Boyd Roland Gibbs, 4th Field Artillery, Battery B

Real Photo Postcard, unused. Circa 1916 – 1919. Arax Photo Studios. AZO stamp box.

Price:  $15.00

“Mr. Boyd Roland Gibbs. 4th Field Artillery. Battery B. Atlanta, Georgia.”

Hey, well I fibbed 😉 evidently in the last post. Thought I had no military, but found this one. And a great one it is. Full name, artillery and location on the back for this handsome guy in WWI army uniform. Someone’s current great or great-great uncle today. Boyd Gibbs was born in South Carolina in 1898, son of James Patrick Gibbs and Leila Ida (Prince) Gibbs. U.S. Army transport records 1918 – 1919 list Boyd’s rank as wagoner.

Sources:  Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 27 May 2019), memorial page for Boyd Roland Gibbs (May 1898–13 Nov 1940), Find A Grave Memorial no. 143151272, citing First Baptist Church of North Spartanburg Cemetery, Spartanburg, Spartanburg County, South Carolina, USA ; Maintained by Margaret (contributor 46516145).

The National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland; Record Group Title: Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774-1985; Record Group Number: 92; Roll or Box Number: 440. (Ancestry.com).

“The Duties of the U.S. Army Wagoner.” (http://freepages.rootsweb.com/~gregkrenzelok/genealogy/veterinary%20corp%20in%20ww1/wagonerduties.html) Accessed May 27, 2019.

Woman In Sailor Dress

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

Price:  $2.00           Size:   2 and 1/2 x 4 and 1/4″

Well, we were looking for military-related items for Memorial Day but have none at the moment. This will be the closest, a young woman in a sailor dress. Was this just fashion or could she have actually been in the navy? We suspect the former, but maybe someone out there can fill us in. Notice the water pump in the background. There is no writing on the back and no indication of where this might have been taken. Just one of millions of loose photos that were a part of someone’s family collection and ended up in a random box. Sad, but it’s nice to rescue these type, and bring them back to life. I like the woman’s gracefulness and her pose in profile. (And isn’t it funny how we tend to romanticize these moments, frozen in time. In reality, what would the woman say about this snapshot? Oh, that was me when……I was just…..)

An Easter Of Sunshine

Divided back, lightly embossed, unused postcard. Made in the U.S.A. Series or number 556. Circa 1919 – 1920.

Price:  $8.00

From a bygone (but not forgotten) era……a young couple all decked out in their Easter Sunday finery stroll along a bright cobblestone path. In the distance is perhaps a church. Note how the buildings are elongated. We’ve seen this style before in May Your Christmas Be Merry, but the artist or artists are unknown. The stamp box for this postcard is printed as “Postage NOW one cent” and is the key to the card’s approximate date. The price for mailing a postcard in the U.S. went from 2¢ back to 1¢ as of July 1, 1919. It was changed to 2¢ again in 1925 and returned to 1¢ in 1928, so there is the possibility that this card could be from 1928 but we’re guessing the earlier change date applies. For the USPS list of changes for postcard stamp rates see Rates for Stamped Cards and Postcards. 

But, in any case…..

A Glad Easter To You

“An Easter of sunshine

Of skies that are blue

And and Easter of Gladness

I’m wishing for you.”

To Bobby From Aunt Lorilee

Divided back, used postcard. Postmarked July 21, 1951, Interlaken, Switzerland. Publisher:  Photoglob-Wehrli A. G., Zurich. Number or series z 2525.

Price:  $6.00

Berner Bueb

“07/21/51     Hi Bobby! You should have been with us today when we had lunch on the Jungfrau, one of the highest mountains in Europe. You would have loved to play in the snow in the summertime! Have fun! Love, Aunt Lorilee.”

Addressed to:   “Master Bobby Burkhardt, 10629 Garden Way, Spring Valley, California, U.S.A.”

The Jungfrau is in the Bernese Alps in Switzerland. The postcard caption “Berner Bueb” might be translated as Bernese boy. You can find numerous Swiss postcards with “Berner Bueb” and “Berner Bueb und Meitschi” (Bernese boy and girl, we’re guessing.) This postcard appears to be an artist-signed card per the front lower left corner which shows “Blank.” Checking in Ancestry.com Blank shows as a German and Swiss surname. According to another postcard site, this card was produced at least as early as 1946.

Sources:  Jungfrau. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jungfrau (accessed April 20, 2019).

“Ziege Kuenstlerkarte Blank Berner Bueb Kat. Tiere.” https://oldthing.de/Ziege-Kuenstlerkarte-Blank-Berner-Bueb-Kat-Tiere-0024001456. (accessed April 20, 2019).

Mrs. Alvidsen At 11,660 Feet

Real Photo Postcard, circa 1900 – 1910

Price:  $15.00         Size:  3 and 3/16 x 5 and 3/8″

Somewhere on the planet, at 11,660 feet…..

The location for this one is a mystery. The writing on the back is  “Mrs. Avildsen at [?] 11660 feet El.”  Looks to me like that word there starts with a “C.” After some research, the best possibility found is that of Monte Cervino, aka the Matterhorn, so maybe from the Italian side of the mountain at 11,600 feet which is about 3,535 meters. That’s an ice field behind our smiling subject. Is she holding flowers?

Postcard publisher unknown, so far

The postcard publisher or printer is another mystery. I’m not seeing this particular style of Real Photo Postcard back on any other site or in Walter Corson’s Publisher’s Trademarks Identified. Also, the size is a little smaller that the average RPPC (and the bottom doesn’t seem to have been cropped). If the card was produced in the U.S. the postal regulations didn’t allow for the divided back until December 1907, though it could still be earlier if printed from another country.

Climbing the Alps in the Victorian Era

Eleven hundred plus feet is quite high, higher than the highest city in the U.S., which is that of Leadville, Colorado (elevation 10,152 feet or 3,094 meters, nicknames The Two-Mile-High City and Cloud City). And, if this was Mount Cervino, there would not have been an inn at that elevation. So, it’s not as if our lady mountaineer walked out of her hotel and up a slope and posed for the picture. Newspaper articles are numerous on early climbing, and mention employing guides and going part way by pack-mules or horses. In searching Newspapers.com for Mount Cervino, and getting a little side-tracked from women climbers, I came across a wonderful article about a guy, in need of guide, as on that particular day there was a shortage, and so the man hired someone who turned out to be a smuggler. (Imagine the endless possibilities of caching goods in the mountains). Here are four excerpts from “A Strange Guide,” clipped from The Ogden Standard (Ogden, UT) and translated from Italian.  (Not sure where Fiery was but here’s a link for Valtournenche, Italy.)

The smuggler/guide was saying he can’t afford to lose time. He asks the “guide-ee” for help searching for the missing relative, and it’s gladly given. I’m sorry to say that the story does not have a happy ending. The missing relative had stopped to rest in the heavy fog and “fallen asleep” in the cold never to awaken. The two searchers discovered that the man’s body had just been brought in that evening when they got back to the inn at Fiery. And we don’t usually put up the sad stuff here on LCG, but the article was touching – the way that the “guide-ee” changes his first negative impression of the guide, becoming, one would think, forever bonded with him through the shared experience of searching for that lost loved one.

Below, from another beautifully written account, this one from 1880, three excerpts clipped from The Standard (London, England) entitled, “Gossip From The Alps (From A Climbing Correspondent.)”  By coincidence, both articles are from newspapers called the Standard, one in Utah and the other London, UK. And, it always floors me, hitting upon a hitherto unknown subject, like for me the history of mountaineering, that very first glimpse into what would be an enormous vista of knowledge, that others have already been “living in”, so to speak, like in a living landscape of knowledge…..feels like coming to a party way late and getting a smidgen of a glimpse of everything you’ve been missing.

Gossip from the Alps, September 1880

And on the subject of women climbers!

Well, that’s enough historical articles for now, as this post has really gotten long, though of course, the Alvidsen name was searched for but nothing came up in newspapers, so we’ll just include links to a couple of excellent web articles on the history of women in mountaineering, for some great photos and insight. Just imagine climbing in a long skirt like the one Mrs. Alvildsen is wearing, and then that hat, at eleven and a half thousand feet, seemingly so incongruous from our 2019 vantage point. (Though a hat with a wide brim would have been a very good thing in the high altitude sun.) And how about the rest of what the early women climbers were up against, not just the clothing challenge, but in general, going against (or around) society’s code, to pursue their passion…..I especially love the part about Lucy Walker ditching her petticoat and stashing it behind a rock!

One of the First Female Alpinists Was A Victorian Lady

For the Lady Mountaineer

Sources:  Leadville, Colorado. n.d. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leadville,_Colorado (accessed April 7, 2019).

Valtournenche. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valtournenche (accessed April 7, 2019).

“A Strange Guide.”  The Ogden Standard (Ogden, UT). April 2, 1892. Saturday, p. 3. Translated by Antonio Meli from the Italian by G. Giacosa for Boston Transcript. (Newspapers.com).

“Gossip From The Alps (From A Climbing Correspondent.)” The Standard (London, England). September 24, 1880. Friday, p. 2. (Newspapers.com).

Siber, Kate. “One of the First Female Alpinists Was A Victorian Lady.” outsideonline.com. July 31, 2018. (accessed April 7, 2019).

“For the Lady Mountaineer.” americanalpineclub.org. March 1, 2018. (accessed April 7, 2019).

Albert Mayer And Tobias Branger Storefronts, Davos, Switzerland

Carte-de-visite. Circa 1890s. Davos, Switzerland.

Price:  $45.00          Size:  4 and 1/16 x 2 and 7/16″

Circa 1890’s, Davos, Switzerland….

Here’s a carte-de-visite found at an antique shop on the Central Coast of California. And, it’s always a thrill to get a photo scanned to the computer (mentally rubbing hands together in anticipation of being hit with the wow factor, or the “hmmmmm factor”, which is just as good, or better, the intrigue, you know….which can then lead us to the wow factor. 😉 ) But, it can’t be stretching the point to say that each item anyone finds (or has, or looks at, or whatever) whether it’s a postcard, a photo, a trade card, a calling card, or some other enchanting piece of ephemera, likewise a piece of furniture, jewelry, etc., is like a key just waiting to open, or re-open, multiple doorways. Come to think about it everything has a history, even a scrap of paper lying on the ground outside….The contemplation of the history of everything is mind-blowing, which leads one to thinking about the inter-connectedness of everything and everyone, no doorways now, just like a billion times a billion, or better, infinity times infinity of criss-crossed links, well….really just oneness. (Is this how enlightenment happens for some, the contemplation of a piece of dust or a scrap of paper?)

Alpine air and wonderful shops

Davos, Switzerland, circa 1890s:  A street scene showing the Centralhof, (Central court) which is the tall building, (guessing this might have been an apartment building or hotel) and attached to the Centralhof a line of single-story shops; of these, the two store names that we can discern are, on the left, Albert Mayer Juwelier (Jewelry store) and on the right Tob. Branger. Click the image to enlarge and note at the top of the Branger window, there’s a phrase of some sort, the second word appears to be Voyage. The first word appears to start with an “A” so, maybe it was the poetic, l’Art du Voyage:  It turns out that Tobias (pronounced TOE-be-us) Branger and brother Johannes owned a shop specializing in, “…sporting equipment and ‘travelling utensils.’ ” 

All who wander…..

A little research explodes into lots of (snow-covered) paths to wander down…..Wow! Tobias Branger, thought to be the first professional ski instructor in the Alps…..he and brother Johannes teaching author Arthur Conan Doyle to ski….the history of Alpine skiing…..Doyle’s contribution to Davos as a winter sports destination….Davos’ history as a health resort for tuberculosis sufferers….the life of Louisa Doyle, Conan’s first wife…..Tobias’ “Norwegian snowshoes” (were they in the shop window at the time of the carte-de-visite photo?)….Alpine skiing with one pole….night skiing to avoid ridicule (I’m picturing the Brangers and other pioneers hanging out with today’s winter X sports pioneers and contributors – kindred spirits, for sure.) Wonderful articles online abound – see the links further below. And a question:  Is that Tobias and Johannes Branger posing outside their shop in the photo? A definite maybe. And though Tobias Branger and Conan Doyle are said to have looked remarkably alike, of the two, it would seem to be Tobias (on our left) in the image. See the comparison photos in In the Tracks of Sherlock Holmes, first link below.

Location confirmation

Backtracking a little, not being certain, at first, that the scene on our card was really Davos, we found mention of jeweler Albert Mayer, in the Dutch publication shown below, which is a guide for the treatment center for lung ailments and a travel guide. Description of some of the shops lists Mayer’s as having “the finest gold works, watches and rings,” and just to mention a couple more, a store selling Swiss wood carvings and (one can picture how the author of this booklet was charmed at finding) a flower shop with [Google translation from Dutch]  “the most robust little bouquets, even in winter when the trampled snow outside the shops is at least two feet high.”

In the Tracks of Sherlock Holmes

Davos –  the pioneer:  Winter tourism in the Alps

The Davos sledge:  A classic among sports equipment

Two Planks and a Passion

Teller of Tales:  The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle

More musings on the carte details….

Was there some occasion for this photograph, or was it just the occasion of a photographer taking a photo circa 1890s? Note the three people on the second story outdoor courtyard area of the Centralhof building, two ladies on the left and a man on the right. (This from inspection under a magnifying glass – feeling a little Sherlock Holmes-y, for sure….) Other details to note are the duffel-looking bags (maybe mail bags) in front of both Albert Mayer’s and the Brangers’ shop; the poster advertisement – a mustachioed man with epaulets pointing in the distance and young woman just below him, it’s maybe a company name advertised there (almost readable) ; the iron balconies of the Centralhof building; the beautiful horizontal stripe effect of the mason work on the shop fronts….

Sources:  Stashower, Daniel. Teller of Tales: The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle. Henry Holt & Co., 1999. Google Books accessed March 31, 2013.

Davos – the pioneer:  Winter tourism in the Alps. (www.davos.ch.) Accessed March 31, 2019.

The Davos sledge:  A classic among sports equipment. (www.davos.ch.) Accessed March 31, 2019.

Louisa Hawkins. The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia. (www.arthur-conan-doyle.com) Accessed March 31, 2019.

Huntford, Roland. Two Planks and a Passion: The Dramatic History of Skiing. Continuum UK, 2008. Google Books accessed March 31, 2013.

Rosenblatt, Albert and Julia. “In the Tracks of Sherlock Holmes.”  Skiing. February 1982. pp. 74-78. Google Books accessed March 31, 2013.

Andriessen, Willem Frederik. Davos: eene beschrijving van het leven in dit herstellingsoord voor borstlijders. Van Raven, 1888. p. 56. Google Books accessed March 31, 2013.

For Nora From Jessie

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard. Unused, circa 1910s.

Price:  $4.00

“Dear Nora. This was taken when I was at home. They aren’t very good but will send them any way, what did you do with you Kodack, don’t you take any more. Jessie”

Sounds like Jessie had more postcards or photos that she had sent to Nora, and funny, but oftentimes we see the sender leaving off question marks in their message. In this case, Nora was asking what Jessie had done with her Kodak camera, isn’t she taking any more photos? No last name or location for this image, but it’s so charming. Wintertime or maybe early spring on the farm:  Posing for the shot, three beautiful children, and a handsome young man, (who looks to be about sixteen, I thought, but click to enlarge, and you’ll notice it looks like he wears a wedding ring.)  I love it when everyone in a photo is looking in different directions.

Feat Of The 20th Century

Divided back, used Real Photo Postcard. Velox stamp box. 1909.

Price:  $12.00

A young gentleman in a suit jacket, button down sweater and derby hat displays his sense of humor. The letters “L” and “S” on the soles of his shoes are maybe his initials, and the 09 is likely for the year 1909. And it’s the way the shot was taken that makes his shoes appear so large. This would be a great card to include in a book on humor in postcards or something similar, especially because it was “homemade” so to speak. That is, an original idea, produced with instructions for the printing company. The blacked-out part was probably to cover the rest of the photo, which whatever it showed, must have detracted from the overall effect; if you click to enlarge you can see a little bit of the brown background at the bottom of the heavy black stripe in a couple of places.

U. S. Army Man, WWII

Photo, white border, WWII.

Price:  $5.00           Size:  About 5 x 3 and 1/4″

No i.d. on the back for this U. S. army man during WWII, who was enjoying a bottle of soda pop when he posed for the picture. The snapshot was found loose in a bin full of others, at an antique mall. And we’re assuming he was army due to the stamp on the back of the photo which shows:   “Passed for publication, U. S. Army press censor 62801, U. S. E. C.”  Maybe one of our readers can give us more information. Do the initials U. S. E. C. stand for United States East Coast and is the number 62801 the censor’s i.d. number?

Source:  “What does USEC stand for?” https://www.acronymfinder.com/United-States-East-Coast-(USEC).html. (accessed November 12, 2018).

U. S. Navy Man And Bride

Photo, white border. Circa 1940s – 1950s.

Price:  $3.00        Size:  2 and 13/16 x 1 and 15/16″

A beautiful couple, no i.d. on the back, posing on their wedding day in front of an automobile, which we can’t see too much of. The era is WWII or possibly the 1950s.