Somebody’s Angel

Mini-photo, Fort Dodge, Iowa. Circa 1906.

Price:  $10.00          Size:  About 1 and 1/4 x 1 and 3/4″

Shades of decades past…

Here’s a miniature photo of an unknown little boy, with blonde hair and an angel face, about five years old. He’s seated in a child’s wooden chair (with carved backrest) and is wearing a dark, double-breasted jacket. For me, the jacket has sort of a military appearance, and reminds me of Civil War days, though, of course, this would have been taken decades later. Photo by:  The Stamp Gallery, 610 1/2 Central Ave., Fort Dodge, Iowa.

The Stamp Gallery, evidently short, but sweet

The business name, The Stamp Gallery, was not found in any online searches. It’s a nice name, though, The Stamp Gallery, and one presumes it would be in reference to the small size of the images produced. (We have some others that are actually closer to postage stamp size. See the category, Mini Photos.) But though we didn’t find the company name, we did find a photographer name at this 610 1/2 Central Avenue, in 1906, that of May E. Hodge. Later that same year, November 29th to be precise, May (Mary Elizabeth) Hodge marries Manning T. McKenzie. So, most likely, the gallery was not in business very long, but, to me, that makes this little photo rather precious.

Five years earlier, siblings on the 1904 directory

May E. Hodge, manager for O. S. Hodge, boards 721 E. Locust St., 1904 Fort Dodge city directory. Listed in the next entry on the same page is:

Oramel S. Hodge, photographer, 221 1/2 Locust and 200 E. Locust, residence 709 E. Locust.

To find the relationship between the two, we went back to the 1880 Federal Census for Indianola, IA, showing Mary Hodge, born Iowa, about 1873, younger sister of Oramel S. Hodge, born Iowa, about 1870. Their parents are J. D. and Emily (Hinckley) Hodge, and siblings on the 1880 are Luvilla and Eliza.

Sources:  R. L. Polk & Co.’s Fort Dodge City Directory, 1906. p. 110. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

R. L. Polk & Co.’s Fort Dodge City Directory, 1904. p. 478. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

Year: 1880; Census Place: Indianola, Warren, Iowa; Roll: 368; Family History Film: 1254368; Page: 377A; Enumeration District: 232. ( Iowa, Select Marriages Index, 1758-1996.

Mrs. Thysell Restored


Mini-photo, circa 1890 – 1910.

Availability status:  SOLD 

Size including matting:  2 and 1/2 x 4″

Well, we appreciate whoever it was that wrote the name of this beautiful young woman on the back, even though it was only the married surname. I feel compelled to say thank you, too, to the unknown pencil-scribbler for at least limiting the scribbling to the background! And for sure, a more professional restoration could be done, but she turned out pretty good, after some time spent in Photoshop. Love the flowers added to her Gibson Girl hairstyle. Reverse below:


As to the origin of the surname Thysell, this name comes up most often in Sweden, and we find several possibilities from Minnesota records for our subject:  Was she Emma Roberts, born 1877 in Norway who married Carl John Thysell….or the Caroline E. Nelson born about 1880 in Minnesota who married Nels Albert Thysell….or the Emilia, born 1874 in Sweden who married Albin Gustav Thysell….or the Helen Nelson, born 1880 in Sweden that married Emil Theodore Thysell….or none of the above?

Update!  Mystery solved thanks to contact (see comment) from a granddaughter:  The woman in the photo is Caroline E. Thysell, maiden name Nelson, wife of Nels Albert Thysell.

Jenevieve, Bank Inspector



Mini-photo, circa 1900 – 1920s

Price:  $10.00            Size:  About 1 and 3/16 x 1 and 5/8″

A mini-photo of a beautiful dark-haired girl in winter-ish coat and spring hat. The writing on the back, in pencil, had been almost completely covered with black photo album paper (you know the type) but we discovered that applying water softens the paper so that it can be peeled and scraped off. Oh, and then Googled the “how to” question and saw that yep, it works on the old photos with writing underneath (in pencil, the source wasn’t sure about ink) because, after all, the photo would have been dipped in water before being hung to dry. (It would have eased my mind to have read this first, but still!) Anyway, she’s very photogenic, with that arresting look. And, oh what a hat! Straw and fabric or just fabric maybe, but the shape, along with the subtle pleats on the underside, reminds one of a flower. As to the writing:  What we can make out says,  “Jenevieve….” with something underneath that we can’t make out, and next, our best guess “Bank Inspector.” (Well, inspector misspelled. Plenty of entries were found under this given name cross-referenced with occupation.) And at the bottom right corner, maybe  ” H. C. MO.” Hmmm, one of the counties in Missouri that begins with “H” or maybe an abbreviated company name? And if she was not a bank inspector, well, we hope she’s laughing somewhere at this, but it does sound very dramatic, doesn’t it? Jenevieve, Bank Inspector!

Hello, Old Sport

Hello Old Sport p1Hello Old Sport p2

Set of 2 sepia-toned mini-photos. Renault and driver. Circa 1924.

Price:  $10.00

Size of top photo:  About 2 and 5/8 x 1 and 5/8.”    Size of bottom photo:  About 2 and 3/4 x 1 and 5/8.”

While out one afternoon with my friend, Tina (thinking it may have been last year, time flies, good grief!) we stopped at a thrift store, and I found a cool-looking book My Father Mr. Mercédès by Guy Jellinek-Mercédès (copyright 1961 and translated by Ruth Hassell). Someone (thank you!) had placed these two old photos within the pages. I think we were in Pacific Grove at the time, so it’s possible that the photos were local or at least taken in California. There is no writing on the back of either, so the name of the young man proudly showing off his car, is unknown. Though grainy, the shots are perfect for being able to identify the make, model and year, as in:  there’s the front on a nice angle, and a full side view. We’re looking at the steering wheel on the left, a horn on the outside, the hood coming to a point with a small round grill in the center, side vents and five characters in the license plate (018 – M3). But after browsing through hundreds of images online yesterday, the match was not found. My brilliant mechanic techno hubby is all into the newer stuff (we’re opposites) and he tells me he’s seen the model before but just can’t place the name. Maybe someone out there will recognize this car immediately and will comment, but if not I’ll try to hunt down some local experts who will know….

Update:  Thanks to the lightning-quick help on the forum from one of the members of the Antique Automobile Club of America:  This car is a Renault, circa 1924. In searching for Renault in this time period the word Torpedo shows up quite a bit, but FYI, the “torpedo body” style was not exclusive to Renault, and is a term that shows up in old newspapers at least as early as July 25, 1909 per the article below:

The Torpedo Body

Source:  St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, Missouri) 25 Jul 1909, Sun. Main Edition, p. 2. (

Pickard’s Gentleman

Pickards Gentleman pc1Pickards Gentleman pc2

Mini photo of unknown gentleman taken by a studio shown on the back as Pickard’s Little Photos. The addresses given are 245 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania and Dekalb Street (near the bridge) in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Although it appears that there is something underneath this photo (like a mystery photo – wouldn’t that be cool!) there really isn’t. The oval is one complete image that was glued on to the cardboard frame. It would seem that the part at the bottom must of been an error that occurred in the photo processing.

Surprisingly, nothing was found regarding this studio, nor the photographer, as of the date of this post, with the exception of another photo (on eBay) by the Pickard studio, showing the 245 Bridge Street address, with an estimated date from the 1890s. So, this is another for the mystery pile, and one to re-visit later, for more research.

As for the gentleman in the photo, he looks to be about in his late 20s – early 40s, is seated and wearing a suit coat with vest, a white shirt with high turned-down collar and striped tie. The photo is done in brown tones, with the cardboard frame in brown and a nice scroll work design in a cream color that frames the oval photo. The date is unknown, circa 1910s – early 1920s.

Size including cardboard frame:  About 2 and 1/2 x 2″

Price:  $7.00

What A Hat!

What a Hat

Oval miniature photo on cardboard matting, circa 1880s – 1890s.

Price:  $5.00        Size including matting:  2 x 3″

Another miniature photo found in Salinas, California (I think.) Woman in feathered hat, possibly ostrich. The size including the cardboard mat is 2 inches wide x 3 inches high. The photo itself measures about 2/3 of an inch wide x almost 1 inch tall. The original photo is clear, but impossible to get the clarity in the scan unless we were to remove the photo from the cardboard. It’s highly unlikely that a name was put on the back of the photo.

Smiling Woman with Necklace

Smiling Woman with Necklace

Miniature oval photo on cardboard matting. Circa 1880s – 1890s.

Price:  $5.00       Size including frame:  2 x 3″

Miniature photo of unknown young woman, found in Salinas, California (I think.) The size including the cardboard mat is 2 inches wide x 3 inches high. The photo itself measures about 2/3 of an inch wide x almost 1 inch tall. This scanned image is a little dark and not as clear as the original, due to the fact that the matting is raised and the image is not laying on the glass when scanned.

Somewhere in Time

Mother and Daughter Mini

Oval miniature photo on cardboard matting, circa 1880s – 1900.

Price:  $5.00      Size including frame:  2 x 3″

Possibly mother and daughter, or sisters, friends, cousins? To me there is a family resemblance. Miniature photo found in Salinas, California (I think.) The size including the cardboard matting is 2 inches wide x 3 inches high. The photo itself measures about 2/3 of an inch wide x almost 1 inch tall. This scanned image is not as clear as the original, due to the fact that the mat is raised and the image is not laying on the glass when scanned.