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.)

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!

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.

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).

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.