Couple in Traditional Costumes, Maybe Greek

Publisher info darkened in Photoshop……

Miscellaneous Card, deckled edge. Copyright 1948. Unknown publisher.

Price:  $5.00

It seems I’ve picked up a lot of cards in the past that likely have little or no resale value, and I’ve been going through some of these (some years later, now – how easily time gets away from us!) but still, it’s always a bit of a thrill, just to see what path you get led down, and the thoughts that ensue.

So for this one:  It’s postcard size but not a postcard, something made for tourists, and with publisher or photographer info on the back – in English, mostly too light to read, except for “Copyright 1948 by”. The next line looks like initial “N” for the given name, and the surname appears to begin “Z-O-G-R-A….” Zographos is a possibility, though the name looks like it ends in N-O-S. The third line is really difficult to read – I keep seeing Hermes, but ha, no, that was one of the Greek gods.

Looking at the shepherd’s clothing for more clues for country of origin, the man’s very wide sleeves and trouser style are similar to some images showing in my Google search result for Greek shepherds, below:

And, currently I’m reading (again) Mary Stewart’s, My Brother Michael, (set in Greece, if you’re not familiar). Her description of an old man, “……beneath it he wore what looked like white cotton jodhpurs bound at the knee with black bands” caught my attention. (Just a small serendipity moment.) I didn’t find a match for his footwear, nor for the woman’s outfit; she, so pretty in long print dress with heavy pleats, large sleeves also, with embroidered border. She’s serving the man a small glass of something, maybe ouzo or mastika. Of course, it’s all totally staged, and too, there’s something about the photo, you kind of get the impression that some of the background was blanked out (they do that sometimes, take out something that didn’t fit). But that’s all just part of the moment – the photographer’s process; the man and woman getting paid to pose, to represent a “regional type”.

Sources:  “Images of Greek shepherds in folk costume” Google.com search. Accessed 06/05/24.

Stewart, Mary. (2010). My Brother Michael. Chicago Review Press, Inc. (1959).

A Leap Year Suggestion

Divided back, unused postcard. Publisher unknown. Series or number 887. Made in the U. S. A. Circa mid-1910’s. 

Price:  $12.00

Cute children from a bygone era (we’re thinking 1790’s – 1810’s). A court ball gown for the girl, the boy in tailcoat and trousers with heel straps. Of course, not historically accurate – the artist just tying in the ball attire idea with the gent wanting to “get the ball rolling”.

A Leap Year Suggestion….

“Wonder why you don’t start somethin’

This is leap year don’t you see

If you start the ball a-rollin’

You’ll get lots of help from me.”

Today is “leap day” in leap year of 2024. The next will be in 2028. They arrive every four years, with some exceptions. The estimated date for this card comes from an estimate of 1916 on another card of the same design, currently online.

Source:  Leap year. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leap_year (accessed February 29, 2024).

Another Unusual House

Divided Back, Real Photo Postcard. Circa 1910’s – 1930’s. 

Price:  $12.00

The overexposure in this one makes it easy to miss at first, but there’s a chimney in our top right-hand view. (Click twice to enlarge.) And see how oddly it’s placed, cutting into the second-story roof eave? Probably the second floor and porch were later additions, right? Not that that would be unusual; it’s just the strangeness of how and where the chimney and roof intersect that gets us. (Maybe other examples are out there online but I didn’t see any). Then specifically it’s that very small overexposed bit (where the edge of the porch roof and chimney corner intersect) that tricks the eye so that the top portion of the chimney looks like it can’t meet with the lower portion (a fun-house-Alice-In-Wonderland-Dr. Seuss effect) or as if the chimney starts on the second floor. (Really not!) What’s the home style? Definitely there’s a Craftsman element from those deep eaves and exposed rafters and I’m not sure if this is considered Arts and Crafts but how about the charming wooden railings and those “rays of sun” extending up under the porch roof on the sides? Really, thumbs up on on the whole porch design. (The mind wanders….picturing the homeowners, admirers of Craftsman-style homes happily making requests of the builder……)

A Moment’s Rest

Real Photo Postcard, unused. Stamp box:  DOPS. Circa 1925 – 1942.

Price:  $8.00

Is this us? Finding a safe spot in a storm, surrounded by the chaos of life, just a breather for a minute, but drawing strength….Yeah, it feels like it, and I’m with ya.

The time frame on this one comes from the great Playle’s website re Real Photo Stamp Boxes.

Source:  “Real Photo Postcard Stamp Boxes – D-E.” https://www.playle.com/realphoto/photod.php (accessed September 11, 2023).

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.

Young Woman Wearing Striped Sash

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard, wide border. Unused. Circa 1910 – 1920s.

Price:  $6.00

A dark-haired young woman with bangs and hair pulled up in a top bun, wears a loose-fitting white blouse and…..are those trousers? Possibly, but more likely the question’s come up just due to the way the skirt is hanging. Not that trousers would have been unheard of, especially with and after WWI (the vacated jobs being filled by women, the practicality of pants, etc.) But to continue – around her hips is a wide, striped cloth accessory, pinned in place, giving the outfit a nice bohemian look. (The “belt” in the limelight reminds me of the Ceinture fléchée, the cloth, arrow sash that the French-Canadian voyageurs used, though there is no arrow design in this one.) And she’s posed at the foot of a flight of wooden stairs – the setting is rustic, working-class, we see an opening to maybe a store or warehouse on the ground level behind her. Maybe the building housed a flat above a shop or was a two-story business. Also of note, the young lady’s jewelry – earrings, a bracelet of (presumably) gold or gold-tone, and two rings, one a possible wedding ring.

Dating the card:  The reverse of this Real Photo Postcard – no stamp box, with its simple lettering style and “Correspondence Here,” “Name and Address Here” and its very short Divided Back line doesn’t, as far as I’ve seen, and according to Playle’s, have any verified to-and-from dates, (that’d be a time-consuming project, for sure) so we’re just estimating by general experience with clothing style and RPPCs.

Sources:  Ceinture fléchée. n.d. See link for URL. Accessed February 16, 2023.

Real Photo Postcard Stamp Backs:  Unknown Manufacturers. Playle.com. (Accessed February 16, 2023).

Jorgen aka Jergen Vind

Divided Back, Real Photo Postcard. AZO stamp box. Circa 1922.

Price:  $15.00           Size:  5 and 1/8 x 3 and 1/8″

This one was slightly cropped it seems, but it’s almost full size for an RPPC. And a very cute portrait of one Jorgen Vind, age about five. Let’s see how many Jorgen Vinds there might be in records:

After a little searching, we can confidently say this is Jorgen aka Jergen Paulson Vind, born September 19, 1917 in Crockett, Contra Costa County, California. Crockett is located about 28 miles northeast of San Francisco. The 1920 Federal Census for Contra Costa shows parents, Jerry Vind, born about 1868 in North Schleswig, Germany, (now part of Denmark) native language Danish, and Elizabeth, born about 1885 in Ireland, and children, nine-year-old Anna and two-year-old Jorgen. From the CA birth records we learn that Elizabeth’s maiden name was Kerr.

Jergen P. Vind married Pat A. Peters, November 6, 1954 in San Francisco, California.

Jergen died in Reno, Nevada, January 21, 1998.

Sources:  State of California. California Birth Index, 1905-1995. Sacramento, CA, USA: State of California Department of Health Services, Center for Health Statistics.(Ancestry.com).

Year: 1920; Census Place: Township 12, Contra Costa, California; Roll: T625_95; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 26. (Ancestry.com).

Schleswig-Holstein. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schleswig-Holstein (accessed February 15, 2023).

National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for California, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 1872. (Ancestry.com).

Ancestry.com. California, U.S., Marriage Index, 1949-1959.

Nevada State Health Division, Office of Vital Statistics. State Death Index. Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, Carson City, Nevada. (Ancestry.com).

Jerome Drug Company, Jerome, Idaho

Real Photo Postcard, unused. Circa 1911 – 1920. Kodak stamp box “Velvet Green.” Diamonds in four corners.

Price:  $20.00

The stamp box on the reverse of this card, and described above, is one I’ve never seen before. It’s not listed on the wonderful Playle’s website, either. (Very surprising.) Often the stamp box helps to narrow down the date on a Real Photo Postcard, but luckily we get help elsewhere:

One of the keys to the location of this card are the names advertised on the second-story windows, Dr. L. G. Phillips, Dentist and Dr. Schmershall, especially the latter, of course. They were found in the 1920 Jerome County City Directory:  Leon G. Phillips and spouse Madeline and John F. Schmershall, county physician, and spouse Agnes.

Leon G. Phillips and Madeline are on the 1920 Federal Census in South Jerome. He was born in Illinois, about 1882, she in Illinois, about 1889, and sons, Leon G., about 1914 and Robert Ridgeway Phillips, about 1916, both born in Idaho. Leon Phillips and Madeline Ridgeway married in Lincoln, Idaho on August 22, 1911.

John and Agnes are also on the 1920, in Jerome, with son, Peter Clark Schmershall, along with boarder, Leland S. Johnson. John was born in Pennsylvania about 1877, Agnes in Colorado about 1889, and Peter in Idaho, about 1913. John Schmershall and Agnes Miller were married April 6, 1911 in Jerome.

When the drug store, or building that housed it, was built has proven hard to pin down, but mention in the local county paper was found starting in 1911. An ad for Dr. Schmershall, office above the store, was found for the same year:

Something different in a newspaper:  Interspersed throughout the town news are ads like these, in the Jerome County Times, from various businesses. Here are some from August 14, 1913, pertaining to the subject of this postcard:

That does sound good! And, one more. (I couldn’t resist.) This one from October 3, 1912:

Jerome Drug Co. is later listed in newspaper ads as “the Rexall Store.”

Lastly, if you’ve enlarged the image, no doubt something has struck you as odd, it’s in the block lettering for the doctors:  It’s rather funny, the “C” in Doctor (and in Physician, but not as striking) looking like a “G, ” so that we’re reading “Dogtor.”

Sources:  Year: 1920; Census Place: South Jerome, Jerome, Idaho; Roll: T625_293; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 183. (Ancestry.com).

Ancestry.com. Idaho, U.S., County Marriages, 1864-1950.

Year: 1920; Census Place: Jerome, Jerome, Idaho; Roll: T625_293; Page: 17B; Enumeration District: 184. (Ancestry.com).

Ancestry.com. Idaho, U.S., Select Marriages, 1878-1898; 1903-1942. (Ancestry.com).

The Jerome County Times. August 14, 1913. Thursday, p. 5. (Newspapers.com).

The Jerome County Times. October 3, 1912. Thursday, p. 8. (Newspapers.com).

The Jerome County Times. March 16, 1911. Thursday, p. 4. (Newspapers.com).

Somewhere Out West

Divided Back, Real Photo Postcard, unused. Kruxo “divider line” no stamp box. Circa 1911 – 1922. Number 4313 appears in bottom right, front of card.

Price:  $5.00

I found this Real Photo Postcard in Nevada, so it’s possible that the photo could have been taken there. The original image is rather dark, so the second view is a lightened version from Photoshop. These obscure, maybe somewhat forgotten, or seemingly easy to overlook images are a draw for me, for some reason. Or it may have appealed due to the similar scene out multiple windows that we see from our new home. (Just a girl from Detroit who moved out to the Central Coast in Cali, then retired and moved one state over. I suspect my perspective of “Out West” will always be that of a Michigander 😉 )

Anyway, it’s always possible that someone will recognize this particular view of our postcard’s mystery range. And, you’ll notice the house, outbuilding and barn (or three houses?) and fence. Wonder what the story was. Was it a ranch? Not an easy life, especially in winter. On a related note: On our property I’ve found lots of remnants of cowboy campsites, circa 1920’s and ’30s – pieces of charcoal; flattened tin cans and small buckets; broken cups, plates; (including purple carnival glass) Mason-type jars and bottles – one intact, so far, a small, amber Hazel-Atlas. This intact bottle, if you want to make a case for alternate realities, had shown up out of nowhere in an area I’d already trod multiple times, (always looking for that “glint in the sun”). The universe’s answer to a small request to find something unbroken (and it was much appreciated!)

Source for postcard date estimate:

“Real Photo Stamp Boxes. K – L.” (https://www.playle.com/realphoto/photok.php). Accessed December 28, 2022.

Of interest for identifying old bottles:

https://glassbottlemarks.com/ Glass Bottle Marks (glassbottlemarks.com).

Happy in Winter

Real Photo postcard, unused. Cyko stamp box. Circa 1907 – 1920s.

Price:  $4.00

No name or location on the back, as you can see, and I think I just bought this one because the card made me happy. An older gentlemen in either a fur hat or a black sheepskin hat, (it looks kind of wool-y) and wool turtleneck sweater and jacket. A strong, handsome face with a fairly hefty mustache, and he’s standing outside, looking off to the distance; for me, his expression a mixture of kindness, satisfaction, warmth. The phrase, “a satisfied mind” comes to the forefront. A man of integrity that’s worked hard at taking care of the land and his family, maybe an emigrant to this country many years prior.

The estimated date for this postcard comes from Playles.com, (1904 – 1920s). But our 1907 start estimate is because both sender’s note and addressee info would have gone on the reverse, and postal regulations didn’t allow for that until the end of 1907. (Assuming Real Photo Postcards went by the same general rule, and I’ve never seen anything to the contrary.)

Source:  “Real Photo Postcard Stampboxes – C.” https://www.playle.com/realphoto/photoc.php (accessed December 23, 2022).