Gator Wrestling

Old photo, white border. Circa 1920s – 1930s.

Price:  $5.00           Size:  2 and 3/4 x 4 and 1/2″

The condition of this one is not great – with the crease on the bottom right and the image being pretty washed out, but it is one of a kind, and that’s always nice, since it was taken by an individual, rather than produced in numbers for the tourist trade. It shows a young man of the Seminole Nation, his legs on either side of a belly-up alligator, gator’s snout to young man’s chin; a line of spectators in the back; and another gator, under the palm tree. Enlarge the image (twice) for a better look.

See the links below for a few articles on the subject of alligator wrestling. And maybe you’ve had a similar experience so I’ll share something here:  Rarely have I felt so overwhelmed by a photo:

I’ve been wrestling (no pun intended) with finishing this post, having re-written it several times – and have come to the conclusion that this photo is “weighty” for me. For one thing, a doorway to history – flipping back thru time with the Seminole people – life before tourism, before the tragedy of the Glades being diminished, pride for the Seminoles to have never signed a “peace” treaty with the U.S. government…..And this photo’s era – Florida in the ’20’s and ’30’s being a particular draw for me – that déja vu feeling, with it’s invariable why?……And questions for the present and future, our planet and its welfare (anguish) gators and all, but also this particular gator and this particular wrestler – so, back to the moment when the photo was taken, and by the way, the feelings and impressions of those spectators…. Multiple pathways to travel down. Maybe I’ll be drawn back to it all later, when I’m older and hopefully, wiser.

Some related articles:

Fitzner, Zach. “Alligator wrestling in Florida may soon become a thing of the  past.” Earth.com, April 18, 2019. https://www.earth.com/news/alligator-wrestling-florida/ (accessed November 20, 2022).

Lipscomb, Jessica. “Study, Actually Alligator Wrestling Is Bad.” Miami New Times, November 24, 2020. https://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/study-says-floridas-alligator-wrestling-attractions-are-harmful-11748501 (accessed November 20, 2022).

Oztaskin, Murat. “How Florida’s Seminole Tribe Transformed Alligator Wrestling Into A Symbol of Independence.” The New Yorker, January 27, 2021. https://www.newyorker.com/culture/the-new-yorker-documentary/how-floridas-seminole-tribe-transformed-alligator-wrestling-into-a-symbol-of-independence. (accessed November 20, 2022).

James A. Anderson, Maumee, Ohio

Divided Back, Real Photo Postcard, unused. AZO stamp box. Circa 1914 – 1917.

Price:  $15.00          Size:  3 and 3/8 x 4 and 3/4″

Always charming – these photos and cards of children on donkeys and horses – a donkey in this case. And this particular postcard is a little off from the standard size in length (length of card as viewed from the reverse with writing side).

James, dressed up in wool hat, suit coat and knickers and wearing button, high top boots, was a Maumee, OH native, born October 26, 1909. The son of Charles E. Anderson and Julia “Jewel” Elnora Wise/Weis, James’ middle name was Arnold, according to the 1910 Federal Census for Maumee, Ohio, which flipped the names and lists him as “Arnold J.” (Note the stirrups are a little too long for him in the photo.)

Sources:  Ancestry.com. Ohio, U.S., Births and Christenings Index, 1774-1973 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

Year: 1910; Census Place: Maumee Ward 2, Lucas, Ohio; Roll: T624_1210; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 0163; FHL microfilm: 1375223. (Ancestry.com).

Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/112621700/james-arnold-anderson: accessed 24 September 2022), memorial page for James Arnold Anderson (26 Oct 1909–29 Jan 1956), Find a Grave Memorial ID 112621700, citing Calvary Cemetery, Toledo, Lucas County, Ohio, USA; Maintained by TAYLOR (contributor 47701928).

Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/119834096/julia-eleanor-anderson: accessed 24 September 2022), memorial page for Julia Eleanor “jewel” Weis Anderson (2 Aug 1891–27 Aug 1980), Find a Grave Memorial ID 119834096, citing Calvary Cemetery, Toledo, Lucas County, Ohio, USA; Maintained by M_artin S_chauder (contributor 47780256).

Boy Eating Watermelon

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

Price:  $7.00

I was in mind to post this one in July for summertime and here it is almost October. So, before summer slips completely away this year, here it is. And laughing at my title now, does it remind you of “man-eating shark”? 🙂 Anyway, it’s a great shot, a little boy in shorts and an old straw hat, on his porch steps. Posed between two large watermelons, he’s holding up a large slice that has a big bite out of it. A woman, maybe his mom, half out of camera range, looks on.

I’ve got two whole watermelons in the pantry right now and another half in the fridge. (Yes, I know I am truly blessed.) Large mugs of blended watermelon are on the agenda for breakfast again. (Nirvana!) For the 411, health-wise, on watermelon and melons, in general, see the Medical Medium blog posts:  Watermelon and Healing Powers of Melon.

“Watermelon” and “Healing Powers of Melon”. medicalmedium.com. (Accessed September 24, 2022.)

The Falveys Get Back to the Country, 1929

Old photo, white border. Dated July, 1929.

Price:  $15.00            Size:  About 6 and 3/4 x 4 and 1/2″

Sláinte!………..Some glasses are raised in salute here – in celebration of something, maybe just in the happiness of getting back to the ranch.

The Falvey Family lived in San Francisco, but it seems likely they owned some property outside of the city. Indeed, a 1905 newspaper article in the San Francisco Chronicle, mentions the family,  “preparing to go into the country for the summer.”  

Falvey is an Irish surname, and one we hadn’t come across until now. From Wikipedia:

“Falvey is a surname which is an anglicisation of the name Ó Fáilbhe:  in the Irish language Ó means “descendant” [of] and “fáilbhe” literally means “lively, pleasant, sprightly, merry, cheerful” or, according to another historian, “joker”. Other anglicisations include O’Falvie, O’Falvy, O’Failie, O’Falvey, Falvey, Fealy and Fealey.”

From the photo:

Arthur Falvey, born February 17, 1877 in San Francisco, California.

Gertrude (Green) Falvey, born November 9, 1879 in California. Daughter of James Green and Annie Ryder, both born in Ireland.

Son, Jack Falvey, born September 29, 1913 in San Francisco.

Jamie(?) and Evelyn, surnames unknown.

Sources: Year: 1920; Census Place: San Francisco Assembly District 27, San Francisco, California; Roll: T625_142; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 329.(Ancestry.com).

Year: 1930; Census Place: San Francisco, San Francisco, California; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 0237; FHL microfilm: 2339938. (Ancestry.com).

California Birth Index, 1905-1995. (Ancestry.com).

San Francisco Area Funeral Home Records, 1895-1985. Microfilm publication, 1129 rolls. Researchity. San Francisco, California. (Ancestry.com).

Falvey. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falvey. (accessed September 22, 2022).

“Jumps From Roof After A Robbery.” San Francisco Chronicle. Friday, April 21, 1905. p. 16.

Ruth Bower and Family, Pontiac, Michigan, Circa 1923

Old photo, white border. 92 Oak Hill St., Pontiac, Michigan. Circa 1923.

Price:  $15.00          Size:  3 and 7/16 x 5 and 9/16″

A lovely snap, half-posed, half-candid of family life in Pontiac, Michigan, about 1923……

The reverse shows:   “Oak Hill St, Grama & Grampa Bower, Ruth, Helen, Al.”

This will be a great photo addition for descendants of this particular Bower family. This snapshot was taken at 92 Oak Hill Street, Pontiac, Michigan, the house having been fairly recently built – in 1920 (according to Zillow.com).

Ruth Esther Bower (born 1905 in Detroit, MI) is the young lady smiling for the camera. She is the daughter of the older couple on the porch, who are Charles Bower (born 1856 in E. Hamburgh, NY) and Hannah Prudence (Allen) Bower (born 1867 in Avoca, St. Clair, MI). The two children are the couple’s grandchildren and Ruth’s niece and nephew. They are Helen Mae Bower (born 1914 in North Branch, MI) and Alvah B. Bower (born 1921 in Pontiac, MI). Helen and Alvah are the children of Henry Earl Bower and Minnie (Yerden) Bower, and this is their home at 92 Oak Hill, in Pontiac.

Sources:  “92 Oakhill St, Pontiac, MI 48342.” zillow.com. (Accessed September 20, 2022.)

Michigan Department of Community Health, Division of Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952; Film: 108; Film Description: 1911 Washtenaw-1912 Barry.Find a Grave, database and images. (Ancestry.com).

(https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/37844263/hannah-prudence-bower: accessed 20 September 2022), memorial page for Hannah Prudence Allen Bower (3 May 1867–29 Jun 1929), Find a Grave Memorial ID 37844263, citing Perry Mount Park Cemetery, Pontiac, Oakland County, Michigan, USA; Maintained by SisterMaryLouise (contributor 46984885) .

Michigan Department of Community Health, Division of Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952; Film: 177; Film Description: 1924 Monroe-1924 St Joseph. (Ancestry.com).

Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, Michigan; Death Records. (Ancestry.com).

Michigan Department of Community Health, Division of Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952; Film: 175; Film Title: 63 Oakland 10110-13449; Film Description: Oakland (1933-1935). (Ancestry.com).

Stacking Lumber

Cropped, Divided Back, unused postcard. AZO stamp box. Circa 1907 – 1918.

Price:  $12.00           Size:  About 5 and 3/8 x 3″

Wow, this is the first old lumberyard photo I’ve seen. Googling similar images brings up the compilation below, but the stacks in our image apparently have the most interesting angles (!) (Could it be partially due to the camera’s aspect?) And we’re seeing four boys and three men in this postcard, one of the men is identified as “Chas” (Charles).

Source:  “Old photos of lumberyards with stacking lumber.” Google.com search. (Accessed September 18, 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).

Aqsunqur Mosque (Blue Mosque) Cairo, Egypt, Circa 1910s

Old photo, circa 1910s. Cairo, Egypt.

Price:  $30.00             Size:  2 and 1/2 x 3 and 3/8″

A view from Bab al-Wazir street, Cairo

We’re taking a trip to Egypt. Here’s a photo found loose in a box at an antique store in Nevada. (There’s the photographer’s journey and then there’s the photo’s journey.) But, it’s always exciting to happen across the ones from far-off places, in this case to picture the individual traveling by steamer, along with his or her trunks, exploring someplace exotic, soaking in a different culture (though it probably wasn’t viewed in that terminology back then) and then taking a moment to write in a strong hand, “Cairo -“ upon his or her return. (Also, appearing on the reverse are the initials in pencil, “M.S.D.”)

Predominant in the view, the building with the rounded dome, is the Aqsunqur Mosque or Blue Mosque, along with its minaret, and another in the background. The mosque was built in 1347 on the orders of a prince, Shams ad-Din Aqsunqur, during the reign of the Mamluks. It is one of a number of “blue mosques”, so named because of its walls of blue tile, on the interior. The tiles were not added until a period of renovation in 1652 – 1654.

Rather dark in the image (click twice to enlarge) is a man wearing a Fez hat, standing very straight next to an auto with its top down.You can read what we assume to be the license plate. The gentleman appears to be in uniform (note the sleeve cuffs that are slightly short) and the small necktie. We’re picturing him as a cabbie or the driver hired by our traveler. Behind the car, barely visible, two men in white hats. To our right, a small wooden cart with large wheels; this would have been either hooked up to an animal or have been pulled or pushed by a person. (Both instances are seen in photos and postcards found online.) Further right, a small child in long dress and head covering, probably being watched by her mother, whom we can’t see due to the shadows of the building.

Sources:  Aqsunqur Mosque. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aqsunqur_Mosque (accessed May 27, 2022).

Jama’a Al-Aqsunqur (Blue Mosque). (World Monuments Fund). https://www.wmf.org/project/jama%E2%80%99-al-aqsunqur-blue-mosque (accessed May 27, 2022).

Nora Ward, Silver Lake, Indiana

Carte-de-Visite, circa 1876. Photographer:  J. F. Shoemaker, Warsaw, Indiana.

Price:  $18.00      Size:  About 2 and 1/2 x 4 and 1/8″

An adorable photo of Nora Ward, estimating she was about four years old in this picture. Love the stripes on the skirt and jacket, and I’m always struck by the quality of the clothing in antique photos.

We find Nora on the 1880 Federal Census for Silver Lake, IN:  Daughter of U. F.(?) and Ellen S. Ward. Nora was born in Indiana, about 1872, the fourth child of five. Siblings on this record are Laura, Charlie, Artemas and Mary. Their father is a physician. Further searches show the father’s full name is Uriah Irvin Ward and mother’s maiden name Giauque (possible French-Swiss origin). Nora grows up to marry a Mr. Gardner, and is living in Los Angeles in 1918, per Uriah’s obit, below:

Sources:  Year: 1880; Census Place: Silver Lake, Kosciusko, Indiana; Roll: 290; Page: 211B; Enumeration District: 058. (Ancestry.com).

Directory of Deceased American Physicians, 1804-1929. (Ancestry.com).

“U. I. Ward is Dead.” The Hutchinson News (Hutchinson, KS). May 17, 1918. Friday, p. 8. (Newspapers.com).

Marriage Records. Ohio Marriages. Various Ohio County Courthouses. (Ancestry.com).

A Photo of Miss Pansy

Old photo, circa 1900 – 1920s.

Price:  $6.00       Size:  2 and 3/8 x 3 and 5/16″

Even though there is no last name on the reverse for this young girl, her given name, Pansy, is unusual enough to maybe help anyone searching for any additional photos (she is someone’s grandma or great-grand or great-aunt). And we love out-of-the-ordinary names. Wondering then, how uncommon was this name in say, 1910? Just looking in the U. S. alone, on the 1910 Federal Census, the given name Pansy shows up 7,109 times. More popular than the name Poppy (only 28 Poppies in 1910) and more popular than the name Iris, which was surprising (6,219) and also surprising, much more popular than the name Dahlia (only 426). For perspective, the name Rose shows up 293,403 times. How about……Carnation? Yes, there were 14 Carnations on the 1910 census.

Source:  Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.