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.

Girl With A Parasol

Photo in cardboard folding frame. Photographer unknown. Glossy finish, Velox paper. Circa late 1920s – 1940s.

Price:  $10.00       Size including frame:  About 4 and 1/2 x 8 and 1/2″

Multiple layers for photo detecting

The Velox marks that appear on the back of the photograph indicate the time frame was maybe around late 1920s – ’40s. But this one has a lot of other clues, too, though it feels like we’re dancing around the answer without quite finding it:  We looked at the cardboard frame style, the dress, the striped knee socks, the floral pattern of the Japanese-style paper parasol, the metal folding chair, the shoes (Mary Janes with a alligator pattern around the heal, very snazzy by the way) and the hairstyle. And then for location, the foliage (No, we didn’t really get that crazy. But, that is a tree trunk we’re seeing behind the umbrella, not a blur in the image.) My feeling is 1930s for the era, but we’ll update it later if a better estimate comes around. And then the girl….a great girl. We don’t know her name, but wasn’t this a nice captured moment of happiness?

Source:  Messier, Paul. “Notes on Dating Photographic Paper.” p. 125. Topics in Photographic Preservation, Volume 11. 2005, Photographic Materials Group of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works. http://resources.conservation-us.org/pmgtopics/2005-volume-eleven/11_16_Messier.pdf. (accessed March 3, 2018).

A San Jose, California Couple

Divided back, unused Real Photo Postcard. Circa 1910s. Photographer:  Enrico Bambocci. Solio stamp box.

Price:  $5.00

Happily, from time to time, we find more RPPCs by Italian-born photographer Enrico Bambocci. Here’s to hoping the trend continues! The Bambocci studio was located in San Jose, so it’s probably safe to assume this handsome couple resided there, or in the vicinity. This could be a wedding photo also, (like the prior post) but not necessarily so. And there’s a badger (?) skin (as we’ve seen in another of Bambocci’s photos) draped over the wooden chair, and though it’s not the same badger, it is probably the same chair.

German Couple, Wedding Photo

Divided back, deckled edge, unused Real Photo Postcard. Circa 1910s – early 1920s. Photo paper company:  Trapp & Muench. Germany.

A beautiful couple, and our imaginations do not have to run wild to think that this was probably their wedding day. The very faded or washed out image was darkened in Photoshop. Original below:

The photo paper company on this RPPC was manufactured by Trapp & Muench, per The Postcard Album website (by coincidence mentioned a couple of posts ago). T & M’s trademark, shown below, appears on the reverse of the card above the dividing line:

Source:  “Photo Paper Trademarks, Logos and other imprints.” T & M (Trapp & Muench). Web accessed February 19, 2018.

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.

Mystery Language

Divided back, unused, Real Photo Postcard. AZO stamp box. Circa 1904 – 1918. Printed in Canada.

Price:  $8.00

The snow is piled up in front of two stylish ladies (check out all the trim on the young woman’s coat) who have posed for this photo. Their dog is beside them, and prominent in the background is what looks to be a church, just from the shape of the windows, and next to the church, a house. The branches of the bare trees are beautiful in this scene, too. Possibly the postcard photo originated in the same area as the sender’s address, so the card may be of historical interest for Saskatoon history buffs, as well as any Abrams descendants.

Baffled….for now

But the note from the sender of this card is a stumper. What language is it written in?  Deciphering can be tricky for old postcards in other languages due to abbreviations and sometimes misspelled words or former spellings of words used, let alone a person’s particular style of cursive, although the name and address are easily read on this one as:   “Mrs. Wm. Abrams, Saskatoon, Sask.”

Without being able to decipher but one or two words on the back (if that) we turned to searching for the receiver of this card to find their native tongue as stated on census records. There is a William Abrams and his wife Maria and their children listed on the 1911 and 1916, residing in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. This would coincide with the postcard date of circa 1904 to 1918, per the AZO stamp box (all four triangles pointing upward, along with divided back starting December 1903 in Canada.) William was born in Russia and Maria in Germany. William’s declaration of intent, in his U. S. naturalization process, appears to show that he was born in Ekaterinoslav, Russia, which is now called Dnipro and lies within Ukraine….No other possible Abrams were found to fit our postcard, so this is all good info, even though it doesn’t help us figure out the writing on the back. Hopefully, we’ll get some help on the translation from somewhere!

Sources:  Year: 1911; Census Place: 30 – Saskatoon Ward 1, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; Page: 26; Family No: 236. (Ancestry.com).

Year: 1916; Census Place: Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, 03B; Roll: T-21944; Page: 22; Family No: 247. (Ancestry.com).

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Naturalization Records of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, Central Division (Los Angeles), 1887-1940; Microfilm Roll: 21; Microfilm Serial: M1524.

Dnipro. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dnipro (accessed January 16, 2018).

CDV By Mrs. E. B. Chappell

Carte de Visite, circa 1870s – mid-1880s. Photographer:  Mrs. E. B. Chappell.

Price:  $10.00        Size:  About 2 and 1/2 x 13/16″

Like the last post, here’s a beautiful child posing for a Carte de Visite photo, also in that common “casual” style pose (just my take on it, as in….It’s casual Dudette 😉 but all about what to do with placement of arms and hands, etc. in a photo, so as not to look awkward)  standing, with one arm resting on the fringed armrest of the photographer’s chair and a leg crossed at the ankle. The little girl in the image wears a watch or pendant chain necklace as well as a  bracelet on both wrists, so perhaps the family was somewhat well-to-do.

Sort of a mystery

The photographer, Mrs. E. B. Chappell of Sturgis, Michigan, was not verified in directories or census records. Several websites have a little info on her as Mrs. Eliza B. Chappell, operating in Sturgis and Athens, Michigan, with dates ranging from 1884 – 1889 on Cabinet Cards, but finding a Mrs. Edith Chappell living in Sturgis on the 1870 Federal Census (maiden name Reeves in other records) leaves one to wonder if they could be the same person. (Edith changed to Eliza?…middle initial “B” as the next letter in Elizabeth?) Edith and her husband Edward Chappell had three children, Charles, William and Sarah (Sarah died in infancy in 1873.) Edith and Edward were both born in England, and it seems they might have separated (she is on the 1870 in Sturgis with her boys in August, but almost a month earlier the family is together on the 1870 in Jackson. By the 1880, Edward Chappell is still in Jackson, has the boys with him, and is listed as single. Edith is not found on the 1880 census (nor is Eliza B.) This is just a theory for now. And true, there may be city directories for Sturgis and/or Athens that list the photographer, but if they exist, they are not online, so a more in-depth search is needed.

Sources:  Year: 1880; Census Place: Jackson, Jackson, Michigan; Roll: 585; Page: 294A; Enumeration District: 117. (Ancestry.com).

Willliam Henry Chappell. Find A Grave Memorial #79180039. Findagrave.com (accessed January 12, 2018).

Julia Driver Collection of Women in Photography. General Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

Treadwell, T. K. and Darrah, William C., comp., Photographers of the United States of America. (National Stereoscopic Association, copyright 1994. Updated 2003).

Death Records. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics, Lansing, Michigan. Ancestry.com. Michigan, Death Records, 1867-1950.

Year: 1870; Census Place: Jackson Ward 1, Jackson, Michigan; Roll: M593_678; Page: 143B; Family History Library Film: 552177. (Ancestry.com).

Year: 1870; Census Place: White Pigeon, St Joseph, Michigan; Roll: M593_700; Page: 345A; Family History Library Film: 552199. (Ancestry.com).

Filipina In Baro’t Saya, Real Photo Postcard

Divided back, unused Real Photo Postcard. Juan Dela Cruz Studio. AZO stamp box, circa 1924 – 1949.

Price:  $12.00

A beautiful young woman in the traditional Filipino dress, baro’t saya, is posing for this portrait that was taken at the Juan Dela Cruz Studio. An unrelated online image was found on Flickr listing this studio location as Tondo, Manila, Philippines, and with an estimated date for that image as 1927. Our photo above of the unknown beauty may have been taken around this time, as well. The broader time frame of circa 1924 – 1949 comes from the AZO stamp box style on the reverse of the card.

The sender of this RPPC signed the back of the postcard but unfortunately, her signature is mostly covered by the black photo album paper the card had been glued to. We can only read what looks like the last two letters of her name (e-t). She wrote:

“Dear Aquiong, A Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year. Lovingly….”

Sources:  Ensemble-Philippines-The Met. Metropolitan Museum of Art. https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/158138. (accessed December 30, 2017).

De Leon, Eduardo. “A studio portrait of a Filipina named Loleng. Juan Dela Cruz Studio, Tondo, Manila. 1927.” 25 Nov 2014. Online image. Flickr. 30 Dec 2017. https://www.flickr.com/photos/edlei/15695528537/in/photostream/

“Real Photo Postcard Stamp Boxes ” AZO (squares in all four corners). Playle.com. (accessed December 30, 2017).