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).

Going A’ Milking in Corning, California

Divided back postcard. Postmarked August 17, 1909 from Corning, California. United Art Publishing Co., New York, New York. Printed in Germany.

Price:  $12.00

A happy couple, the man carrying his wife on his shoulder, crossing a stream to get to their cows.

The sender wrote:   “Dear B. J:-   Geo. has gone back to Mexico[?] and my good times are [?] for a while. Jim expects to come up this month some time but don’t know whether there will be any thing to go to or not. Aunt L – is in the City which I presume you know – Aunt M. is not feeling well but think we can manage until Aunt L – returns. Love to all – Joe.”

Ah, 1909, where did you go? This was back in the day when we used the dash after the colon for punctuation (  :-  ) instead of just either/or. (It was the norm; I’m not sure when it changed.) And maybe it’s just me, but I feel like it’s also back in the day when the physique on the husband (in this postcard design) didn’t have to be perfect – just whatever, normal. (Is it just me?) Anyway, a pretty typical postcard for the sender’s remarks – reports of the comings and goings, the social scene expectations, and who is not feeling tip top. George, we imagine, has gone back to do some more mining in Mexico. (Totally my imagination, of course, but I’ve seen this before.) Joe probably works a farm, Auntie L and M are doing the housework. A good life (we hope) in Corning, California.

Addressed to:   “Miss Ethel Chittenden, Box 127 R. F. D. #1, Los Angeles, Cal.”

Ethel M. Chittenden, was born in California in 1887, daughter of Albert Hawley Chittenden and Mary Lucelia (Atwell) Chittenden. A mention in The Corning Daily Observer, dated September 9, 1909, coincides with the postcard’s address:

She married Normal H. Schammell in September of 1910.

Sources:  Corning, California. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corning,_California (accessed May 16, 2024).

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

The Corning Daily Observer, (Corning, California). September 9, 1909, Thursday, p. 8. (Newspapers.com).

The Corning Daily Observer, (Corning, California). September 29, 1910, Thursday, p. 1. (Newspapers.com).

Norwich CT Roller Skating Rink Trade Card

Trade Card, Norwich, Connecticut, 1877.

Price:  $50.00           Size:  About 2 and 5/8 x 4″

On the front, by an unknown artist, an illustration based on the popular fictional story of Paul and Virginia (Paul et Virginie), by author Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, published in 1838, which takes place on the tropical island of Mauritius.

On the reverse:   “Norwich Roller Skating Rink, Burdick’s Hall. Grand Skating Exhibition, Friday Evening, March 2nd, by Miss Minnie Claflin, of Worcester, Mass. Music by Tubbs’ Brass Band. Admission, 20 Cts. Skates, 10 Cts. Exhibition at 9 o’clock. C. A. Dunn, Manager.”

Roller skater, Minnie E. Claflin, was born October 1864 in E. Greenwich, Connecticut, and was the daughter of George H. Claflin and Hannah (Hill) Claflin. She married Waldo S. Babcock on October 19, 1882. Minnie died at age 35 of tuberculosis. (So sad to hear). But as a skater, she’s mentioned in an article appearing in The Boston Globe, dated August 2, 1882. Here’s a portion of the article:

Minnie’s marriage date, along with the calendars for the years when March 2nd fell on a Friday, date this card back to year 1877. (The next time March 2nd fell on a Friday was 1883, when Minnie was no longer a Miss.) And it seems to be a rare trade card – no others have been found online for this Norwich, CT skating rink.

Burdick’s Hall – According to some pages from an old document, “Norwich Skating Rink Archive Indentures,” viewable online at Antiques Atlas, this building was actually St. Giles Hall, built 1870 – 1873, designed by the architectural firm Burdick & Arnold. In 1876, the structure and premises were sold to a Mr. Warner Wright who then developed the location into an indoor roller skating and outdoor ice skating rink, under the company name, The Norwich Skating Rink Co., Ltd. So, our trade card indicates the hall was, at least for a time, known locally as Burdick’s Hall (after local architect, Evan Burdick). How nice that the building is still in use today as Norwich City Hall and is on the National Register of Historic Places:

Tubbs’ Brass Band – Charles W. Tubbs, obituary below, was a well-known and respected musician and the band leader for Tubbs’ Brass Band for many years. From the Norwich Bulletin, August 30, 1912:

Last, but not least, C. A. Dunn, listed as manager at the bottom of our trade card, was possibly Charles A. Dunn, who shows up in Norwich city directories for 1881 – 1883 as a clerk, working at the Union Square Hotel.

Sources:  Paul and Virginia. Library of Congress. (https://www.loc.gov/item/2021666976/).

New England Historic Genealogical Society; Boston, Massachusetts; Massachusetts Vital Records, 1840???1911. (Ancestry.com).

Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988.

“Children’s Reception.” The Boston Globe, August 2, 1882. Wednesday, p. 4. (Newspapers.com).

“Norwich Skating Rink Archive Indentures.” Antiques Atlas. (https://www.antiques-atlas.com/antique/norwich_skating_rink_archive_indentures_a370/as167a370). Accessed April 16, 2024.

Norwich City Hall (Connecticut). n.d. Wikipedia. (Accessed April 16, 2024).

“Obituary. Charles W. Tubbs.” Norwich Bulletin, August 30, 1912. Friday, p. 7. (Newspapers.com).

“Evan Burdick”. Year: 1870; Census Place: Norwich, New London, Connecticut; Roll: M593_114; Page: 460A. (Ancestry.com).

Stedman’s Directory, Norwich 1881. Vol. 21, p. 70. Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995.

Stedman’s Directory, Norwich 1881. Vol. 23, p. 74. Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995.

Katheryn Earhart, Elizabeth’s Best Friend

Old photo, circa 1920s – 1930s.

Price:  $15.00             Size:  3 and 3/4 x 5 and 13/16″

Semi-profile portrait of a smiling young woman in hat and dark-colored satin or silk blouse, identified on the back as Katheryn Earhart, Elizabeth’s best friend:

Katheryn has a love of hats, I think. This one is wide-brimmed and was accessorized by wrapping the crown in a scarf with braid applique – a dramatic effect – the dark braid on light-colored fabric.

A match in records for Katheryn was not found online, and we wouldn’t know for sure whether her first name is spelled correctly in the i.d. on the back, so that makes it a bit more difficult. (The hope was to find the name match and check the census records for a neighbor named Elizabeth.)

The big question for me – is this young lady an older version of our Girl in Hat from a prior post? The two photos were found at separate times. (Unfortunately, I’ve never kept a list of where each item was found. Not very far-thinking but, there you have it, though I used to remember them all when I first started this venture.) But I’ve definitely found additional photos for people at separate times in the past, so it wouldn’t be surprising.

As you can see in the link for the younger girl, she wears quite an unusual head covering, and in the photo above – this one’s a bit different, as well – put together by someone fashion-conscious, that seems pretty evident. A love of style, a love of hats. Comparing the features for the girls and allowing for their ages and the light exposure in each, they may well be the same person. (The prior post’s photo has more light exposure which could account for the eye color difference.)

Marie, Lucy and Willa Miller, Bonaparte, Iowa

Old photo on cardboard frame, circa 1899 – 1900. Photographer:  Fahr’s Art Studio, Bonaparte, Iowa.

Price:  $30.00            Size including frame:  6 and 1/2 x 4 and 1/4″

The back contains writing in pencil and print in pen – showing two different name orders for this beautiful trio of young ladies. But we can see that the oldest child is on our right, and the “baby” is in the middle (picture the photographer’s thought process). And, in looking at the 1900 Federal Census, along with the birth records for two of the girls, we can confirm that left to right, these are:  “Marie, Lucy and Willia.” They are the daughters of Robert Hayes Miller and Bess (Cleave) Miller.

Willia Hayes Miller, or Willa Hayes Miller, as she’s named on a delayed birth certificate, was born December 24, 1892 in Bonaparte, Iowa.

Marie Margaret Miller was born January 5, 1895, in Iowa (likely Bonaparte). She was the second oldest of the girls, per their ages on 1900 Federal Census. (The exact date was found in the SSN Index record.)

The youngest daughter, Lucy Belle Miller was born December 11, 1897, Bonaparte, Iowa.

The girls had two younger brothers, twins, Rex Logan Miller and Roger Cleave Miller, born March 22, 1902.

Sources:  State Historical Society of Iowa; Des Moines, Iowa; Title: Iowa Birth Records, 1888-1904. (Ancestry.com).

Ancestry.com. Iowa, U.S., Births and Christenings Index, 1800-1999 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

SSN Death Index, 1935 – 2014. Issue State: District of Columbia; Issue Date: Before 1951.

Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/63840321/robert_hayes-miller: accessed April 9, 2024), memorial page for Robert Hayes Miller (28 Dec 1866–5 Nov 1919), Find a Grave Memorial ID 63840321, citing Vale Cemetery, Bonaparte, Van Buren County, Iowa, USA; Maintained by Jane Cockayne Weaver (contributor 48493052). (Note that some of the information for this family on Find A Grave is incorrect).

National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; Wwii Draft Registration Cards For Iowa, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 341. (Ancestry.com).

To Aunt Cornelia

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard. Unused, dated July 24, 1913. NOKO stamp box.

Price:  $10.00

A couple in a farming community somewhere in the U. S. pose in front of what may be their home. (Note the lace curtain in the window on our right.) But if this is not their residence it could have been a public meeting house for church services. (The woman is holding a small book, perhaps a prayer book). But the main reason that we might think “church” are the two side-by-side doors on the front of this structure:  It was not uncommon for church services to be segregated, having two separate entrances for men and women. However, old homes also, for many varied reasons, sometimes were built with this two-door design. (See the link below.) Also, notable about the building is that it sits up on blocks.

As for the young couple, (hard-working farmers we imagine, perhaps newly wed) we remark on the fact that the man wears overalls over his shirt and tie. (Are we back to the church theory or is he just dressed up a bit for the photo?) Either way, its pretty charming and adds to the uniqueness of this photo postcard.

Sources:  Kibbel, III, William. “Two Front Doors.” (oldhouseweb.com). Accessed April 2, 2024.

Hand-drawn Caricatures of Ladies in Hats

Small hand-drawn cards. Circa 1910’s – 1920’s. Artist unknown.

Price for the set:  $15.00           Size:  each about 2 x 3 and 7/16″

For your amusement, a cute and comical set of caricatures of ladies in hats. This set of cards was found in an antique store on the Central Coast of California. And, I think I’ve said it before on this website, but hats were limited only by the imagination, all designs were acceptable!

A Happy Easter To Maybell Morgan

Divided back, embossed, unused postcard. Publisher:  Whitney Made, Worcester, Massachusetts. Made in U.S.A.

Price:  $4.00

Easter, 1927

A Happy Easter

“Songs and flowers and skies of blue

They all come with Easter and

my wish comes too

For Easter gladness”

A cute card to Maybell Morgan from Rosemary:  Three rosy-cheeked children, (their look may remind you of illustrations from England) and an adorable quacking duck, are on a hilltop with daffodils. Appearing from the other side of the hill is a cozy cottage and the silhouette of some trees.

Fred J. Summer, Insurance Man

Old photo, white border, circa 1915 – 1920.

Price:  $20.00               Size:  About 2 and 1/4 x 3 and 1/8″

“Photo. F. Summer. Queen Ins. p. 89”

“On The Way To Town”   

“Fred J. Summer”           

Sporting a cigar and bow tie, a young man with a gregarious smile, (a people person is a good fit for the insurance business) takes a break to pose for this picture.

Biographical data

According to his WWII Draft Registration, Fred John Summer was born December 8, 1900, though his first marriage record shows his birthday as January 8, 1898. He was born in London, England to Steven Summer and Clementine (Piruska) Summer. He married Hinda R. Fancher in 1919 in Indiana, but again in 1941, so they evidently had divorced. They had two children, Fred Orville Summer and Geraldine Summer. A third marriage was found, in Family Search, to Leslie Armantrout in Dubuque, Iowa. (Armantrout was the bride’s prior married name.) An image of this marriage is not online, and the transcription does not provide the marriage date (quite unusual). Fred passed away in Florida in 1965.

An early start to a successful career

The Queen Insurance Company of America was based in New York City but, according to an old envelope found on eBay, had offices in other states. This coincides with the second newspaper clipping (below) that reported that Fred started working (at age fifteen) for an “eastern insurance company”. Soon after that he started his own company, The Summer Agency, which became a very successful firm. Their slogan was, “where insurance is a business (not a sideline)”. The company’s long-term address in Chicago was 2145 E. 83rd St., Chicago. (If Fred was born in 1900, that would put him at age fifteen for starting his company – possibly the truth had been stretched a bit in the 25 year anniversary notice. (From researching other companies, this was not uncommon.)

Anniversary notice in The Daily Calumet (Chicago, Illinois). May 20, 1940:

In 1942, he moved to California, where in 1954, he became a Million Dollar Writer. Below, from the Oakdale Leader, December 20, 1956:

Sources:  “Illinois, World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1940-1945”, , FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QPH8-1TY4 : Sat Mar 09 16:29:12 UTC 2024), Entry for Fred John Summer and Self, 16 February 1942.

“Indiana Marriages, 1811-2019”, , FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KDH7-QLK : Fri Mar 08 18:52:51 UTC 2024), Entry for Fred J Summer and Hinda Fancher, 13 Mar 1919.

“Indiana Marriages, 1811-2019”, , FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:D4FD-RXT2 : Sun Mar 10 01:54:09 UTC 2024), Entry for Fred J Summer and Leslie Armantrout.

Carroll, B. F. Thirty-seventh Annual Report of the Auditor of State of the State of Iowa on Insurance Other Than Life, 1906, Vol 1. “Queen Insurance Co. of America, New York, N.Y.” P. 560. (google.com/books.)

Queen Insurance Company of America Advertising Cover (-699). https://www.ebay.com/itm/122521912348. (Accessed March 28, 2024.)

“Fred J. Summer, Marking 25th Anniversary, Warns Against False Economy.” The Daily Calumet (Chicago, Illinois). May 20, 1940. Monday, p. 3. (Newspapers.com).

“Insurance Speaker in Modesto Tomorrow.” Oakdale Leader (Oakdale, California). December 20, 1956. Thursday, p. 8. (Newspapers.com).

Family On Porch

Old photo, circa 1900 – 1910’s.

Price:  $5.00             Size:  4 and 1/2 x 2 and 7/16″

Nice gingerbread detail on this porch – clearly a family is gathered here, though we don’t have any names or even a location on the back. The woman on our right in the dark dress is the mom and possibly the man in front of them is the dad. Then we’ve got a grandmother or two, or perhaps a great-aunt and then a couple of men in conversation, maybe a neighbor has stopped by….I had picked up this photo thinking it went with some others (but probably not) that were loose in a bin; they were, per the norm, languishing – just hanging around in an antique store. How many millions of old photos are doing the same at this moment? Yes, rather a tragedy, especially to those of us that have actively searched for images of their ancestors; some found (amazing!) and many more not. (There’s always hope.) Back to this lack of i.d., really, it’s a rare person then and now (well, different now with everything digital) that always identified the back of a photo. (It is tedious, for sure.) But even unidentified it’s still good. We can get a sense of, certainly fashion, including house fashion (i.e. our Victorian gingerbread here with that beautifully tall door) and that can be important to historians and collectors. (You bet, you can get deep in research detail – those white shoes the mom and daughters are wearing, for instance, and their nearly identical hairstyles). But good also, for just life the way it used to be…..in what we now (laughably) think of as a simpler time.