Couple On Steps

Real Photo Postcard. Unused. VELOX stamp box. Circa 1907 – 1917.

Price:  $4.00

A moment in time, somewhere in rural America…..

According to the particular VELOX stamp box on the reverse, this would have been taken around 1907 to 1917. The building the steps lead up to is not a house, but maybe rather a grange hall, a train depot, a hotel. Note the metal screening on the windows, and the possibility of various small signs (enlarge the image twice – see the nails?) that had once been posted to our left of the doorway. But, I was drawn to this postcard from my impression of two people, caught in a great, candid moment of laughter – the woman seems to be, doubled over would be overstating it, but how do you describe, when someone says something unexpected, maybe ridiculous, and you have that reaction, turning off to the side in mirth, a little bent at the waist? The gentleman’s pose is in wonderful contrast, with arms folded, looking into the camera. We can’t really tell if he’s laughing, but we do take in the working clothes, the heavy gloves, the dried mud on his boots (he’s probably listed as a farmer on the 1900 and 1910 census), and of course, the metal bucket to his right.

A Snap Of John Taken Unawares

Old photo, white border. Circa 1900s to 1920s.

Price:  $2.00          Size:  3 and 1/8″ x 4 and 1/4″

I bought this one for the rather poetic description written on the reverse (We imagine it was his wife that wrote it.) But here’s John, in vest and suspenders and the inevitable hat, his surname and location unknown. He’s deep in thought, and holding what looks to be a tape measure. Maybe he was out looking at property lines. You can see some short wire fencing behind him, and then a nice view of some hills in the distance. The term snapshot came into use in the photographic sense around 1890. We found the short version, “snap” for snapshot (also written snap shot), in historical newspapers as early as 1907, (though this was from a quick search so it may have been in use a little earlier.)

Sources:  snapshot (n). https://www.etymonline.com/word/snapshot (accessed June 14, 2020).

Marshall, Carrie. “A Trip To Idaho – No. 3.” Woodford County Republican, (Eureka, IL) Thursday, September 26, 1907, Vol. 13, no. 34. (Newspapers.com).

Grandpa McInnes

Real Photo Postcard, unused. AZO stamp box.

Price:  $5.00

A beautiful photo-turned-postcard of a handsome guy in profile, with white beard, in suspenders, one hand resting on hip, the other holding his straw hat and with what we might think of as the “old homestead” in the immediate background. The only identification is written on the back as,  “Grandpa McInnes.”  The stamp box is an AZO, two triangles up and two down, which is estimated anywhere between 1910 and 1930, per Playle’s. See https://www.playle.com/realphoto/photoa.php.

I’m In With All The Swells!

Divided back postcard. Postmarked December 18, 1913 from Wichita, Kansas. Publisher:  Williamson-Haffner Co., Denver, Colorado. Artist name unknown.

Price:  $12.00

Addressed to:   “Mrs. Ida McFrederick, Harper, Kans, Route 3.”

The sender wrote:  “Dec 18 – 1913. send my mail up here. Hello Ma, Guess I won’t be home Sat. so don’t look for me until you see me. am working now. by by   Florence.”

Per Walter E. Corson’s, Publishers’ Trademarks Identified, the publishing house is the Williamson-Haffner Company, of Denver. So, the initials appearing at the bottom left corner of the illustration must be those of the artist. (Name unknown at this point, but maybe we’ll find out later.)

Thanks, Florence (for passing along) the wonderful phrase on the card, “Don’t look for me until you see me.”  Might remind you of the conundrum we find ourselves in when we contemplate time travel…..and some of the great comedic vignettes we’re familiar with:  Two that come to mind are Joe talking to Frito at the Costco Shuttle in Idiocracy, and one of Big Bang’s segments, something along the lines of, “Okay, we agree that if one of us invents a time machine, we’ll meet right here at exactly (whatever o’clock.)” They look around the room, and then….damn, disappointment. (Not sure – President Not Sure? 😉 ) what episode this was from and this is only from memory, but you probably know the one I mean.)

From the 1905 Kansas State Census, the family is parents, William and Ida McFrederick, and their children, Carl, William, Roy, Earl, Florence and Fern. With the family is a young McDowell (possibly) couple (who may or may not be related) by marriage to the McFredericks. Florence would have been about eighteen when she sent this postcard to her mom.

Sources:  Corson, Walter E. Publishers’ Trademarks Identified. Ed. James Lewis Lowe. Norwood, PA:  1993. (print).

Kansas State Historical Society; Topeka, Kansas; 1905 Kansas Territory Census; Roll: ks1905_62; Line: 13. (Ancestry.com).

A Formal Occasion, Onboard Ship

Photo, white border. Circa 1910s – 1940s.

Price:  $6.00         Size:  About 2 x 2 and 7/8″

A snapshot found in a loose box of photos, location and ship name are unknown, and the date is unknown. If you enlarge the photo you’ll see three men in non-military type hats, that are walking with the officers. Maybe they are dignitaries of some sort.

Thunderbird Park, Vancouver Island, 1958

Photo, snapshot with white border, June 1958, Vancouver Island, BC

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

Tourists in June 1958 posing at the foot of a totem pole (not sure if this particular one is still there) and in front of the Mungo Martin House which was built in 1953.

Mungo Martin. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mungo_Martin. (accessed March 14, 2020).

Carl Stockdale and Mary Dowds

Old photo, circa 1900 – 1920s.

Price:  $7.00      Size:  About 3 and 3/4 x 2 and 1/2″

Here’s a great one for New Year’s Eve, a couple of partiers…..even though probably this was not taken in winter. Is that an open window? In any case, it’s Carl Stockdale and Mary Dowds seated on the floor and having a great laugh. We’ll have to research for the possible year according to Mary’s style of dress, for starters. But for now, just to get this one posted…..and Happy New Year!

It’s fun to pick out the details in old photos. Notice the photo within a photo on this one, top right, and the nail pattern in the sole of Carl’s shoe. (Another possible clue for the age of the photo?) And that’s a nice wallpaper pattern and then there’s the beautiful lace on the curtains.

Borealis and Sleigh Ride

Antique circular print. Artist and publisher unknown. Circa 1880s – 1900.

Price for circular print without background:  $5.00        Size:  About 3 and 3/4″ across.

This was just a circular cutout from somewhere, that someone had saved, back in the day. It had made its way to one of the paper fairs or maybe an antique store, I don’t remember. The top and bottom had gotten a little scrunched but you can’t notice it in the image. And in looking for a background to scan it on (always a fun search!) I noticed our wall calendar for this year which was all photos of the Aurora Borealis. So, I got kind of enamored of the idea of this couple, and their team and sleigh, sort of floating in space in a sky of magical Borealis colors and lights (What would be the translation into music? Surely something so beautiful!)

And note in the closeup below, the carved figurehead with draping wings of what is probably a peacock. Searching online we find that there were many stunningly ornate sleighs crafted in prior centuries, including those with figureheads. Click here to see some examples that others have posted.

Source:   Google.com search result for “ornate antique open air sleighs with figureheads.” Accessed 12/29/19.

Young Hockey Players

Vintage photo, white border, circa 1950s.

Price:  $4.00         Size: 4 and 7/8 x 3″

It’s hockey season again, yay!

These guys are happily posing with their sticks on a frozen stream, by the looks of it. There’s a rustic wooden bridge behind them. Easy to miss in the background is an Esso gas station sign. No writing on the back but this photo was found (at the paper fair in San Francisco) in a large box of loose photos next to other ephemera of French-Canadian origin, which we’ll be posting next…..But hey, where are the guys’ skates? And one more question:  Could the sticks have been handmade? Just wondering because of the lack of any company name appearing on them, especially on the goalie’s, the wider one, in the front center. And in googling Esso we discovered a major connection to the sport.

Cropped shot of the Esso sign appearing in the photo:

Some trivia….

First of all, did you know that the name Esso is just the pronunciation of the S and O for Standard Oil?

The first NHL game broadcast on the radio was in 1936 and was sponsored by the Esso brand.

The three stars awarded in NHL games originated as a way to advertise Imperial’s three star brand of gasoline.

See the Imperial/Esso/Mobil link for more.

Source:  Esso and Mobil:  Our History. https://www.esso.ca/en/our-history. Accessed October 27, 2019.

Photo Op By The Lake

Vintage photo, circa 1950s.

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

Maybe Michigan, probably 1950s

An African-American family possibly taken in Michigan, where the photo was found. Were they on their way out to breakfast or church? Was the location a vacation spot for them or taken near home or were they visiting relatives? We’ll probably never know unless by some amazing serendipitous event someone’s browsing and happens to recognize these people. Not unheard of. I’ve been reading Henry Z. “Hank” Jones, Jr.’s Psychic Roots, Serendipity & Intuition in Genealogy.”  If you do family research, for example, chances are excellent that you can recount multiple instances of that feeling of “being led” to a spectacular find. Or, on the opposite side, if you sell or post family photos or other items you may have a story of someone walking into your store and finding their relatives’ “lost” family album, or seeing someone happen upon a postcard that they themselves had written and mailed fifty years ago. In our talks with sellers we’ve heard a surprising number of such accounts. The kind that make your hair stand up on the back of your neck (in a good way!). Here’s one from my family:

Serendipity in Montréal

Maybe fifteen or twenty years ago, I’ve forgotten by now, I was with some family members vacationing in Montréal. Sitting on the beds in the motel we were trying to figure out what to do for the day, looking at brochures. I was drawn to the one on the Pointe-à-Callière Museum and felt we “had to” go there, that it was important to go. In one of the exhibits we saw an artist’s rendition of a mother holding a child. Standing in front of this drawing I had a strong urging to take a photo. Immediately the thought came into my head,  “Why? It’s not like you’re related to her or anything.”  Ahhh, but as you’ve guessed 🙂 she (beautiful Charlotte, specifically Marie Charlotte Gloria dit Roch or DesRoches) turned out to be, not just any relative necessarily, but mine and my siblings’ 6th-great grandmother. (See Collections archéologiques for a photo of the handle of a tool? with Charlotte’s name carved on it. This was one of many artifacts that had been uncovered at the site of what is called “the birthplace of Montréal” and what later became the museum.) Now, at that point I hadn’t yet researched that particular line, and had never even come across her name. It was not till a few years later, while searching my Dufour side online, and “climbing the tree” by finding my direct ancestor Pierre Dufour that there, lo and behold, was his wife, Charlotte Roch. Wait, what??? (Jaw-dropping, falling out of chair.) Not the end of the story, though. For about a week after that, what seemed like every time I got into the car, I heard Chuck Berry’s, “You Never Can Tell” either just playing or as the next offering by the d.j. You know the lyrics, ♪ “It was a teenage wedding and the old folks wished them well. You could see that Pierre did truly love the mademoiselle.” ♪ True, Pierre was not a teenager when they wed, and though Charlotte was, that was not unusual in the least at that time, but it was the true love part that seemed to be the point of what felt like a message bridging “time.” (What is time? 😉 ) Records show that Pierre and Charlotte had eleven kids and, of course, have many many descendants. Notable is the birthplace of their second child. Their first was born in Montréal, and the youngest nine in Detroit. But the baptismal record (all are in French) for their second child, Marie Charlotte Dufour, states she was born in the  “8yattenons.”  (French-Canadian priests sometimes wrote a number to denote a sound or abbreviate a word, for instance “7bre” for septembre, which by the way, can be confusing when reading the record, the digit 7 but the 9th month!) The appellation 8yattenons was used for Fort Ouiatenon. This has been verified in other unrelated records, and the fact that Pierre was a soldier when he and his young family left Montréal adds credibility to daughter Charlotte having been born at or near this fort. Well, this ended up to be a lengthy sidetrack off the subject of this post, that of the vintage photo from the 1950s, yikes! But definitely, if you’d like to share your own stories of the serendipity-amazing luck-small world type we’d love to hear them.

Back to the photo…..

Amazing how every photo transmits so much. An everyday moment maybe, but no less special, as when we look we see the smiles, and the grace and humor, maybe get a sense of the struggles, and yet the joy, in a backdrop, no, make that of a oneness with, a particular place and time, and somehow in total it all washes over us like a blessing…. No identifying info on the back, but maybe we’re looking at a photo of a husband and wife and mother or auntie or older sister of either? All three are very stylish. Love the striped tie on the gentleman. I think of him as Clarence (heehee, he’s likely laughing somewhere now). There’s the flashy belt the older woman wears that’s caught the lens light……there’s the very chic pose of the younger woman, and….her skirt. Check out the pattern on the fabric, a surprise and a delight:  Chickens!