Melvin E. Noel

Divided back, unused Real Photo Postcard. NOKO stamp box. Circa 1925.

Price:  $12.00

I think we can say beyond a reasonable doubt that this gentleman is Melvin Eustace Noel, born September 18, 1899 in Palermo, California, as no other possibilities were found. Melvin was the son of Daniel Noel and Daisy E. (Darby) Noel. We’re estimating maybe he was around 25 years old when the photo was taken. From records it appears he had never married and had made his living in the ranching industry. Makes sense as to his work boots and maybe best work pants he wears for the photo, along with the suit jacket and tie. His WWII Draft Registration Card shows he was employed at that time by Amadee Ranch, address Wendel, CA with employer’s contact name and address given J. L. Humphrey of Reno, NV. Below, a Google map showing the town of Wendel, just north of Honey Lake, and moving eastward, the California-Nevada border.

Sources:  The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 1320. Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947.

Year: 1900; Census Place: Ophir, Butte, California; Page: 24; Enumeration District: 0020. (Ancestry.com).

Original data: State of California. California Death Index, 1940-1997. Sacramento, CA, USA: State of California Department of Health Services, Center for Health Statistics. (Ancestry.com).

Wendel, California map (Google.com).

He Takes A Great Picture

Old photo, cropped. Circa 1910s – 1920s.

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

There is no tie-in to this photo and the last (that we know of – as mentioned on a number of prior posts, at LCG we like the segue thing) unless by serendipity, the very photogenic young man’s name is William. (Yes, probably not, what would be the odds? But these things do seem to happen more often in the world of old postcards and photos and the like, than outside that realm, so to speak. No data to back that statement up with, but just lots of instances that I could recount. Anyway, what a nice-looking young man, self-confident and with that arresting look for the camera. Someone you could rely on, who already knew what he was about.

A Proud Owner

Divided Back, unused Real Photo Postcard. Circa 1910s – 1930s.

Price:  $5.00

“The window is not broken, it is the reflection of the sun.”

This is a Tudor-style house, as we can see from the steep-pitched roof, the tall windows, and the decorative half-timbering on the gable. If you look at the upper portion of the side of the house you might think you’re seeing wood shingle siding but that overlapping effect must be just an illusion – look at the lower half and you’ll see brick. There’s a small built-in front porch with a rounded archway, and the front facade of the house is stuccoed above the, would one say, brick wainscoting? The top segments of the bay windows are called awning windows, and it’s one of these that appears to be broken, but like the proud owner says, it’s a reflection of the sun. And there’s the gentleman himself, posing to the side, in suit and fedora. There are two small potted evergreens that look like they might be for planting elsewhere, and note the key that’s hanging in the door. Looking closer still, we see a zigzag pattern of tile for the porch floor. And the windows in the door and on each side (does this remind anyone of the 1960s or ’70s?) are done in some type of privacy glass with a pebbled effect.

Cabinet Portrait By W. A. Armstrong

Cabinet Card. Circa 1879 – 1896. Photographer:  W. A. Armstrong, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Price:  $7.00

A photo of a clean-cut young man, wearing a suit jacket with short lapels and a bow tie. The tie has a diamond (or maybe “paste” – hand-cut glass) cross pinned to it. The photographer was W. A. Armstrong; studio address:  389 Broadway, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

That the photographer at the above address shows up in city directories from 1879 through 1896 would seem to be a sure sign of his success:  He was in business for at least these number of years, and did not incur the necessity of changing locations. From the 1880 Federal Census, he is listed as William A. Armstrong, born in Pennsylvania about 1838, of Pennsylvania-born parents. His wife’s name was Sarah, and they had a 3-month old daughter. But to do justice to Mr. Armstrong, we’ll need to put up a separate posting for him, as a quick search has his name appearing in several photographic journals of the day.

Sources:  William Hogg’s The Milwaukee Directory for 1879, Vol. XII. p. 606. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

Wright’s Milwaukee Directory, 1896. p. 1112. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

Year: 1880; Census Place: Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Roll: 1436; Page: 28C; Enumeration District: 104. (Ancestry.com)

Dad And Kids, Darlington, Wisconsin

Cabinet Card, circa 1870s – 1880s. Photographer:  J. Polkinghorn, Darlington, Wisconsin.

Price:  $7.00

A Cabinet Card by photographer J. Polkinghorn in Darlington, Wisconsin of….surely this must be the dad in the photo with his young daughter and son. He wears no wedding ring, but perhaps there was none, or he was a widower. An interesting detail in this image is the man’s shoes which show dirt and general wear on the half over the toes, as if he was accustomed to wearing gaiters. No names for this family, unfortunately, but we hope they will be recognized by someone with Darlington or Lafayette County roots. The photographer’s backdrop is interesting, quite vague with that blank expanse in the middle and something tall and carved on our left, what it’s depicting is anyone’s guess, and then on our right a fancy, curved railing leading off to somewhere in our imaginations.

The photographer

Nothing definitive comes up for J. Polkinghorn but he could well be the John Polkinghorn born in England about 1857 who appears on various census record in Darlington, or Lafayette County. This person’s census records show no connection whatsoever to photography (dealer in musical instruments) but it still could be him, and likely, whoever he was, he would have listed himself in the city directories, but we’re not finding the city, or even the county records, online at this time.