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.

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.

Couple With Towle’s Log Cabin Display

Old photo, white border. Circa 1910’s. 

Price:  $20.00           Size:  4 and 1/16 x 2 and 3/8″

There may be some historical interest for this photo for any researchers or collectors of Towle’s Log Cabin Syrup items; we’re not finding anything similar online…..

In starting research for this one, I was surprised to find the Log Cabin brand of syrup still being sold. (I always go right for the real thing, apparently blocking all others from vision. And yes, I know, this makes me sound like a snob, 😉 especially in light of the absurd store prices we’re up against today). Thinking back, growing up in the ’60’s, our cupboard usually contained Mrs. Butterworth’s (we liked the bottle) and sometimes Log Cabin, but at some point, someone (maybe an uncle and probably not till I was in high school), introduced us to actual maple syrup (from trees!) and well, why would you want anything else? (Ha, memories, as an adult, of going out for breakfast and sneaking in syrup from home, and later, of a great place that my husband and I used to drive down to, in Carmel Valley, CA – The Wagon Wheel. Real maple syrup available upon request, still for just an extra dollar.)

About Towle’s

Towle’s was started in 1888 in St. Paul, Minnesota by grocer, Patrick Joseph Towle, and bought out by General Foods in 1927. They initially sold their log cabin syrup in a tall metal can and shortly thereafter in that iconic log-cabin-shaped container. In addition, they manufactured other syrup brands, as well as other related products. For much more about them, see this article by author Matthew Thomas. (Check out his link within the link. Note:  Even the original recipe for log cabin maple syrup may not have been pure maple.)

Our photo….

A couple, maybe in their twenties, are sitting on a porch; the woman backed up to one of the porch posts and the man with his elbow resting on a 3-D Towle’s Log Cabin display. An axe and hammer, and these both appear to be real tools, lean against the little cabin. We can see houses across the street, so the area seems to be residential. Now, it’s possible that this was a general or hardware store with this display set up, and the gentlemen has just bought these tools – but in typing this scenario, it sounds far-fetched, the display would be subjected to the weather, for one. This makes us wonder if the couple isn’t somehow connected to the Towle family….Or, the gentleman could have been a new distributor of the syrup and had added the two props for picture-taking purposes.

Advertisements in old newspapers abound; here are two:

From The Tacoma Daily Ledger, November 23, 1890, an ad touting Towle’s “Log Cabin” maple syrup as absolutely pure, unadulterated and without added glucose, though, if you read with skepticism, you’ll understand that this ad never definitively says that it’s 100% maple syrup.

And from The Oregon Daily Journal, September 27, 1912:

Sources:  Thomas, Matthew. (2017, August 31). “When Towle’s Log Cabin Was a Maple Syrup Company.”maplesyruphistory.com. Accessed March 2, 2024.

“A Card to the Public.” The Tacoma Daily Ledger (Tacoma, Washington). November 23, 1890. Sunday, p. 7. (Newspapers.com).

“Record-Breaking Shipment of Towle’s Log Cabin Syrup.” The Oregon Daily Journal (Portland, Oregon). September 27, 1912. Friday, p. 15. (Newspapers.com).

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).

Couple On Porch

Old photo, white border, circa early 1920’s.

Price:  $4.00           Size:  2 and 3/8 x 4 and 1/4″

We’re continuing a short couple theme, no names on the back of this one. I’m guessing the ’20s due to the cloche-style hat the woman is wearing, though it could have been earlier. Estimating dates from clothing, footwear and hairstyles can be really time-consuming, unless something specifically jumps out to pinpoint, or you’re already an expert or close-enough to one. Alas, I’m not. What was the moment? Obviously, he likes her, but she has that skeptical, “nobody’s fool” look. Nice porch columns displayed here – quite detailed and with that bit of gingerbread trim at the top.

Frank and Girlfriend, 1919

Old photo, 1919.

Availability Status:  SOLD                Size:  2 and 3/8 x 4 and 1/4″

Probably when I found this one (it was floating loose in a bin), I thought I’d be able to read the surname for Frank. Hmmm, no, not getting it. (My own scribble is just as bad.) But they’re a cute couple. (We’re on a short “couple theme” – a continuance of Valentine’s Day). At least, I think they’re a couple – no certainty there, either. But it’s a nice, “We were here….standing on this street….in the summer of 1919” photo. It would have been the summer after the end of the “Great War.” It’s a tree-lined residential road; you can see the utility pole and barely make out an old street lamp. There are train tracks, for a trolley one would guess, but we don’t notice any overhead cables, so maybe the tracks are a remnant from our horse-drawn car days, or maybe they’re old tracks, no longer used. That’s probably an old Model T in the distance (if you were betting you’d play those odds). Through the open wooden gate, we see a woman carrying something, potatoes maybe, on her way back from the garden or cellar storage.

The young woman in the photo – she’s beautiful, hair pulled up, appearing here in a long-sleeved white blouse with black cuffs (great style, yes, but think how practical that is) and in a striped, high-waisted skirt with big front pockets. Nothing fancy but it never needs to be. And Frank – he’s got that, “knows what he wants out of life” look. That direct gaze, a hint of sadness in the smile (did he lose an older brother in the war?), the confident, kind of brash stance, the backwards cap, that proprietary arm around his girl. We’re off with them, in spirit, just for a moment, to each of the many and wherever, those many possibilities led.

Roses For My Valentine

Divided back, embossed, unused postcard. Printed in Germany. Valentine Postcard Series No. 405. Publisher unknown. Circa 1907 – 1914.

Price:  $1.00

Valentine Greetings…..

To Miss Ella Ellison from Mary Strauch.

One from our Alice Ellison Collection. (A group of about 125 cards; they’re not all up on the website yet.) This one’s a little beat up and with a coffee stain at the top but contains a publisher mystery. We’ve seen this logo before, a capital G inside a rectangular artist’s palette with brushes attached, but haven’t found proof of the company name, to date.

Comic Donkey and Couple Circa 1940’s

Old photo, circa 1940’s.

Price:  $6.00              Size:  About 2 and 1/2 x 3 and 1/2″

These type seem to be generally referred to as “face-in-the-hole-board.” Other names include photo cutouts, Aunt Sallys, peep boards, character boards, fat-lady-on-the-beach boards. This handsome and fun, young couple (out for a drive in the surrey – yep, surrey with the fringe on top 😉 ) look to be from the 1940’s era. 

Sources:  Photo Cutouts. https://photocutouts.co.uk/blog/peep-boards-face-in-the-hole-boards-cutout-boards-what-should-they-be-called/ (Accessed June 10, 2023.)

The Surrey with the Fringe on Top. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Surrey_with_the_Fringe_on_Top#:~:text=%22The%20

Surrey%20with%20the%20Fringe,jazz%20musicians%20to%20play%20it. (Accessed June 10, 2023.)

Feeding the Pigeons, Atlantic City Boardwalk, 1939

Old photo, white border. Atlantic City, New Jersey, 1939.

Price:  $10.00        Size:  2 and 1/2 x 3 and 1/2″

A busy street scene:  An older couple with the grandkids, feeding the pigeons. In the background, according to the source below, is the corner of S. New York Avenue and Boardwalk. This A. Schulte Cigars (one of numerous locations) address was 1645 Boardwalk and the Apollo Theater (most often spelled Theatre back in the day) was located at 180 S. New York Ave. The theater was a movie house and you can read the movie that was currently showing:  “The Women”, starring Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford. The year for this photo turned out to be an easy one thanks both to the movie marquee, and the vendor in his small sidewalk booth (check out his shoes) selling tickets to the Miss America Pageant, September 5th – 11th. The movie came out in 1939 and the pageant in Atlantic City for those September dates took place the same year.

To our left, of Schulte’s, we see a shop sign for what looks like, “Milano Linen.” It’s a little hard to make out. To our far right, next to Schulte’s, was Riley’s or maybe O’Riley’s Liquor. Or possibly, it was so-and-so and Riley’s – since the view is obscured we can’t tell.

Source:  “Apollo Theater.” (cinematreasures.org). Accessed March 6, 2023.

A Sidewalk Stroll in Memphis, Tennessee

Old photo, white border. Circa 1930s – 1940s.

Price:  $10.00          Size:  2 and 13/16 x 3 and 3/4″

An older couple strolling in a shopping district of Memphis, Tennessee. He in suit, tie, hat and horn-rimmed glasses, hands behind back and she in a hat, dark dress with flowered jacket belted at the waist and carrying a pair of white gloves. It’s a cute look they have, he’s turned towards her slightly, she’s smiling up at him. Behind them is a prominent sign showing “Economy Corner, Pantaze.” Pantaze was a drug store chain.

The photo’s reverse shows the photographer’s surname was Bolton and his business venture for these types of snapshots was called The “CANDID.” According to city directories and census records Bolton was Richard Bolton, and we’re seeing him on the 1910 Federal Census in Greenwood, Mississippi, occupation photographer. By 1912 he’s in Memphis, Tennessee working as a “photo finisher” for Engineers & Architects Supply Co. And by at least 1919, he’s again under the occupation of photographer. He stays with this vocation until his death in 1955.

Richard Bolton was born July 9, 1888 in Lula, Mississippi, son of West D. Bolton and Callie Louise (Perkins) Bolton. By the 1920 census he’s married to Bertha, who was born Nebraska, about 1893. The 1940 shows he is now with wife, Alma, born Tennessee, about 1907. He died in Memphis, December 23, 1955. The death certificate states he was divorced.

Below, worth reading –  love the humor…..♥  The case of the photographer’s disappearing Ford, from The Commercial Appeal, May 12, 1923:

Back to the photo……

What street was our strolling couple on? Unknown, at the moment. Since there were multiple Pantaze Drug Stores (the 1938 city directory, for instance, lists three different stores:  Store No. 1 was located at 38 S. Main; No. 2 was at 209 Beale Ave.; and No. 3 at 531 S. Main) we looked for any added reference to Economy Corner. That was, surprisingly, not found, so maybe someone with knowledge of the old Memphis days can let us know.

I’m aware there’s a glitch above with the grayed out wording and am trying to fix it – but it’s so appropriate though, kind of like the photographer’s car issue. 😉

Sources:  Year: 1910; Census Place: Greenwood South Ward, Leflore, Mississippi; Roll: T624_749; Page: 13B; Enumeration District: 0071; FHL microfilm: 1374762.(Ancestry.com).

R. L. Polk & Co.’s Memphis City Directory, 1912. Page 210. Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995.

R. L. Polk & Co.’s Memphis City Directory, 1919. Page 186. Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995.

Year: 1920; Census Place: Memphis Ward 4, Shelby, Tennessee; Roll: T625_1763; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 82. (Ancestry.com).

“Phantom Car Vanishes.”  The Commercial Appeal, (Memphis, TN) May 12, 1923. Saturday, p. 7. (Newspapers.com).

R. L. Polk & Co.’s Memphis City Directory, 1938. Page 1602. Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995.

Year: 1940; Census Place: Memphis, Shelby, Tennessee; Roll: m-t0627-03963; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 98-103. (Ancestry.com).

Tennessee State Library and Archives; Nashville, Tennessee; Tennessee Death Records, 1908-1958. (Ancestry.com).