stain at the top but contains a publisher mystery. We’ve seen this logo before, a capital G inside a rectangular artist’s palette with brushes attached, but haven’t found proof of the company name, to date.

Faithful Friends

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard. AZO stamp box. 1908.

Price:  $3.00

Well, if anybody can decipher the surname for our Ed, (intuition, psychic ability, maybe you’ve seen a similar name?) if so, you are utterly amazing. What do you reckon, Ed is maybe four years old? So, born around 1904. Given name obviously likely to be Edward or maybe Edwin or Edgar, middle initial “M” and he’s a Junior. Caton is a surname that comes up pretty frequently, and certainly the first three letters fit, but the rest – ee gads – that handwriting, wow. Cotman or Catman? If only the person that wrote this had given us a location. Still, the photo’s a total charmer….Ed in his white sailor suit, straight hair, short bangs, that steady gaze. His dog “Nig” or “Mig,” looks like some kind of shepherd mix, black with a little white, wearing a heavy collar, just look at those big ears and those dark brown eyes looking at the camera  – a bit of a worried look – he doesn’t trust whatever that weird apparatus is and he’s in protection mode…..It’s fun to pick up our own impressions from photos, but I think one thing we can say for sure – we’re looking at two best friends who took care of each other.

Kristofa and Baby

Real Photo Postcard, unused. Circa 1910’s.

Price:  $12.00

The sender wrote:

“Mrs. Hanna[?] & Hubby. Dear friends, hope you feel better today. [?] yourself for going home & see your mother before [?]. I vish I had a change, I vould like to come over next veek sometimes if the veather permits, hope you Hubby is working now. I send you a card vith the House & the old vomen on. Vhat do you think of it. I can not see[?] a day but hope to see you soon. Vith best regards to yourself , Hubby & Baby from us all. Kristofa.”

This house is really interesting with its entrance on the second floor – after some online searching I’ll admit I’m still lost on the style. My field guide to houses got water-damaged and I had to toss it (the answer probably was in there, rolling eyes) and I’m sure I’ll order another, but meanwhile I posted a query at an architectural site – hopefully they get back to me.

Another great aspect of this card is that it invites us, in a way, to share part of Kristofa’s Scandinavian-American life – just in hearing the accent that so nicely prevails in her note. But there she is, posing herself and her young son, he standing atop the wooden railing, safe and secure in her arms (note the tight grip on the trousers!). Note also the beautiful lace curtains in all the windows. If we were invited in, there would undoubtedly be coffee (Scandinavians love their coffee) and most likely an accompanying cake…..

Vinita Belle Lowry

Real Photo Postcard, 1919. Unused. ARTURA stamp box. 

Price:  $15.00

Such a cute baby and how excellent that the family member gave us the description on the reverse:

“Vinita Belle Lowry at the age of 13 months.”

Vinita Belle’s date of birth was February 22, 1918, so this photo then was taken in March of 1919. Her parents were Claud Lowry and Effie (Dickerson) Lowry. Find A Grave has a lot of information for the family including a long obit for Vinita. See link below:

Source:  Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/38993488/vinita-kollmeyer: accessed 10 July 2023), memorial page for Vinita Lowry Kollmeyer (22 Feb 1918–25 Mar 2007), Find a Grave Memorial ID 38993488, citing Hazelwood Cemetery, Springfield, Greene County, Missouri, USA; Maintained by Judy Young (contributor 46792475).

A Hidden Doorway

Divided Back, Real Photo Postcard, unused. Deckled edge. Circa 1910’s. Photographer:  E. Hunter, Schlettstadt. Pt. 773/II. 

Price:  $15.00

An unusual photographic pose if we ever saw one! The whimsical Augustine, wife of Julien Duller, pauses at a “doorway,” her left hand is on the invisible door nob. She’s smiling (with sort of a “knowing” look) back at the camera.

The date is unknown for this card:  The stamp box, one we’ve never come across, is blank except for a small six-pointed star in each of the bottom corners. But we’ll estimate the 1910’s due to the subject’s dress – fitted, column-style in dark wool or maybe linen or heavy cotton; displaying a shawl collar in silk or satin with matching material in a wide band below the bust line; and decorative bands on hip and sleeves. The dress falls below mid-calf to reveal high button-top boots. Her hair is dressed in a short side-part, (dig that one falling curl) up-swept and piled tightly on top for a little height. On her right hand, she wears a pocket watch that was converted into a wristwatch. In the insert below, you can see what’s referred to as “the bow,” which is the part that the chain would have been suspended from – a nice, surprising detail, and possibly an important clue to the postcard’s date, as it was WWI that ushered in the popularity of the wristwatch.

The photographer, E. Hunter, was not found online in any references, but his stamp tells us he was in Schlettstadt, (Sélestat in French and Schlettstàdt in Alsatian) a town in the Grand Est region of France, on the border of Germany.

As for those few words from Augustine, in her beautiful script:  I’m not sure what the first word is but the next would be andenkenand the third looks like genidmet:  translation from German appearing as “souvenir” and “dedicated.” So it’s probably something in the nature of “fond remembrances” but maybe a native German (or Alsation?) can help us out.

Sources:  Pocket watch. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pocket_watch#:~:text=In%20men’s%20fashions  %2C%20pocket%20watches,one%20kept%20in%20a%20pocket. (accessed April 30, 2023).

Sélestat. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%A9lestat (accessed April 30, 2023).

Miss Lila Sears, Portland, Oregon

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Divided Back, Real Photo Postcard, unused. AZO stamp box. Photographer:  Bicknell. Circa 1916 – 1918.

Price:  $15.00      

Embossed on the front lower right is the photographer info:   “Bicknell. 326 1/2 Washington St. Portland Ore.”

Miss Lila, very smartly attired and posing rather somberly for the camera, was born in California, October 1894, the daughter of Benjamin F. Sears and Jennifer Wotton. She married Harry W. Kelley, May 7, 1921, in Portland. The date for this postcard has been narrowed down with the help of Playles.com (AZO stamp boxes all four triangles pointing upward are as late as 1918) and the photographer’s address.

The Bicknell Studio

The photography studio of Bicknell would have been Wilfred Bicknell and his wife, Pearl. They’re both listed as photographers on the 1910 Federal Census for Portland. He born in England about 1875, and she born in Oregon about 1881. The Portland city directories start online from 1906 for Wilfred; address 203 1/2 1st Street. By 1909 we’re seeing an additional address for the studio of 214 Merchants Trust Building, switching to 210 Merchants Trust by 1911. (No city directories were found for 1910.)

In 1919, Wilfred married Mayme H. Thuener, August 11, 1919 in Marin County, California. No records were found for a divorce or death for Pearl.

Curiously, no references were found for the 326 1/2 Washington Street, Portland address that’s embossed on the postcard.

When the WWI Draft Registration Card was recorded, Wilfred was in San Francisco, CA. This record shows his date of birth as December 28, 1874. He’s working as a photographer for employer, Charles Bossum at 25 Kearney St. Then 1920 census for Stockton, CA, shows Wilfred is as owner of a photography gallery.

By 1930, Wilfred has run into some tough times. At the time of this census, taken in Stockton, CA, he is a patient at the state mental hospital. (It makes one wonder how much exposure he may have had to chemicals and/or heavy metals from his occupation.)

Sources:  “Real Photo Postcard Stamp Boxes, A – B.” https://www.playle.com/realphoto/photoa.php. (access April 23, 2023).

Oregon Center For Health Statistics; Portland, Oregon, USA; Oregon State Marriages, 1911-1945 (Ancestry.com).

Oregon State Archives; Salem, Oregon; Oregon, Death Records, 1864-1967. (Ancestry.com).

Year: 1910; Census Place: Portland Ward 5, Multnomah, Oregon; Roll: T624_1286; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 0159; FHL microfilm: 1375299. (Ancestry.com).

R. L. Polk & Co.’s Portland, Oregon city directories, 1906 – 1916. (Ancestry.com).

Ancestry.com. California, U.S., Marriage Records from Select Counties, 1850-1941.

Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.

Year: 1920; Census Place: Stockton Ward 4, San Joaquin, California; Roll: T625_144; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 177. (Ancestry.com).

Year: 1930; Census Place: Stockton, San Joaquin, California; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 0050; FHL microfilm: 2339947. (Ancestry.com).

Martha Reifschneider

Divided Back, Real Photo Postcard, unused. KRUXO stamp box, circa 1908 – 1910.

Price:  $15.00

Portrait of a beautiful young woman, in satin dress with tucks and a ruffled high lace collar…..

This particular KRUXO stamp box, with four-leaf clovers in each corner, is known to be from 1908 – 1910. Here’s the name written on the back:

As you can see, the ending of the surname is a little run together, however, we’re not finding any other potential matches under name variations.
And there’s no guarantee, but still we feel pretty confident that we have the right person in the details below:

Martha is the daughter of George Reifschneider and Katrina Redder, both German emigrants. (The Redder surname is from Ancestry.com family trees.) Martha was born in Iowa about May of 1890. She married Carl Sietmann March 9, 1910 at the home of her parents in Blairstown, Missouri.

Sources:  “K-L. Real Photo Postcard Stamp Boxes.” Playle.com. Accessed April 11, 2023.

Year: 1900; Census Place: Jefferson, Marshall, Iowa; Roll: 447; Page: 3; Enumeration District: 0109. (Ancestry.com).

“Laurel Couple Weds.” Evening Times-Republican (Marshalltown, Iowa). March 16, 1910. Wednesday, p. 9. (Newspapers.com).

Ethel (Lewis) Kelly

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard, unused. CYKO stamp box. Circa 1915 – 1925.

Price:  $15.00

There are two names on the back of this card:  Ethel Lewis Kelly and Bertha Tufford. Presumably they are cousins, or Bertha could be a cousin-in-law, though records were not found as proof, either way.

A description…..

Ethel, with a thoughtful, agreeable expression, wearing wire-rimmed eyeglasses, head tilted slightly, dark hair parted on the side and pulled back. Rings on both hands, one a possible wedding ring, and an interesting dress style:  light material with small diamonds, dark satiny fabric for the upside of the collar, the same fabric around the waist and for the diagonal accent under the bodice buttons. Lace running up one side from buttons to collar, and then lace around the cuffs, continuing up to the elbows. The carved wooden chair is also gorgeous – one of the nicest we’ve seen. The “ears” of the chair resemble something between a fish and a seahorse.

Ethel Lewis, born August 1890 in Oregon, is the daughter of Timothy Ambrose Lewis and Louise Serrell Crawford. Ethel married Thomas Leo Kelly in about 1923. He was born in Maine 1887. He was first married to Frances Jane Chisholm.

Researching this postcard threw me for a loop for awhile, because there’s a town called Bridge in Oregon. But, there’s another town called McKenzie Bridge, which is an unincorporated community in Lane County, OR, and shows up on Thomas Kelly’s death certificate. So, there’s no “Cousin McKenzie” at all. Thank goodness, as it wasn’t making too much sense that way.

As to the “addressee,” there’s a Bertha Mae Tufford, born January 19, 1892 in Portland, Oregon, who marries Frederick Sylvester Huit on March 10, 1917. If she’s the correct person then we’re led to believe that this postcard photo was taken before this marriage date, when Bertha was still single, still a Tufford, and that would mean that Ethel wasn’t married yet, and the ring on her left hand was not a wedding ring. Or, it could just be that the person who wrote in pencil on the reverse wasn’t aware of Bertha’s marriage or didn’t know the name. But as previously stated, no records were found to verify a “cousinship.” 😉

Sources:  Year: 1900; Census Place: Cottage Grove, Lane, Oregon; Roll: 1349; Page: 15; Enumeration District: 0120; FHL microfilm: 1241348. (Ancestry.com).

Year: 1920; Census Place: Elmira, Lane, Oregon; Roll: T625_1496; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 229. (Ancestry.com).

The National Archives At St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War Ii Draft Cards (4th Registration) For the State of California; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System; Record Group Number: 147. (Ancestry.com).

Oregon State Archives; Salem, Oregon; Oregon, Death Records, 1864-1967. (Ancestry.com).

Ancestry Family Trees for Thomas Leo Kelly and Frances Jane Chisolm. (Ancestry.com). Accessed February 18, 2023.

McKenzie Bridge, Oregon. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McKenzie_Bridge,_Oregon (accessed February 18, 2023).

Est ce d’un regard, d’un sourire…..

Divided Back, unused French postcard, circa 1920s. Publisher:  A. Noyer. Series 3268.

Price:  $6.00

Enlarge the image (twice) and you’ll see that there are a lot of creases on the front of this card, so it’s not in good shape but still, the subtle color variations and the softness, not to mention the romance and sender’s message make this a great one for Valentine’s Day….

“Est ce d’un regard, d’un sourire que vous avez su me séduire?”

Is it with a look, a smile, that you were able to seduce me?

Hopefully, I’ve deciphered and translated the reverse well enough for now, in hopes of having a French speaker look this over in the near future. The sender, “Louteke” is certainly a name I’ve never heard before, and doesn’t show up online. With luck, we can get clarification on that, too.

“Mon Chèr Petit Marcel,

Je suis très bien arrivée et Père était à la gare. Je ne devais pas changer à Courtois[?] J’étais content Georges à chercher la carte. Elle n’est pas très belle. Je m’ennui à mourir si loin de toi. Je ne sais pas est tu bien [?] Oui mon Chèr. Dort bien et mille gros bisous de[?] Chère Louteke qui pense beaucoup à toi mais quelle beau temps n’est pas Chèr à mardi soir. Je vais en promenade demain après midi. Mère est très content de son étagère et bien[?] les complements [?] et Père. Dort bien Chèri et pense beaucoup à moi, tu sais encore. 100 gros bisous de ta Chère Louteke.” 

My dear Marcel,

I arrived very well and Father was at the train station. I didn’t have to change at Courtois[?] I was happy George looked at the map. She [the town?] is not very beautiful. I’m bored to death so far from you. I don’t know if[?] you are fine. Yes, my dear? Sleep well and a thousand big kisses from dear Louteke who thinks about you a lot, but it’s not a long time Dear, till Tuesday night. I’m going for a walk tomorrow afternoon. Mother is very happy with her shelf and [sends?] regards from her and Father. Sleep well, darling and think of me a lot, you know again. 100 big kisses from your dear Louteke.