Boy On Front Stoop

Divided back, unused, Real Photo Postcard. VELOX stamp box. Circa 1907 – 1917.

Price:  $5.00

A door stoop seems to have been a great place to have a photo taken, and likely we have more of these type already posted, but it would be fun to view them all together. So we’ll make a separate category, thereby creating (yet another – always a good thing) point of interest to look for in our travels to paper fairs and the like. 🙂 The details in the photo, as always, are fun to pick out:  In this one we notice the very worn mat the little boy is standing on, which is atop the stone stoop which looks hand-chiseled; and the bucket on our left; the beautiful circles pattern in the screen door which is swung wide open on our right; and the nice double-breasted coat the boy wears with an anchor on the left sleeve.

Two Guns White Calf

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard, unused. Copyright Hileman. Photographer:  Tomar Jacob Hileman. NOKO stamp box.

Price:  $10.00

John Two Guns White Calf (1872 – 1934) was the son of White Calf; the father is said to have been the last of the Pikuni (a.k.a. Piikáni, Peigan, Piegan) Blackfoot chiefs and, as such, was involved in the sale of Blackfeet land that would become part of Montana’s Glacier National Park. Son, John “Two Guns,” and some of the other members of the park area Blackfoot tribe, became known as “the Glacier Park Indians” through their work for the Great Northern Railway via its campaign to promote the park (thus promoting the railway and its related business properties.)  Through his travels and also his work as a greeter at the park, Two Guns White Calf became one of the most recognizable American Indians of his time; this was due in part to an advertising opportunity that had fallen into the lap of the railroad:  the noted similarity between Two Guns and the Indian on the Buffalo nickel. It’s a great story, but not one that is based in fact, and that’s part of the fascination in both past and present:  how the story came about and that the point of view is still propagating today.

Below, an early news clippings found in the Inter-Ocean (Chicago, Illinois) November 1912:

 

A skillfully orchestrated hoax

Pull up numerous historical newspaper articles on Two Guns and you can find phrases like “image is on” and “posed for” in relation to the coin, and true, Two Guns’ profile is remarkably similar to the image on the nickel……but absolutely not when looking at the shape of the nose. Two Guns’ nose was quite distinctive. (I’ve borrowed this word from someone and don’t remember quite where.) It juts downward at the bump (not the technical term, I know), as you can see in the postcard, even though his image there is not in perfect profile. Comparing his profile with that of the nickel image should lead anyone new to the topic to immediate skepticism and to dig in to further research, if needed. But, how did the story get started in the first place? See an explanation by journalist and author Ray Djuff’s in an article that appeared in Coins Magazine, February 27, 2013:  “The Big Nickel Lie; Two Guns’ Famed Mug Not Used,” and see the newspaper articles appearing further below, for a little additional background.

The Buffalo nickel’s production ran from 1913 – 1938.

Below, some images of Two Guns containing some better profile shots from a Google search:

A composite

The nickel’s sculptor, James Earle Fraser, also famous as the artist who sculpted “The End of the Trail,” clearly stated that the Indian on the nickel was not one man but a composite; naming Chief Iron Tail of the Ogalala Sioux and Chief Two Moons of the Northern Cheyenne, and a third and maybe fourth that he couldn’t remember. He also stated that Two Guns was not one of the models, nor had he ever met him, but it seems the statement about the unremembered other name or names is one reason the legend has lingered.

Below left, one of the quotes from Fraser, appearing in a December 1935 article of Davenport, Iowa’s Quad-City Times. Below center and right, two excerpts from journalist Elmo Scott Watson, appearing in a March 1938 article in The Times-Independent (Moab, Utah). The clip on the right includes a quote from “…Hoke Smith Western development agent of the Great Northern Railroad…” (See the Ray Djuff link above on “Hoke” Smith).

Many roads to travel

To me, while researching this postcard, nothing became more apparent than the thought that the life of Two Guns would make a great subject for a book (one may already be in the works) because it’s difficult, if not impossible, to do justice to anyone really, in a (somewhat) short blog-type entry, but especially so in the case of Two Guns, because of his “association with” the Buffalo nickel, and because there is so much more to explore in context with the times:  to name just a few, the Great Northern Railway history, publicity and the American Indian, see for instance, Two Guns’ mention in authors LaPier and Beck’s City Indian:  Native American Activism in Chicago, 1893 – 1934, the history of the nickel itself, with the public reportedly clamoring to know the name of the Indian on the coin when it came out. (FYI, there was an original version of the coin, and then a “do-over” because portions of the design, specifically the “five cents,” was thought to be too indistinct; there’s the fact that not everyone loved the design of the buffalo, as some thought the animal had a forlorn, hang-dog kind of look, though if one took that view, it could be seen as historically fitting because of the buffalo’s slaughter in the wake of “progress;” and comically, in one newspaper journalist’s opinion, if you viewed the buffalo on an angle it looked like the face of a man.) Another aspect to explore in the life of Two Guns is his own stated belief that it was his visage on the coin. (He was not the only Indian claiming that it was their own likeness, of course, so there’s another major road, highway really, to explore.) But one wonders, not meaning to offend any of his descendants, if Two Guns really thought so, or if he might have privately viewed it as a “useful open-ended possibility” in any dealings he might have with the U.S. government in relation to the rights of the Blackfeet. That’s only my uneducated thought and one not necessarily adopted, and to be thorough, the history of the beliefs and ideology of the Blackfeet might also be explored. And because we’d like to know more about the man himself, to touch on the subject of family life, it was remarked in a newspaper article that he and his wife had a tender relationship when he cancelled an appearance at a New York reception to stay with her on a day that she didn’t feel well. By the way, a wonderful interview by Two Guns’ wife, who was described as “vivacious and loquacious,” can be read of her thoughts in 1913 on the modern women of New York. In answer to the reporter’s questions, she found New York women pretty, at the same time wondering at their restrictive clothing, fashion v. freedom and energy flow, noting how the “hobble skirt” that was currently in vogue, reminded her of how “when we want to keep our ponies from running off we hobble them,” and spoke in general, about the importance for women of having fresh air, un-restrictive clothing, work, and not necessarily marriage, but friendship.

Modern joys and pitfalls

The succession over the years of the many newspaper articles alone on Two Guns White Calf and the nickel is thought-provoking, not only in transporting us back to the past, seeing the similarities in reporting today v. then, getting a feel for how a myth evolved, but also in highlighting (once again) the wonder and pitfalls of the fast-paced world we now live in:  Don’t happen to have a Buffalo nickel stashed away in a drawer? Online, and bingo, there it is, and you don’t even need a magnifying glass to get a good view. But the pitfall:  with such instant information at our fingertips via the internet, it’s only natural that we’ve come to expect quick answers. I totally get this. Research is painstaking. I have boxes of photos, postcards, etc. waiting to go up on this website. (Rubbing hands together in anticipation.) Beauties, each a doorway into another dimension, and that feeling that there is never enough time. So, especially in Two Guns’ case, if one were doing a quickie post but sincerely wanting to check some sources like old newspaper articles, one could be forgiven (always, who’s perfect?) in posting misinformation or at the very least putting up a more limited view of a multi-level topic. It’s a great example of how a quickie look at something can lead us down the primrose path resulting in unknowingly becoming both victim and propagator in the “wrong info begets wrong info” trap. Even with pretty extensive research, there are dangers; for example, any archivist, or true genealogist, will tell you that all sources need to be explored (though we can’t always know what “all” is) as it’s sometimes that one census record that one didn’t bother to hunt down, or that one whatever, that turns out to be a game-changer, as in:  “Oh, a prior marriage….so such-and-such was not the maiden name,” or “OMG, this person was adopted.” But jumping down from the soapbox, my short-ish post on Two Guns is obviously not the biggest picture either, but rather just a part of a many-faceted likely as-yet-undiscovered whole.

In closing, we love the tongue-in-cheek expression, “Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story” and variations thereof (He never lets the facts….) but in the case of John Two Guns White Calf, the truth makes a better story than the myth. We hope the book gets written.

Sources:  Piegan Blackfeet. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piegan_Blackfeet (accessed December 11, 2017).

John Two Guns White Calf. May 21, 2012. nativeheritageproject.com. (accessed November 25, 20017).

“Did the Indian, Two Gun White Calf, pose for the Indian head on the buffalo nickel?” Quad-City Times (Davenport, Iowa). December 10, 1935. Tuesday, p. 12. (Newspapers.com).

Buffalo nickel. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo_nickel (accessed November 25, 2017).

“Images of Two Guns White Calf.” Google.com. Accessed December 14, 2017.

“Indian Guests in Hill Box Party.” The Inter-Ocean. (Chicago, Illinois). November 19, 1912. Tuesday, p. 12.

James Earle Fraser (sculptor). n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Earle_Fraser_(sculptor). (accessed December 12, 2017).

Djuff, Ray. “The Big Nickel Lie; Two Guns’ Famed Mug Not Used.” February 27, 2013. Coins Magazine. (accessed at NumisMaster.com. November 25, 2017).

LaPier, Rosalyn R.Beck, David R. M. City Indian:  Native American Activism in Chicago, 1893 – 1934. University of Nebraska Press. May 31, 2015.

“Buffalo Nickel Now Creating A Lot Of Trouble.” The Lima Daily News (Lima, Ohio). January 26, 1914. Monday, p. 4. (Newspapers.com).

“The New Five-Cent Piece. Indian and Buffalo Design Defended by an Admirer.” The New York Times. March 5, 1913. Wednesday, p. 16. (Newspapers.com)

Marshall, Marguerite Mooers. ” ‘New York Women Heap Nice to Look At,’ Mrs. Two Guns White Calf Explains.” The Arkansas Gazette. (Little Rock, Arkansas). March 31, 1913. Monday, p. 7. (Newspapers.com)

Snake River Bridge At Blue Lakes, Idaho

Divided back, unused postcard, circa 1911 – 1915. Publisher:  Wesley Andrews, Baker, Oregon. Series or number 305.

Price:  $12.00

 I. B. Perrine’s Blue Lakes Bridge

Started in 1910 and completed in 1911, is the steel bridge seen in this postcard, spanning the Snake River at Blue Lakes. It replaced I. B. Perrine’s ferry and was known as I. B. Perrine’s Blue Lakes Bridge or Perrine’s Bridge, and was a toll bridge until Perrine’s building costs were recovered. It was closed to the public in 1921. Ira Burton Perrine was a renowned fruit rancher and is credited as having founded Twin Falls, Idaho.

Below, a clipping from The Oregon Daily Journal, October 1910, informs readers that the piers for the new bridge were completed, and the work on the structure would soon be undertaken by a Minneapolis company. According to the article, the bridge’s length was going to measure 600 feet.

Watermelon in the desert and where was Blue Lakes?

Below, two newspaper clippings:   On the left, a partial clip from The Evansville Press, September 1906, on Perrine’s mineral-rich fruit ranch where fruits too numerous to mention were grown in the volcanic soil. On the right, a partial article from The Minneapolis Journal, September 1903, and the best description found online of Blue Lakes. According to the unknown journalist, Blue Lake was not a town, but a post office established for the fruit farmer, whose ranch was referred to as Blue Lakes, located about four miles below the Shoshone Falls on the Snake River, north of the city of Twin Falls, and who’s name derives from the two almost pond-size bodies of water, so poetically described below, as “….blue with a blueness that defies description…….the water is sparkling, transparent indigo shading into purple….”  And the million-dollar question in 2017:  Are the lakes still there? (Hopefully someone will comment and let us know.)

Sources:  “Bridge The Snake At Blue Lakes.” The Oregon Daily Journal (Portland, OR). October 30, 1910. Sunday, p. 5. (Newspapers.com)

Matthews, Mychel. “Hidden History:  First Perrine Bridge.” MVMagicValley.com. July 7, 2016. (Web accessed November 18, 2017).

I. B. Perrine. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I._B._Perrine (accessed November 18, 2017).

Gardner, Gilson. “Romance Of An Idaho Eden.” The Evansville Press. (Evansville, IN). September 28, 1906. Friday, p. 4. (Newspapers.com).

“An Idaho Romance.” The Minneapolis Journal. September 26, 1903. Saturday, p. 5. (Newspapers.com).

Before You Fool With A Fool

Divided back, unused postcard. Copyright 1913, Walker’s Post Card Shop. Rochester, New York.

Price:  $5.00

Words of wisdom from E. C. March:

“Before you fool with a fool, be sure you have a fool to fool with.”

The name E. C. March sounds like someone we ought to know, or maybe someone we’ve heard of in passing, a writer, humorist, poet….and perchance they were, but no references were found for them. So, possibly this wise person was just someone that had worked for Walker’s Post Card Shop. The shop, according to ads found in Rochester’s  Democrat and Chronicle, was a wholesale and retail venue for postcards, which also offered letters, folders, tags, seals and calendars. They were first located at 475 Main Street East, but by December 20, 1914, had moved to 30 Main Street East, across from the Hippodrome.

Below, from Rochester, New York’s Democrat and Chronicle, August 21, 1909:

Sources:  “Ask to see Walker’s ‘Foolish Thoughts by Clever Men.’ ”  Democrat and Chronicle, August 21, 1909. Sunday, p. 18. (Newspapers.com)

“Walker’s Post Card Shop.” Democrat and Chronicle, December 20, 1914. Sunday, p. 26. (Newspapers.com)

Young Woman With Rose, Detroit

Divided back, unused, Real Photo Postcard. Photographer:  Władyslaw Jakubowski. Circa 1911 – 1916. AZO stamp box.

Price:  $15.00

A Real Photo Postcard, not in good shape, as you can see by the “foxing” marks and the creases, most notably in the top right corner. More by Władyslaw Jakubowski can be viewed at Michigan Polonia and Polish Mission. His stamp on the back shows:

“W. Jakubowski. 1525 Michigan Ave., Detroit, Mich.”

And it’s a beautiful image of the lovely young woman, whom we might presume to be of Polish descent, posed standing with one hand resting on an open French window, and holding a rose in the other. Her dress (or matching skirt and blouse) is possibly silk (wonder what color) with long sleeves of a see-through material. She wears a white lace fichu (or maybe a long-sleeved white blouse underneath) over which lays a cross on a choker-length chain, and a large-link bracelet on her left wrist.

Our Front Stoop At 8562

Divided back, unused, Real Photo Postcard. AZO stamp box. Circa 1910 – 1930.

Price:  $2.00

Somewhere there was a beautiful house with a beautiful family….a mom takes a minute away from the cooking and cleaning to pose with her four kids, on the front stoop of their house, numbered 8562….This one was found during the recent Detroit excursion that we’ve been mentioning lately. No way to know what city this was in. If it was Detroit, there were a number of houses, circa 1910 to 1930, numbered 8562, that might fit the bill, but it’s proving to be a needle in a haystack search. We’ll look for more that might be related to this one when we go back next year.

Twelve In A Skiff

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

Price:  $4.00

A nice family photo made into a postcard, circa 1907 – 1918, showing twelve family members in a skiff named Elizabeth, either just about to head out on the water or just returned. Most likely the latter though because there’s the family dog, laying down in the sand (tired after all the excitement, swimming, etc?) and there’s one of the kids huddled in a towel. This RPPC would be a nice reference for the era’s bathing suits, family outings at the lake, and that type of thing. Love those bathing caps!

Young Man’s Dream, Circa 1910

Two pals in Newsboy caps, skinny tie, bow tie and sweaters

Our guy from the top left, looking distinguished and contemplative, with pipe

Divided back, Real Photo Postcards, unused. Cyko stamp box. Circa 1910.

Price for the set of two:  $35.00

I had just spent a ridiculous amount of time comparing these two images to see how they were done. 🙂 Looks like the charming lake scene of an attractive young woman on a lake, with a partial border of lilies (very Art Nouveau) is the same size on both cards, one being just the reverse of the other. The shaped border, however, is slightly larger on the second postcard, so that part must have involved a separate process, then, of course, arranging the trimmed photos in the border would be next….but why dissect? The end result is beautiful and unusual, and possibly two-of-a-kind.

One can’t help but look for an artist name though, and in so doing might imagine seeing a signature (John something) in the shadow of the oar (top image) but a name glimmering on the water, so to speak, could just be coincidence.

As for time-frame, I’m guessing late 1900s to mid-1910s, in looking for men’s narrow necktie style, women wearing neckties, Art Nouveau, etc. There do not seem to be many examples of women in neckties in the 1900s – 1910s, and that was surprising. But here’s one below in the bottom right corner from a Google search for the popular British actress, Madge Crichton:

Mostly Madge

A 1910 advertisement from The Marion Star:

Sources:  Art Nouveau. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_Nouveau (accessed July 1, 2017).

“Images for old postcards Madge Crichton.”  Google search, July 1, 2017. Google.com.

Marx Bros. & Hess collar and necktie ad. The Marion Star, (Marion, OH) May 14, 1910. Saturday, p. 7. (Newspapers.com)

Sea Gull – A Boat

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

Price:  $6.00

Per Playle’s (a great reference for dating RPPCs, thus we use it all the time) this particular style of AZO stamp box, with all four triangles pointing up, is dated at 1904 – 1918, however, since it’s a divided back card, it would need to be December 1907 at the earliest. The type of watercraft is, for me, non-boat expert that I am, in question. Houseboat…?…. maybe, maybe not. In any case, we see her name on the bow,  “Sea Gull.”  And there’s the vague image of the skipper at the helm, standing, facing the sun. Amidships (can this term be used for small craft?) we see the silhouette of a seated man in a hat. On shore, in the background are some buildings and a large stand of evergreens.

Source:  “Real Photo Postcard Stamp Boxes. A – B.” playle.com. (accessed June 13, 2017).

Grand River Dam And Lake, Northeastern Oklahoma

Divided back, unused postcard. Publisher:  Dewey Post Card Co., Dewey, Oklahoma. Printer:  Curt Teich. Genuine Curteich – Chicago. “C. T. American Art.” No. or series:  2B88 – N. Circa 1953.

Price:  $5.00

“Length of dam 5680 ft., height 150 ft., length of lake 60 miles with 1000 miles shoreline. A playground of four states. Power plant capacity 200,000,000 KWH. Four 20,000 h. p. turbines, four 16,000 KVA generators.”

There’s a few similar-view-of-the-dam linen postcards that we see online, however none at the moment by this publisher, the Dewey Post Card Co. Per the publisher research we’re estimating the date of this postcard at 1953.

The Grand River Dam is an a.k.a. for the Pensacola Dam, in Northeastern Oklahoma, which is the longest multiple-arch dam in the world. Construction was started in 1938 and completed in 1940.

Source:  Pensacola Dam. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pensacola_Dam (accessed June 12, 2017).