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.

The Romantic Road By Guy Rawlence

Divided back, artist-signed postcard. Postmarked August 8, 1910, England. Artist:  Wilmot Lunt. City of postmark unknown.

Price:  $30.00

The postcard artist

The beautiful artwork for this postcard is that of the frontispiece (the page adjacent to the title page of a book) and is signed Wilmot Lunt. He was Samuel Wilmot Lunt (1856 – 1939) painter and cartoonist, and was also the illustrator for R. D. Blackmore’s Lorna Doone. For more on Lunt see James Malone Farrell’s article,  “Keeping the Home Folks Laughing”  published in Cartoons Magazine, July 1918.

The reverse of the card shows:

“This book is by a cousin of mine and it would be so kind if you would ask for it in your Library. It is really quite readable and he is anxious[?] to [?] know[?] as it is his first book. Love, D. D.”

Addressed to:   “W.[?] Arthur Dolphin[?]  The College, Durham”

A great find

This postcard turns out to have been a pretty neat find:  It’s not in the best of shape but is seemingly rare, the only one found so far, plus the note to the addressee contains a little insight regarding the author’s feelings, according to his cousin, about the release of his first book. Some of the sender’s handwriting is difficult to read, but I think the word there is “anxious” rather than “curious” and who would not be anxious regarding the reception of their first major work?

Armchair research

It’s a little surprising (same for the postcard artist) that there is no Wikipedia or similar type entry yet on the author; we found mention of over twenty titles to his credit. Our web post here will not be in-depth, as that would require much more research, so we’ll just offer instead bits and pieces gleaned from the usual sources, including an article we found in which the author is quoted. But it’s fascinating how a little fact-finding can get the imagination going….while pulling up bits of information one pictures pieces of a puzzle starting to take shape. For instance, for me, I’m surmising Guy Lawrence liked dogs (therefor I like him) as he did at least four books about dogs, Doings In Dogland (1905), Biffin & Buffin (1934), Tob and His Dog (1938) and Bob et Bobby (1963) the latter being in french, and written with Julianna Ewing. But then after coming across an ad for sheepdog-training that stressed the necessity of correct instruction (the working dog would be vital to the livestock holder) next to a mention of James Rawlence, Esq., Guy’s grandfather, agriculturist and livestock breeder, it hit me that Guy probably grew up around dogs. Not that this is any great revelation, or not that one wouldn’t have assumed this anyway, but at this point this “dog” puzzle piece became something specific to the whole picture; it shimmered into view, and that seemed charming. But, I guess the bottom line is that our imagination about someone else’s life tells us, for sure, something about ourselves, and possibly, if we’ve intuited correctly, something about the person in question.

Guy Rawlence (1888 – 1971)

Edward Guy Rawlence was born March 10, 1888, baptized May 10, 1888 in Wilton, Wiltshire County, England, son of James Edward Rawlence, whose occupation at the time was given as auctioneer, and Constance (maiden name Vivian) Rawlence. That’s livestock auctioneer for J. E. Rawlence, as J. E.’s father (Guy’s grandfather) was James Rawlence, a very prominent land agent, agriculturist and livestock breeder in the area. Judging from a number of newspaper articles, Guy Rawlence’s stories received mostly positive reviews. The Romantic Road, published in 1910, was found mentioned in the following “snippet” view in the publication, Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine, Vol. 34, and informs us that this book about a “girl highwayman” was well-reviewed and the story setting was largely in the author’s backyard. Rawlence would have been about twenty-two when it was published.

Prior to 1910, we found mention of a short story, The White Cavalier, circa 1905, and as previously stated, the children’s book Doings in Dogland (1905). The Highwayman, published in 1911, may have been, judging by the date, Rawlence’s second novel. Click the link to see the eBook.

Below, we were happy to come across this article, in which the author is quoted, from The Decatur Daily Review (Decatur, IL) July 1, 1927.

Gushing reviews for Three Score & Ten, appeared in London’s The Observer, October 16, 1924.

Another book we’d like to read, in addition to the above, per the review that appeared in The Observer, November 17, 1935.

Sources:  Lunt, Wilmot 1856 – 1939. https://www.artbiogs.co.uk/1/artists/lunt-wilmot (accessed November 5, 2018).

Farrell, James Malone. “Keeping the Home Folks Laughing.”  Cartoons Magazine, Vol. 14. July 1918.

Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre; Chippenham, Wiltshire, England; Reference Number: 1873/1. (Ancestry.com).

Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007.

“Rawlence, Guy 1888 – ” http://www.worldcat.org/identities/lccn-n50-54036/ (accessed November 5, 2018).

James Rawlence obituary. Goddard, Edward. H. (ed.) The Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine, Vol. 27. June 1894. p. 70.

“The Romantic Road.” The Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine, 1910, Vol. 34. p. 641. Snippet view, Google.com.

Rawlence, Guy. “The White Cavalier.”  The Idler:  An Illustrated Monthly Magazine, Vol. 28. October 1905 – March 1906. (Google ebook.)

Rawlence, Guy. The Highwayman. New York:  W. J. Watt & Co., 1911. (Google ebook.)

“Guy Rawlence.” The Decatur Daily Review (Decatur, IL) July 1, 1927. Friday, p. 16. (Newspapers.com).

“Three Score & Ten.” The Observer (London, England). October 16, 1924. Thursday, p. 4. (Newspapers.com).

“Mother Christmas.” The Observer (London, England). November 17, 1935. Sunday, p. 9. (Newspapers.com).

St. James Park, London, April 1953

Photo, London, England. April 25, 1953.

Price:  $2.00           Size:  2 and 1/4 x 3 and 1/4″

Posing next to a bed of tulips is a beautiful young woman, St. James Park, London, England, April 25, 1953. What was crossed off on the back? I’ve looked with a magnifying glass and enlarged the scanned image but am unable to tell.

Aileen Johnston, Liverpool, 1945

Photo, white border. Liverpool, England, 1945. Velox (Kodak) photographic paper.

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

Beauty in the wheat fields….

Aileen Johnston, a stunner with a beautiful smile, posing somewhere outside of Liverpool, England.This photo was taken in 1945, right at the end of WWII, maybe in August or September, according to the wheat harvest. It’s always so nice (unusual!) to have a name, date and a location on the back of an old snapshot.

An Old Outbuilding

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard, unused. Circa 1907 – 1910s.

Price:  $4.00    

Rural America….a glimpse back

This postcard’s pretty beat up but still, or probably partly because of that, I love it. I love the pattern in the wooden shingles on the face of the, what would one call this, big shed? (Guess that’s why outbuilding works so well 😉 ) Maybe it was used for storage, or was once a chicken coop, though no evidence of chickens at this time. If you click to enlarge, and look inside, you can see what looks like a patchwork quilt covering up something. I love the window that looks like it was thrown together (sorry to whoever built it) and the short boards underneath the one end to make it all somewhat level. (Was it built that way or shored up later after heavy rains?) And last but not least, the young woman, laughing, the little girl with her toy wheeled cart, and their dog (caught in the middle of a bark or a yawn.) It’s a happy photo, and a glimpse back a hundred years or so, of life on the farm.

Mrs. Frederick Mason

Silhouette dated 1935, artist-signed.

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

A beautiful little silhouette of a Mrs. Frederick Mason done in 1935. The signature of the “scissor artist” appears to be F. Castelhun, but we couldn’t find any reference to an artist by this name, or under the possible name of Castelton. Note the faint oval outline surrounding the figure, indicating that this elegant piece was once in a frame.

George A. Drew’s Jewelry Store Trade Card

Trade card, 1882 – 1883, Lewiston, Maine.

Price:  $12.00      Size:  2 and 1/2 x 4 and 1/2″

I was picturing someone searching the web for a photo or illustration of this jeweler’s store, thinking they’d found it, all excited, only to find this trade card (beautiful though it is and a wonderful find.) Hence, the long post title (which made me think of Bob Dylan’s lyric, “It’s your brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat.” Goofy sometimes, the associations we come up with 🙂 ).

The front of the card shows an illustration of a young woman in bathing attire with hand shading brow and looking off into the distance, alongside the title of “Old Reliable.”  I’m thinking it must have been second nature to the artists that designed trade cards, but note the nice 3-D effect on this one with the insert of the girl, and overlapping that, the insert for the jeweler (associating himself with the term “Old Reliable”) and then the artistically arranged cutting of some type of flower draped over both (with shadows drawn in). The store’s address is given as  “No. 93 Lisbon Street, Lewiston, Me.”

Find the typo

The back advertises:  “George A. Drew, dealer in Watches, Diamons, Jewelry, Silver & Plated Ware, Spectacles & Eye-glasses. Sole Agent for Hand Engraved and Silver Plated ware, something new and beautiful, also Agent for Rock Crystal Spectacles, the best in the world. Fine Watch work a specialty, Watches Cleaned and Warranted for $1.00. 93 Lisbon St., Lewiston, ME.”

Reliable and reliably on Lisbon

George A. Drew was born in Maine, about 1836. On the 1870 Federal Census for Lewiston, he appears with his wife Alice and their children, Nellie and Fred. City directories for a twenty-year span, show five different addresses on Lisbon. Note the 1893 address below doesn’t match the one on the card.

1874 to 1880 at 83 Lisbon

1883 at 131 Lisbon

1885 to 1889 at 93 Lisbon

1891 at 75 Lisbon

1893-4 at 71 Lisbon

Sources:  Year: 1870; Census Place: Lewiston, Androscoggin, Maine; Roll: M593_536; Page: 182B; Family History Library Film: 552035. (Ancestry.com).

Greenough Jones & Co.’s Directory for Lewiston and Auburn, 1874-5, p. 170; W. A. Greenough & Co.’s Lewiston and Auburn Directory for 1883, p. 226; W. A. Greenough & Co.’s Lewiston and Auburn Directory, 1885, p. 215; W. A. Greenough & Co.’s Lewiston and Auburn Directory, 1889, p. 269; W. A. Greenough & Co.’s Lewiston and Auburn Directory, 1891, p. 286; W. A. Greenough & Co.’s Lewiston and Auburn Directory, 1893-4, p. 301. (Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.)

Lizzie And Mizpah

Divided back, unused, Real Photo Postcard. Circa 1902 – 1910.

Price:  $12.00

“With Love & affection to add to your collection.   Mizpah.   Lizzie.”

Addressed to:   “Miss Dora Dixon, 10 Glenfield St. Glasgow.”

Which young lady in the postcard photo is which, is unknown, but Dora Dixon, was found on the 1901 Scotland Census, listed at the above address, born in England, about 1882, living with her parents, William and Margaret Dixon, and siblings Mary, Elizabeth, John, William, Henry and Robert. Dora in 1901 was age 19 and working as a waitress.

An emotional bond

The given name Mizpah, sometimes spelled Mizpeh, is one we’d never hear before. The word means “watchtower” in Hebrew and denotes an emotional bond between two people who are apart. The ancient settlement of Mizpah is thought to have been in one of two locations, both just north of Jerusalem, though several other possibilities exist. There is also a Mizpah, Montana, New Jersey and Minnesota, as well as a whole category of jewelry which began in the early Victorian Era, and enjoyed a resurgence during WWI. See Michelle Graff’s article on the history of Mizpah jewelry. In the screen shot below you’ll see one or two pieces of Scottish origin, with the thistle, but many more can be found online.

Sources:  Parish: Glasgow St Mungo; ED: 64; Page: 20; Line: 4; Roll: CSSCT1901_276. (Ancestry.com).

Mizpah. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mizpah_(emotional_bond). (accessed July 15, 2018.)

Mizpah in Benjamin. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mizpah_in_Benjamin. (accessed July 22, 2018).

Graff, Michelle. “The History Behind … Mizpah jewelry.” (https://www.nationaljeweler.com/independents/2059-the-history-behind-mizpah-jewelry). Accessed July 29, 2018.

“images of mizpah jewelry” Google.com search, July 22, 2018.

Sidewinders

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard. AZO stamp box, circa 1907 – 1918.

Price:  $3.00

I couldn’t get the title of this post out of my head for possible names. Not to liken the two beautiful ladies to rattlesnakes (of all things!) And then not to say that rattlesnakes are not beautiful (though understandably not wishing to encounter one, except for maybe at a nice distance) but it’s their hairstyles:  the hair wound into a side bun for each, and a very elegant style it is. Both have a glittering hair clip as an accent. Guessing the two women might be sisters.