George Gordon Bemis

Set of three:  Two photos size:  About 2 and 1/2 x 3 and 1/4″  and 2 x 6″ and calling card.

Price:  $18.00

Three wonderful finds from Hollister, California:  Formal photography of George Gordon Bemis, as a boy in a sailor suit (name written in pencil on the back) and as a young man in a photo taken by the Bauter photography studio in Antigo, Wisconsin, and lastly, his calling card, showing “G. Gordon Bemis.”

Much can be found online for George Gordon Bemis, born December 2, 1896 in Antigo, Wisconsin, including photos from college yearbooks, WWI Draft registration, census records and a detailed obituary on Find A Grave. The obit states he had married Mary Ross, they had one son, George, Jr., who like his father, became a doctor. G. Gordon Bemis graduated from Harvard with a degree in medicine in 1925. He died in the Bronx, New York October 31, 1982. Backtracking to 1910, the Federal Census taken in Antigo, Wisconsin, shows Gordon with his parents, George M. and Matie E., and sisters Grace M. and Mildred H. His father’s occupation is listed here as timber inspector.

As for the photography studio, we see that it had belonged to photographer Fred W. Bauter, listed on the 1920 census in Antigo, born about 1870. We’ll see if we can find more details for Fred Bauter in an upcoming post.

Sources:  Year: 1910; Census Place: Antigo Ward 1, Langlade, Wisconsin; Roll: T624_1718; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 0039; FHL microfilm: 1375731. (

Fred W. Bauter. Year: 1920; Census Place: Antigo Ward 2, Langlade, Wisconsin; Roll: T625_1993; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 109

Registration State: Wisconsin; Registration County: Dane; Roll: 1674749. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.

Find A Grave Memorial# 114936131. (accessed August 28, 2017).

Flora J. Van Fossen Calling Card

Victorian Era Calling Card, circa 1893

Price:  $7.00         Size:  About 3 and 3/8 x 1 and 5/8″

A lucky horseshoe, a spray of single-petaled pink roses and love….

This card appears to have been made for the Miss Flora J. Van Fossen, born Worcester, Pennyslvania, August 21, 1876, daughter of Josiah Van Fossen and Sarah Louise Jones. Flora married James Stroh January 5, 1894 in Camden, New Jersey. The marriage index record shows “Stroak” as the groom’s surname, no doubt a transcription error when viewing the original.

Sources:  “New Jersey, Marriages, 1670-1980,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 31 March 2016), James R. Stroak and Flora J. Vanfossen, 05 Jan 1894; citing Camden, Camden, New Jersey, United States, Division of Archives and Record Management, New Jersey Department of State, Trenton.; FHL microfilm 495,719.

Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 004651-007200. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1964.

John Adams Handmade Calling Card

Handmade Victorian Era Calling Card

Price:  $6.00       Size:  4 and 3/4 x 1 and 1/16″

Some people collect old handmade cards; here’s our latest offering, and it’s sure a beauty. And certainly not by the early U.S. president but isn’t that what comes to mind when you hear the name John Adams (unless of course you are someone or know someone by this name?!)

T. A. Stephens Calling Card, January 1886

New Year’s Calling Card, January 1, 1886

Price:  $7.00         Size:  3 and 1/2 x 2″

It’s not often that you find a calling card with a date printed on it, and this one was made for the new year that was 1886. It’s not in pristine shape but in nice condition except for some soiling marks, especially considering its present age of 131 years old. The gold-tone edging has also held up well.  “A Happy New Year”  in block lettering is printed on the little fold, as well as a spray of pink flowers with stem and leaves artistically displayed to appear as if fastened to the card, bringing the bearer this small floral offering along with good wishes. The name  “T. A. Stephens”  and the date  “Jan. 1, 1886”  appear in printed script. Most likely it would have been made for a Mister rather than Miss or Mrs. and it’s tempting to start a search in records, if only to come up with a ballpark, maybe comical number of possibilities….

Okay we’ll cave, somewhat:  From U. S. city directories was he the attorney, T. A. who is (Thomas A.) Stephens in Portland, OR, the T. A. in Manatee, FL, the lady in Hennepin, MN? From the T. A. or Thomas A. possibilities from the 1880 Federal Census:  Was he the farmer in Bell County, TX, the clerk in Wilmington, DE, the attorney in Bodie, CA? The list goes on, and there’s probably about 25 possibilities within just the common first name possibility of Thomas and including T. A. It’s fun to imagine though….

Gustaf A. Johnson Calling Card

Gustaf A Johnson cc1Gustaf A Johnson cc2

Here’s another calling card, but there are too many possibilities for this common Swedish name, even with the middle initial included, to try to narrow them down to who this card may have belonged to. The writing on the back (by Gustaf?) is a translation to Swedish of the lovely message that the rosy-cheeked girl displays.

“Across your path may sunbeams play!”

“Må på dén stig solstrålar leka.”

Calling card, embossed. Circa 1880 – 1910.    Size:  3 and 1/2 x 1 and 5/8″

Price:  $4.00

Mrs. S. E. Applegate

Mrs S E Applegate cc1Mrs S E Applegate cc2

This calling card (for lack of a better term) with lovely rose design, has an attached (faded) photo of a woman. The flip side has some other writing on it, besides the identification of  “S. E. Applegate”  and  “Grandma Applegate.”  A name with address appears to be “Mrs. N. Fablinger, 3 E. 3rd St.” [?]  and below that it looks like  “A. L. Arble”  (or short for Arbunkle?) or perhaps it’s reading as,  “A. L. Auble.”  Then we have some more scribbling, from the photographer, we presume,  “Bust as is”  (or Best as is?) and, based on some research, a possible train time schedule, showing,  “431”  and  “Callaway.”  

The most likely candidate…

S. E. Applegate is a name that comes up in census records in various places around the United States. However, after a bit of research, the most likely candidate to fit this photo, is Mrs. Sarah E. Applegate, born Pennsylvania, January 1855. The 1900 Federal Census for Dorp Precinct (Gandy vicinity), Logan County, Nebraska reveals:  John Applegate, born Indiana, January 1839, wife Sarah E., born Pennsylvania, January 1855 and daughter Dalorus (Dolores) born Nebraska December 1881. The 1900 for Gandy lists Nicholas Fablinger, wife Lizzie and daughters, Margaret and Lizzie. And Abraham Auble (Abraham Lincoln Auble per additional records), shows up living in Garfield Precinct, Lincoln County, (southeast of Gandy, a short distance.) The name Callaway (originally thought to be the photographer’s name) shows up as a place name. The town of Callaway is located in Custer County, about 40 miles southeast of Gandy:  hence the thought that the 431 could have a been a quick note jotted down by the photographer re catching the train to meet his appointments. Just doing some quick browsing of historical newspapers, it appears there was a proposed Union Pacific Callaway-Gandy extension, though there was a line running from Kearney to Callaway in year 1900. “Detouring” a little to the subject of the town of Gandy and the proposed line we find an interesting June 1914 article in the Lincoln Star. (Click to enlarge.)


A little more about Sarah E. Applegate…

Per an family tree, Sarah was Sarah Elizabeth Clark, born January 25, 1855. She married John Burge Applegate December 21, 1873 in Lisbon, Iowa, and died May 10, 1909 in Gandy. The 1880 census shows John B. Applegate, wife Sarah, and children, Elizabeth, Cyrus and Frank, living in Precinct 7, Custer County, Nebraska. As previously mentioned, linking the photo to this Sarah is our best guess. Gandy, NE and vicinity seems to be the only area that shows all the names mentioned on the back of the card, though the “3 E. 3rd Ave[?]” is a bit of mystery – if that is what it says, it could be for nearby Arnold, NE.

Calling card, embossed. Circa 1900.    Size:  About 2 and 1/2 x 3 and 7/8″

Price:  $15.00   

Sources:  Year: 1900; Census Place: Dorp, Logan, Nebraska; Roll: 934; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0156; FHL microfilm: 1240934. (

Year: 1900; Census Place: Gandy, Logan, Nebraska; Roll: 934; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 0156; FHL microfilm: 1240934. (

“United States Census, 1880,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 6 June 2015), John B Applegate, Precinct 7, Custer, Nebraska, United States; citing enumeration district 171, sheet 292B, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 0746; FHL microfilm 1,254,746.

“Fire Call From Callaway.” The Kearney Daily Hub. 24 July 1900: p. 3. Web accessed June 6, 2015. (

“Supreme Court Orders A Depot.” The Lincoln Star. 28 Jun 1914: p. 3. Web accessed June 6, 2015. (

Lee T. Lasenby

Lee T Lasenby cc

A calling or business card estimated from about 1900 – 1910s; of the very plain but serviceable variety, of simply the handwritten name on a card of appropriate proportions. This was found in Salinas, California, in an antique store. It brings us around again to briefly musing on the unpredictability of finding (or not finding) corresponding records:  This name was a quick match-up, and without other likely possibilities showing up.

Lee Thomas Lasenby was born September 8, 1880 in Mason, Ingram County, Michigan; the son of Thomas Lasenby and Ella Haines. He married Mary L. Lee on August 9, 1905 in Mason. Lee Lasenby’s occupation was Farmer on the 1918 WWI Draft Registration card and on the 1910 and 1920 Federal Census records. By the 1930 census he was listed as a Cattle Buyer for a stockyard. The city directories show that he also worked as the County Road Commissioner from at least 1927 through part of 1939. He died August 25th of that year, in Detroit. Per the 1920 census, Lee and Mary Lasenby had three daughters, Ruth, Margaret and Harriet.

Calling card or business card. Circa 1900 – 1910s.   Size:  About 3 and 1/8 x 1 and 5/8″

Price:  $4.00

Sources:  Registration State: Michigan; Registration County: Ingham; Roll: 1675755. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.

“Michigan, Marriages, 1822-1995,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 28 April 2015), Lee F. Lasenby and Mary L. Lee, 09 Aug 1905; citing reference p 122, rn 1828; FHL microfilm 977,064.

Year: 1920; Census Place: Vevay, Ingham, Michigan; Roll: T625_771; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 131; Image: 448. (

Lansing and East Lansing City Directories, Vol. 27, p. 492. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989

Lansing City Directory, 1939, p. 311. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989

Find A Grave Memorial# 38058306. Find A Grave. Web accessed April 27, 2015.

A. C. Skinner, Lowell, Mass.

A C Skinner Lowell Mass tc1

This is either a trade card or calling card or maybe a combination of both. A. C. Skinner ran a “fancy goods” store at the address given on this card:  Numbers 58 & 60 Merrimack St. in Lowell, Massachusetts. And the card shows a beautiful little design of a petite lady or elf, holding a few branches with various flowers and leaves; because of the copper and light blue-gray colors of the card they almost appear to be a dried flower arrangement. It’s sort of an awkward pose for the little elf, holding onto a horseshoe (which hangs from a nail) with one arm, and with the other outstretched above her head to display the flowers, and it’s snowing. A somewhat unexpected illustration and ever so charming.

Exactly who A. C. Skinner was was not found in online records, but a huge amount of time was not spent searching. There is a Methodist pastor under this name in Lowell, at Saint Paul’s church in 1916, but one wouldn’t want to assume that they are one in the same. In any case, numerous city directory entries were found for A. C. Skinner showing from at least 1866 through 1870 that his store was located at 63 Merrimack St. and was advertised as “Laces, Embroideries & Dress Trimmings.”  1872 through as late as 1891 he was located at 58 & 60 Merrimack St., and was advertised as  “Fancy Goods.”

The long-time Lowell department store Bon Marché which operated from 1878 – 1976, had an early connection with A. C. Skinner. Bon Marché’s founder, Frederick Mitchell, once worked for A. C. Skinner.

Business and advertising card. Circa 1872 – 1891.   Size:  3 and 7/8″ x 2 and 1/8.”

Price:  $12.00

Sources: U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989. Various Lowell, Massachusetts city directories, 1866 – 1891.

“Remembering Downtown Lowell’s Bon Marché through the Years, 1878-1976.” Forgotten New England, March 6, 2012. Web accessed February 1, 2015.

Lydia M. Wickline

Lydia M Wickline cc2 (2)Lydia M Wickline cc2

This was a great find:  A calling card with a photo! The card bearer’s name appears as Lydia M. Wickline, and her photo, which was glued onto the top part of the card, shows a beautiful young woman in a “Gibson Girl” hairstyle. The expression is open to interpretation, as always. Does she have a little bit of a sadness about the eyes? Maybe, maybe not, in any case it’s a lovely image, even though quite faded, and is surrounded by forget-me-nots and roses with a bow underneath the oval. For me, the contrast between the faded portrait appearing in the center of the brightly colored flowers and greenery enhances the “looking back in time” feel. This is the type of calling card consisting of two parts, where the top die-cut of embossed flowers with photo, is glued to the bottom heavier card containing the name. It opens about three quarters of the way. So as not to damage the card, a photo was taken of the name and cropped as shown above. (The color on the second image is incorrect – in reality it’s the same as the background on the top one. My Photoshop expert was out the door already.)

As to the identify of the young lady, this was not verified but the most likely candidate is Lydia M. Kirby who married Henry A. Wickline in Summers County, West Virginia December 24, 1903. The marriage record shows both were born in Monroe, West Virginia; Henry is age 21, and Lydia age 17; Henry is the son of John Wickline, the mother’s name is not readable (Va?); Lydia is the daughter of James C. and Eliza Kirby. The Wickline name seems to come up most frequently in West Virginia, and others were looked at, of course, but the age or middle initial or spelling of first name did not coincide. So, if this is the correct Lydia, then this photo could have been taken just before or after her marriage, and the calling card made around 1904.

Source:  “West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 22 Jul 2014), Henry A Wickline and Lydia M Kirby, Summers, West Virginia, United States; citing ; FHL microfilm 589346.

Price:  $15.00  Size:  About 2 and 1/2 x 3 and 3/4″

Mae’s Homemade Calling Card

Maes Calling Card cc1Maes Calling Card cc2

It looks like this very cute calling card might have been hand made by or for Mae. It has the owner’s name written on it with a drawing of a clown in polka dots that was cut out and pasted on, and we can see that the clown was thoughtfully chosen, since his bowing pose with hands extended, perfectly fits for the presentation of the owner’s name. The back is charming and humorous and maybe a little politically incorrect. On the back, in pencil, are written the names and nicknames of Mae’s friends. Elsa Bohmansson was called Blondy or Taffy. After Clair Georgeson, someone (probably Mae) wrote, “(She is a bare, oh I mean that’s your name)”. (Isn’t this always the way, when you are trying to stick to a format and you flub it.) We then have Regina Lane, who was called P.D.Q. and last but not least Chunky McKinnon, with his or her address of Arcata, Box 638. The card is dated at the bottom July 10, 1917. After much research, it was found that in 1917, the ages for the friends were between about 14 and 19.

Elsa Bohmannson is listed in the city directories in Eureka, California and there are two photos of her in the school yearbook “The Sequoia” for Eureka High in 1916. She played tennis and basketball. She is also on the 1930 Federal Census in Eureka, living with her widowed father, Robert H. Bohmannson, born in Sweden. He is a druggist, and the 1930 shows Elsa working at the drug store as a stenographer. The California Death Index shows Elsa was born November 13, 1897 and died December 1, 1992, both in California.

Clair Georgeson is in the Federal Census records in Eureka, the Cal death index and trees. Clair Jean Georgeson was born June 20, 1903; died December 4, 1991; married Donald Guthrie; parents George Robert Georgeson and Alice (Randall) Georgeson; siblings Loyd W., Vira A. and Roberta.

Regina Lane is on the 1910 Federal Census in Eureka, born Texas, about 1900, daughter of Charles E. Lane and Sarah Lane, siblings Rosebud J. (unusual name) and Henrietta E.

“Chunky” McKinnon (too bad we don’t know the first name) could have been Wilfred C. McKinnon, born California about 1900, son of George W. and Anna L. McKinnon. The family is living in Arcata, Humbolt County per the 1920 Federal Census.

As for Mae, there are multiple possibilities:  There are separate entries in the census’ records for Mae Falor (or Falon?), Allen and Smith, which may or may not be for Mae (no pun intended.) Or Mae may have been short for something. Mabel Davis or Mayo Hamilton (Mayo – love these unusual names) appear with Elsa Bohmansson in the “Sequoia” the Eureka High school year book in 1916.

This card was interesting to research. I had pictured a group of giggling and adorable girls, maybe age ten or twelve (although true, the writing does look mature) making calling cards for themselves. But of course, after the research that impression changed to one of a group of high school friends, maybe even with the thought in mind that they wanted to keep in touch, as some of them had or would be graduating. Not that these impressions matter but it made me think:  Imagine what nutty and probably incorrect things someone would think about us almost one hundred years later after seeing something we’ve written on.

Price:  $10.00  Size: 2 x 3 and 1/2″

Sources:  Year: 1910; Census Place: Eureka Ward 2, Humboldt, California; Roll: T624_77; Page: 15A; Enumeration District: 0008; FHL microfilm: 1374090. Year: 1920; Census Place: Union, Humboldt, California; Roll: T625_98; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 74; Image: 696Year: 1930; Census Place: Eureka, Humboldt, California; Roll: 120; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 0019; Image: 302.0; FHL microfilm: 2339855. ( California, Death Index, 1940-1997 U.S. School Yearbooks. Eureka High 1916,  “The Sequoia.”