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).

Joe Selva in Army Uniform, Italy

Old photo, WWI Era, Italy.

Price:  $12.00            Size:  2 and 1/8 x 3 and 1/8″

Switching to a couple of random posts before we get to holiday cards….

A handsome young man, Joe Selva, in Italian army uniform, with his cappello alpino (alpine hat). Either Joe, or a family member, would have emigrated to the U. S., as this was found in an antique shop in Nevada. It appears to be from the WWI Era.

Source:  Cappello Alpino. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cappello_Alpino (accessed December 22, 2022).

Pair of Seminole Indian Linen Postcards

Divided Backs, Linens, unused postcards. Circa 1940s. Publisher (top card):  G. W. Romer. A “Colourpicture” Publication, Cambridge, Mass. Series 12176.  Publisher (bottom card):  “Tichnor Quality Views.” Tichnor Bros., Inc., Boston, Mass. Series 69514.

Price:  $7.00 for the pair

Description (top card):

“Musa Isle, Home of the Seminole Indian. N. W. 25th Ave. & 16th St. Miami, Fla.

“The Baby Is Too Sleepy to Be Interested – See the Seminole Indians in Their Own Village at Musa Isle.” 

Description (bottom card):

“The only ‘Indian Nation,’ that has not signed a Peace Treaty with the U. S. A., still carries on in primitive fashion, the tribal lure of its ancestors in the Everglades, Florida.”

So, I’ve been away way too long from posting articles (chalking it up to “life – oy vey” 😉 and also working on my own family tree – having found a diary, of all things, for mine and siblings, 2nd-great grandfather. Yes, you guys, they’re out there. Proof, if we needed it, to never give up the search. People donate things to museums, snippets of such events get picked up on the internet….and we, for unknown reasons, Google a name we haven’t researched for years, and get blown away by the unexpected results. So, before moving to holiday cards, we’ll briefly continue with this “alligator morphing into Seminole Indian theme,” with a couple of the numerous tourist postcards from the Seminole Nation back in the day. And, we couldn’t even begin to do justice, in a short blog article, to the history of the land and people, so we’ll settle for some bits and pieces, sparked by a few forays into old newspaper articles:

Musa Isle – a little background

Musa Isle was part of a small “inland island” called Marshall’s Key, located between the north and south forks of the Miami River and near the city’s limits (according to an article from 1914). The area, boasting exceptionally good soil, was procured by a number of farmers and fruit growers. All the farms and groves had their own names but the “Musa Isle” endeavor ended up becoming so well-known that, as a misnomer, the name was often applied to the whole Key. Very understandable, as that particular grove became a popular tourist attraction famous for its fruit. Fifty-four varieties were raised there, as well as different types of palm trees.

Origin of a name

It’s been reported, in a very lengthy article written in 1921 (see first source below) the author having learned from “local history,” that the name Musa Isle was coined around 1896-97 by Charles O. Richardson. (The name comes from Musaceae, the botanical name for banana.) He and his wife were theater performers of twenty years who were looking for a change. They moved to Florida and established their tropical fruit plantation. C. O.’s father, James Richardson, was already in Florida, possibly on the property, or having started in another locale, farming. But accounts vary, so we’d be safe to say James and C. O. Richardson were the principles involved. Later the property changed hands.

The penalties of progress

Jumping to a March of 1922 clip, Musa Isle Grove was giving over to “progress”. Below, from a larger article that appeared in The Miami Herald, March 19, 1922.

Next, the Seminoles – a brief (we’ve been pogo stick jumping) “landing” with regard to tourism

A Seminole named Willie Willie started leasing a section of Musa Isle in 1919.  Toward the end of 1921, he turned the operation into a tourist attraction. Below, an article from the Miami News, October 25, 1921 (click to enlarge):

Lastly (for now) a jump to our 2022 perspective…..

Wow. If you’ve read the full article, you’ve likely been horrified, same as me:  As a tourist, you could purchase a baby alligator to take home as a pet. (Horrified both for tourist and baby gator and also in going further – simultaneously flashing on what must have been many similar instances happening at that same time, all around the globe – not that we’ve completely, or indeed, seemingly at all, learned our lessons between then and now. You’ll note also the additional dose of historical perspective needed when reading the descriptions above of the “vicious alligators” and their “cruel teeth.”) And, if it needs mention, and I’m aware this is a very simplified statement on my part, (and this is probably just to lead into the song) the Seminoles had, enterprisingly, turned to tourism in its many forms, for their continued survival……For the Everglades, I always think of John Anderson’s hauntingly beautiful, Seminole Wind.)

Sources:   Page, C. Clinton. “Abandon Theatrical Stage to Come South and Raise Fruits and Vegetables.” The Miami Herald. November 18, 1921. Friday, p. 4. (Newspapers.com).

“Musa Isle Grove, Early Showplace on River, Finally Yields to Subdivision.” The Miami Herald. March 19, 1922. Sunday, p. 27. (Newspapers.com).

Bananas. https://www.google.com/search?gs_ssp=eJzj4tTP1TcwNK7INjNg9OLILS1OTE5NTAUAP5sGUw&q=musaceae&rlz=1C1OKWM_enUS1015US1015&oq=Musaceae&aqs=chrome.1.0i355i512j46i512j0i512l2j46i512j0i512l5.5404j0j15&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 (accessed December 19, 2022).

“Alligator Farm Will Be Tourist Attraction Soon.” The Miami News. October 25, 1921.Tuesday, p. 17 (Newspapers.com).

John Anderson Seminole Wind. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8sh9P3X33w (accessed December 19, 2022).

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, and then jumping back to this particular gator and this particular wrestler, and 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).

Mr. and Mrs. Biggs’ 60th Anniversary

Old photo, white border. Circa 1910s – 1920s.

Price:  $5.00            Size:  3 x 5″

“Mr. and Mrs. Biggs already to take a ride on their 60th Wedding Anniversary.”

The condition is poor, as you can plainly see, but what a great photo – an adventurous couple, in probably their late 70’s or early 80’s, ready to mark the occasion of their 60th wedding anniversary with a ride in a biplane.

Mrs. Levi Joshua Cheney, Dyesville, Ohio

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

Price:  $15.00

This is Charity (Chase) Cheney, born June 1868 in Ohio. The date estimate for the postcard is due to its being a Divided Back card and having an AZO stamp box, all four triangles pointing upward. This would make Charity around age 39 – 50 when the photo was taken, and it may have been a special occasion for her, per the flower corsage she’s wearing. This shot has captured some years of hardship, worry and grief in her expression. (It’s not an easy life we came here to live, is it?) But she’s still lovely in the long white dress (love the double row of buttons) and with the small puffed shoulders and her jewelry – the heart, the short necklace, and the other accessories – wide black belt, oblong box-style purse (I’m picturing alligator), and possibly a flower in her hair. It’s hard to tell on that one, even when darkening the image in Photoshop, it’s not definite.

Thank you to the person that identified person with place on the back. We appreciate them whoever they were. Dyesville is located in Columbia Township, Meigs County, Ohio.

Sources:  Year: 1880; Census Place: Columbia, Meigs, Ohio; Roll: 1047; Page: 36D; Enumeration District: 104. (Ancestry.com).

Lewis and Boyd and the Ford Coupe, Havre MT

Old photo, white border. Velox print. Fritz Studio, Havre, Montana. June 9, 1927.

Price:  $6.00

“Lewis & Boyd & the Ford Coupe he had two yrs. ago.”

No luck in determining Boyd’s surname and too many possibilities for Lewis. Still, a cool picture. And we’re presuming that is Boyd on our left (arm on window, foot on running board – that’s an ownership pose if ever we saw one, and is that a camera in his left hand?). Love Lewis’ position at this moment in time, too – the wide stance, hands in overalls, hat pushed back. All in all, a nice 1920’s-era shot of two guys and a car.

The Fritz Studio:  This was Frank Fritz (haha, no not Frankie from t.v.) and his studio in Havre was located at 217 3rd Avenue.

Frank was born in June 11, 1878 in St. Cloud, Minnesota, son of Andrew Fritz and Mary (Braun) Fritz. Though on his WWI Draft Registration Card he stated 1880 for year of birth, the 1880 Federal Census shows he was already two years old at that time and a short bio (to that point) for him appears in the History of Stearns County, Minnesota (1915) that also indicates 1878:

“Frank Fritz, St. Cloud photographer, was born in the city where he still resides, June 11, 1878, son of Andrew and Mary (Braun) Fritz. He attended school in St. Cloud, and afterward taught for awhile. For a time he was in partnership with his brother, John J., in the photograph business. For some years he has conducted a studio of his own and does some excellent work. He is a member of the Elks, the Knights of Columbus, and the Eagles.”

For more on the Fritz Family see the link above.

Later in 1915, Frank sold his studio in St. Cloud to Louis W. Olsen.

We couldn’t find city directories online to narrow down a date, but Fritz must have relocated to Havre in the latter part of 1915 or early 1916. The article below from The Havre Daily News in 1926, indicates he’d been in a particular location in that city since 1918:

On September 28, 1923, Frank married Maude H. Phifer, in Billings, Montana. He passed away in 1932.

Sources:  R. L. Polk & Co.’s Havre City Directory, 1929-’30. p. 55. Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995.

Year: 1880; Census Place: Saint Cloud, Stearns, Minnesota; Roll: 634; Page: 441D; Enumeration District: 113 (Ancestry.com).

Mitchell, William Bell. History of Stearns County, Minnesota, 1915. Volume 1, pp. 697 – 698. (books.google.com).

Bulletin of Photography. P. 154. Publisher Frank V. Chambers, Philadelphia PA. Vol. 17. July 7 – December 29, 1915. (books.google.com).

Montana State Historical Society; Helena, Montana; Montana, County Marriages, 1865-1950. (Ancestry.com).

“Fritz Studio And Electric Shop Move Into New Building, Formal Openings Scheduled For Monday.”  The Havre Daily News, October 3, 1926. Sunday, p. 1. (Newspapers.com).

Find a Grave. Find a Grave. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi.

A Simoan Tribute

Vintage photo, white border, circa mid 1930s – mid-1950s.

Price:  $12.00            Size:  3 and 11/16 x 2 and 1/2″

The car…..

We look to the car in this photo for a jumping off point for approximate date. I was struck by the unusual-looking hubcaps and asked the hubby who stated the hubcap is the round center part, the rest is rim, maybe a 3-piece rim and they look painted, and it’s probably a Ford…..I was then checking Ford convertibles with rumble seats (you see it sticking up in the back minus the padding) but getting frustrated for pinpointing the year. No prob though, whenever I get stuck I go to the Antique Automobile Club of America forum readers for help. (Great people, lightning-quick, detailed responses, awesome!) And yes, it’s a Ford, likely with painted rims. Here is one of the responses below:

“Definitely a Model A Ford roadster – you can see the corner of the windshield behind the guy’s left shoulder.  The shape of the fenders and the bead on the hood above the louvers makes it a 1930 or 31.  However, the headlights might be 28 – 29 as they look a little pointy on the back.  30 – 31 are rounded.  It might be a DeLuxe as rumble seat was standard on those, although it was optional on Standards.  The back cushion is easily removed and yes, it’s missing.  The artillery wheels are similar to 36 – 39 Ford but I think they’re aftermarket.  They probably are composed of separate parts but welded and/or riveted into one piece (not counting the removable hubcap).  Yes, they probably were painted and the contrasting painted trim on the spokes was common on those style wheels.”

Gannon……

The dark-haired young man, about age 25 we’ll guess, is wearing a grass skirt (!) and posing for the camera. At first glance it kind of looks like the entire “Samoa” banner is part of his outfit and he unfolded it like a cape (or unfurled his “wings”  – gotta give credit to a different forum commenter for the wings idea – love it! Credit also due to another person for wondering if, what I’m calling a banner, could be part of a “traditional ceremonial dance costume”. Good thought.) But anyway, I think the banner was attached at each end to the car…..Presumably, either the guy’s given or surname is Gannon, since this is written on the back. (Yes, Gannon does show up in some records as a first name.) And there’s too many possibilities to try to pinpoint Gannon, or at least not without days of research, but maybe he was born around 1925, entered the Navy and traveled the Pacific, stopping in Samoa. (Just a theory.) And, though this photo could be from maybe the mid-’30s, due to its aftermarket parts, my first thought is that it was mid-’40’s to mid-’50’s for when this snap was taken.

Lastly, and if you’ve stuck with me for this long 😉 ……

In the background we see a couple of small boats perched on land, a telephone pole, a wooden fence, and on our left, maybe a couple of other boats further in the distance. We note that car and man are on a cobblestone surface. Last but not least, we see the two other people “appearing” in this shot – one was the person taking the picture. They were there, but we only see their shadows. (I love this type of thing – the contribution to the image via the shadows.)

Source:  “Help to i.d. a convertible with rumble seat.” Posted in “What is it?” Response by CHuDWah posted October 7, 2023. forums.aaca.org.

Hotel Turpin Autobus, San Francisco

Divided Back, used postcard. Postmarked July 23, 1916 from San Francisco, California. Stamp removed. Publisher:  Edward H. Mitchell. 

Price:  $12.00

Auto Bus meets trains and Steamers. Hotel Turpin Auto Bus. 17 Powell St. at Market, San Francisco, Cal. F. L. Turpin. A. W. Turpin.

This postcard was likely produced from a newspaper or magazine photo. Interesting that there are no women in this picture. Wonder what type of event it might have been? You have your businessmen on the left and some of the staff next to them; all the passengers and the driver of the bus are men, and then there’s the guy standing behind the bus. Note the suitcases on the running board. There’s a Touring Club of America sign on the hotel awning. And apparently there was a pool. The business next door was Kingsbury & Unger, (G. Kingsbury and F. Unger) a liquor store at 21 Powell St.

Addressed to:   “Mrs. Bell Brown, 1415 26th st, Bakersfield, Calif.”

The sender, Bell’s sibling, wrote:

“San Francisco, Calif. July 23rd – 1916. Dear Sister. I were in Stockton Friday. The land lady said she sent mail to the place I wrote to you from so I am going there tonight & will write from there.   M – “

Curiously, nothing definitive comes up in records when trying to find Bell (Belle). Nothing under Brown at this address in city directories. Maybe they were only there temporarily.

From the 1920 Federal Census for San Francisco, Edward H. Mitchell, postcard publisher, was born about 1869 in California, married to Idelle and they have three daughters, Gertrude, Bernice and Marion.

Sources:  H. S. Crocker Co.’s, San Francisco Directory, 1912, p. 963. Google book search.

Year: 1920; Census Place: San Francisco Assembly District 28, San Francisco, California; Roll: T625_140; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 278. (Ancestry.com).

Miss Ada Clarice Atkins

Old photo. Root Photography Studio, Chicago, Illinois. Circa 1907 – 1915.

Price:  $30.00              Size:  4 and 9/16 x 6 and 3/8″

A portrait in profile of a beautiful young woman. Note the intricate hairstyle, the lace dress with small decorative bows and the pearl-like choker necklace. Estimating that she was around age 19 to 27 in this photo.

On the reverse, a will of sorts……

“Ada Clarice Atkins born Kansas City, Missouri [photo by Root, Chicago]. Henry J. Atkins wills to the above named daughter all real estate free from any indeptedness. And personal property; of every description in his posession, with no incumbrance:  free from any claim, all real estate is held in joint tenacy or arranged for same. As also joint savings account in bank.   H. J. Atkins, Jan 23rd 1943. 1253 West 37th drive, Los Angeles, Califa.”

Would the above have held up in court since there is no witness signature? I’m not sure what the law in California was in 1943. And it’s unusual to find this type of paragraph on the back of a photo. Interestingly, (and thankfully) Henry J. Atkins lived well past 1943, passing away in 1959, at the age of 94.

Ada was born in November of 1888, the daughter of Henry Atkins and Louise M. Bleitz. (Date of birth is from Find A Grave, though the place of birth listed there for Ada is Illinois, which has to be is incorrect, since all of Ada’s census records indicate Missouri, and of course, the info on the back of the photo, written by her father, states Kansas City, Missouri.) Ada never married and lived at the family home of her parents. She was an accomplished vocalist as evidenced in the following article appearing in the Los Angeles Evening Express:

The difference between a coloratura and a soprano, from the Study.com website, is as follows:

“A soprano is a singer with a high vocal range, but does not necessarily possess the ability to sing fast notes and passages with agility and ease. A coloratura soprano is a specific type of voice that contains the skills and virtuosity to sing difficult, rapid runs, trills, and arpeggios with great vocal dexterity.”

Root photographers or Root Studio – The photographer may have been William J. Root, who was prominent in Chicago. See pages 693-4 on W. J. Root appearing in an 1894 publication about Industrial Chicago.

Sources:  Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/10849154/ada-clarisse-atkins: accessed 03 October 2022), memorial page for Ada Clarisse Atkins (9 Nov 1888–7 May 1974), Find a Grave Memorial ID 10849154, citing Angelus Rosedale Cemetery, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA; Maintained by GerbLady (contributor 46637511) .

Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/10849191/louise-m-atkins: accessed 03 October 2022), memorial page for Louise M. Bleitz Atkins (5 Mar 1865–23 Jan 1943), Find a Grave Memorial ID 10849191, citing Inglewood Park Cemetery, Inglewood, Los Angeles County, California, USA; Maintained by GerbLady (contributor 46637511).

“Caruso Airs at Lincoln Park.”  Los Angeles Evening Express. August 6, 1921. Saturday, p. 2. (Newspapers.com).

Klein, Julianne. “Coloratura Soprano.” April 13, 2022. https://study.com/learn/lesson/coloratura-soprano-arias-technique.html (accessed October 3, 2022).

Industrial Chicago, Vol. 5. The Commercial Interests. (1894) “W. J. Root.” Chicago:  The Goodspeed Publishing Co. (Google Book search).