Mom And Baby, Auntie And Baby

Two photos, circa early 1900s.

Price for pair:  $3.00         Size:  About 5 x 5″ including mat frames.

Another couple of photos for Mother’s Day….

Mom and Baby….

Auntie (we think) and Baby….

Alas, there is no writing on the back of either of these photos, which were found in the Central Coast area of California, so we don’t know who the three people are, nor their location. But this could be CA with those rolling hills, and wait, are those grapevine trellises on the left? Maybe this is wine country.

Montréal Girl

Carte de Visite. Photographer:  Notman & Sandham. Circa 1877 – 1882.

Price:  To be determined.        Size:  About 2 and 1/2 x 4″

William Notman (1826 – 1891)

Henry Sandham (1842 – 1910)

The Notman collection (about 650,000 photographic works) is, according to Marian Scott’s article in the Montreal Gazette,  “…the jewel in the crown of the McCord Museum,”  the McCord being located in Montréal, Québec, Canada. Though our carte-de-visite above does not show off the incredible clarity nor have the chance to exhibit any of the innovation that the Notman firm became known for, it’s still a lovely portrait of a beautiful young woman. She wears a Christian cross, possibly jeweled, on a rather large-link short chain; a high, white ruffled collar under a dark blouse or dress; and a bow tying back her dark hair, which is worn parted in the middle with short bangs.

Photo and paint….

We don’t necessarily think of painters (artists in oil, watercolor, etc.) in conjunction with photographic artists. Or, at least, I confess, I did not. Notman is said to have developed and made popular the composite photo, where individual studio portraits were taken, cut out, fastened onto the composite negative of a painted background (this is my understanding from piecing together a couple of online descriptions) and printed. Below, a well-known example entitled, “La culbute” (The bounce) of the Montréal Snowshoe Club. Notman & Son, 1886. Per author Sarah Parsons, William Notman:  Life & Work, the Notman firm offered oil paintings of all its photos. No wonder then, that Notman’s photography company had its own art department (which was for some years headed by Henry Sandham.)

Below, a couple of articles referencing Henry Sandham, from the Boston Herald, January 23rd and August 14th, 1881.

Last, but not least, another prominent Canadian, printer George-Édouard Desbarats (1838 – 1893) who was the founder of the lithography firm that did the reverse of our Montréal Girl cdv. The printing on the bottom left of the card shows  “Desbarats, lith., Montreal.”

Sources:  William Notman. n.d. (accessed February 26, 2017).

Henry Sandham. n.d. (accessed February 26, 2017).

Scott, Marian. “William Notman:  portrait of a visionary photographer at McCord Museum.”, November 4, 2016. Web accessed February 26, 2017.

Parsons, Sarah. (2014). William Notman:  Life & Work. (accessed February 26, 2017)

File: The Bounce, Montreal Snowshoe Club.jpg. n.d.,_Montreal_Snowshoe_Club.jpg. (accessed February 26, 2017).

The Sunday Herald. (Boston, MA). Sunday, January 23, 1881, p. 2. (

The Sunday Herald. (Boston, MA). Sunday, August 14, 1881, p. 12. (

Desbarats, George-Édouard. Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Vol. XII (1891 – 1900). (accessed February 26, 2017).

That Faraway Look, Detroit, 1894 or ’95

Cabinet Card, 1894 – 1895. Photography by Burton J. Holcombe & Co.

Price:  $6.00       Size:  4 and 1/4 x 6 and 1/2″

The above photo of the beautiful woman with the faraway gaze looks over-exposed or faded, but to me, this enhances the dreamy quality. I think it’s true that the more you study a photo, the more it comes to life for you. Was the photographer experimenting with different poses?…the glimpse of the gloved hand, index finger slightly pointing…for depth, a little mystery perhaps, even some subtle humor….“Get on the right track, at Nine Mile and Mack…”  keeps coming to mind – I know, different era, but still!

Here’s our Photoshop version below, to try to put ourselves in the photographer’s place…maybe better to have her left hand appearing somewhere, since we get the fact that her right holds….no, wait…that’s maybe not the muff (to match the fur jacket) that she’s holding but a prop she’s just standing next to that was then touched up? Though from afar the impression is of someone carrying something, about to go on a short journey.

And yes, it’s obvious the card’s in somewhat rough shape, but after you time travel back to that point it’s funny how you really don’t regard the condition. Though we have no i.d. for the woman, we, thankfully, have half a name for the photography studio, along with the address and from this we discover that the bottom of the card read as:  B. J. Holcombe & Co.   212 Woodward ave., Detroit.

B. J. was Burton J. Holcombe. The 1894 and 1895 Detroit city directories show the same address as the one on the card. Multiple directories show that Burton Holcombe had moved frequently, and more detailed information about him will be found in the next post.

Sources:  R. L. Polk & Co.’s Detroit City Directory, 1894. p. 673. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

R. L. Polk & Co.’s Detroit City Directory, 1895. p. 698. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

Bundled Up For The Cold

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard, circa 1910s. CYKO stamp box.

Price:  $4.00

This particular style of CYKO stamp box enjoyed a pretty broad range, from about 1904 to the 1920s per Presuming with the divided back it would start at 1907 at the earliest, but I think the most likely time-frame for the photo might be the 1910s. The children look to be between about two and four years old, posing outside on the top porch step with wooden door behind them. The little guy wears a button-down wool sweater with dark contrasting band at the neck, cuffs and below the waist (the latter giving the sweater that tunic effect) short pants, high leather boots, mittens and a striped knit cap. The little girl wears some type of raised pile or plush coat that falls halfway below the knee, slightly puffed at the shoulder seam, leggings and hat of the same material and mittens. We’re guessing the ribbon bow was part of the bonnet, after seeing similar styles on Pinterest for a 1915 Sears & Roebuck ad.

Snow Maidens

Old photo, circa 1910s – 1920s.

Price:  $1.00       Size:  About 3 and 1/4 x 2 and 1/4″

Snow and laughter… here’s a great old photo for wintertime, no names (darn!) but wonderful just the same, of four young ladies, sisters or friends or a combination of both. They’re posed leaning on a snowbank with a house directly behind them. Note the nice porch supports. And are any of these girls the same as in the next upcoming snapshot? You be the judge!

Kids In Leaf


Divided back, Real Photo Postcard, unused. Circa 1914 – 1917.

Price:  $5.00

A good one for a new category, which really should not be new (eee gads, will have to backtrack and see which ones I missed in the past) anyway…under the title Shaped Borders. This one looks like it could be a group of seven school kids, with a young school mistress in the back, or possibly just family members or a group of friends. The date is estimated from Playle’s for this particular style on the reverse, of unknown manufacturers with no stamp box. Check out the doorway:  That’s an odd-looking door, we don’t see a handle, just wooden slats running horizontally, but maybe it was boarded up.

Source:  Real Photo Postcard Stamp Backs, Unknown Manufacturer’s. (accessed October 23, 2016).

Charlie Guidotti’s School Photo


Group photo of Salinas Valley School Children

Price:  $40.00         Size of photo without cardboard mat:  About 7 x 5″

Photographer unknown, photo is glued onto cardboard mat.

A wonderful original group photo, albeit in very rough shape, that had belonged to Charlie Guidotti. You can see that it looks like he (or someone) was practicing their handwriting on the back, underneath the name at the top. This photo, labeled on the plastic covering as “Salinas Valley School Children 1920s” was found in Pacific Grove, CA, so if the label is correct, we don’t know for sure, it stayed local. We’re counting 79 children, ages ranging from about six to teen-age and two teachers (if the gentleman in suit and tie on the right is a teacher.) But which boy in the photo could be Charlie?

There are a couple of Charles Guidottis born in Monte Carrasso, Switzerland, of Italian descent, who made their way to California, both born in 1883 according to their WWII Draft Registration cards. This photo, however, is probably from the mid-1910s to early 1920s, and does not fit their particular time-frame. However, the 1920 Federal Census shows a Carlo Guidotti, born about 1908, living in Alisal Township, Monterey County, CA. His parents are Fernando and Maria Guidotti, born in Switzerland, and siblings Primo, Americo, Emma, Louis, Bianca, Florina. The family’s native language on this census is said to be German, and the children are born in California. It’s not certain whether the Charles listed below in the 1930 Salinas city directory is the same Charles. But it’s an interesting part of Salinas history, even if not.

Guidotti Brothers, French and Italian Restaurant, and grocery, 308 N. Main, Salinas


In searching for more on the Guidotti family, it gets complicated:  For instance, we find two wives named Bruna on the 1930 census, one in Alisal Township, and the other in Castroville Township (Castroville Township, by the looks of it, is now Prunedale.) Also, two men named Primo. We’ll leave the search here with the certainty that it would involve more time to sort out family members. The name of the school also will require more research.

Sources:  R. L. Polk & Co.’s Classified Buyer’s Guide of Salinas, Monterey and Pacific Grove (California) 1930. p. 34. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; Draft Registration Cards for Fourth Registration for California, 04/27/1942 – 04/27/1942; NAI Number: 603155; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System; Record Group Number: 147. (

Year: 1930; Census Place: Alisal, Monterey, California; Roll: 179; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 0010; Image: 282.0; FHL microfilm: 2339914. (

Year: 1930; Census Place: Castroville, Monterey, California; Roll: 179; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 0014; Image: 407.0; FHL microfilm: 2339914. (

Year: 1920; Census Place: Alisal, Monterey, California; Roll: T625_122; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 2; Image: 634. (

Woman In Plaid, Malmö, Sweden

Woman In Plaid Malmo Sweden cdv1Woman In Plaid Malmo Sweden cdv2

Carte-de-Visite by photographer Per Axel Sjöberg. Malmö, Sweden. Circa 1905 – 1915.

Price:  $7.00        Size:  2 and 1/2 x 4 and 1/8″

The most recent year on the back of the CDV, advertising the photographer’s awards and locations given, shows 1905; very helpful in placing an approximate date for the photo of the beautiful Swedish woman with the regal bearing. Is she the same woman from the prior post, but somewhat older? Maybe, or maybe not, but there does seem to be a resemblance. Both CDVs were found in the same bin at one of the recent paper fairs in San Francisco, so if they are not the same person, they could at least be related. And in looking closely at her plaid blouse it appears to be made from flannel.

See the next post for details on the photographer, Axel Sjöberg.

A Handsome Swedish Couple

A Handsome Swedish Couple cdv1A Handsome Swedish Couple cdv2

Carte-de-Visite, circa 1890 – 1910.

Price:  $7.00     Size:  About 2 and 1/2 x 4 and 1/8″

A portrait of a young Swedish couple (for me the gentleman bears a strong resemblance to former Detroit Red Wing hockey player Tomas Holmström, the “Demolition Man” and Tomas-a-loca!, per my husband who is forever making up names for everyone, okay to be precise, it was a borrowed expression from someone he used to work with, but adapted to Homer. Yes, we’re huge Wings fans….) We have another Carte-de-Visite of a woman (found in the same group of old photos) and we wonder if she is one and the same or if they are sisters. She’ll be up in the next post.

As to the photographer, the back of the card shows:   “Gustaf Brink, P.D. Hoffotograf, Sw. Swenssons Atelier, Engelholm, Storgatan 55, Telefon 236.”  We’re not finding anything in the way of a biography for Gustaf Brink, but the Swedish genealogy website Rötter has a number of CDVs by him. The town of Engelholm is found on the map spelled Ängelholm, and we see “Hoffotograf” spelled “Hovfotograf” and translated in Google as “Court Photographer.”

Sources:  Tomas Holmström. n.d. (accessed September 2, 2016).

Rötter. (accessed September 2, 2016).

Ängelholm. n.d. (accessed September 2, 2016).

“A deer they found in ‘balking’ ”

A Deer They Found In Balking p1A Deer They Found In Balking p2

Vintage photo of swimming deer and seven men on a cruiser boat. Circa 1940s.

Price:  $5.00          Size:  4 and 1/4 x 3 and 1/4″

Here we go again with trying to figure out the date of a photo (and possible place) by the vehicle:  In this case the vehicle is a cruiser or yacht! Nothing found yet, so more research needs to be done. You can almost make out the name on the life preserver, but not quite. I thought it was maybe “Janeeva” at first, then looked a couple of days later, thinking, “Where did I get Janeeva from?” Looks like it might start with “A.” (An interesting phenomenom, this change in perception!) Then there’s the other mystery:  Where in the world is “balking” ? Since it was put in parentheses by whoever wrote the note on the back, it seems to not be an actual place name. This makes sense, since Balking is not showing up online. Or did they mean, “A deer they found when ‘balking’ ” ? (whatever that might mean!) But last, which should be first….the deer! What an unexpected sight this must of have been! If he’d been in line with the front of the boat, it would have looked like he was towing it 😉 And unbeknownst to many (like me up till now) deer are good swimmers!