A Happy Easter To Irving Felix

Divided back, unused postcard. Circa 1914 – 1919. Publisher unknown. Easter series number 36, design 103.

Price:  $10.00

“A Happy Easter – Here’s a wish from a friend

And a greeting true

Just a remembrance, – from me to –

You.”

There are layers to everything, the history of an object, for instance – who made it and how it ended up in where it did, and we’ve remarked on this thought in prior posts, but this card has a special poignancy. And it’s a strange feeling to hold a postcard in your hands that was sent over a century ago and know the fate of the little boy it had been given to. And if our perception of time is normally felt as linear, this is one of those instances that stands out as something different, as if you could walk into the next room and meet the Felix family over Easter dinner. For it was a gut-wrenching discovery to find that Irving Arthur Felix was one of the men serving on USS Houston (CA-30) the heavy cruiser that went down during the Battle of Sunda Strait, off the northern coast of Java during WWII, along with her ally, Australian light cruiser, HMAS Perth (D-29).This after a valiant and greatly outnumbered Allied fight against the Imperial Japanese Navy forces in the vicinity. The numbers vary slightly in different accounts, but of Houston’s crew of 1,068, the survivors numbered 368, surviving only to be taken prisoner and interred in various POW camps. Seventy-nine of the prisoners died, of which Irving Felix was one. According to articles in Iowa newspapers, his family (wife, parents and brother and sister) found out around March 1942 that he was reported missing in action, and learned of his death sometime before July 15th ’43. He died April 26, 1943 at age 29 and was buried in Batavia, (now Jakarta) Java with full military honors. His grave site was later moved (or added, not sure if the original still exists) to Riverside Cemetery, Charles City, Iowa.

The postcard:

Addressed to:   “Mr. Irving Felix, Floyd Iowa.”

The sender wrote:  “Dear Irving: – Here is a card for you even if you can not read it. Inez you can read it. how is that song he sings with the rooster on his arm.    Aunt Tena[?]”

 1920 census info….

Irving Felix was found on the 1920 Federal Census for Rudd Township, Floyd County, Iowa, age 6, and we’re not sure at what age he learned to read, but Inez is his older sister who, like their aunt had suggested, could have read the card to him. From the 1920:  Parents Clarence A. Felix (age 33) and Ida Felix (age 36) and children Inez (age 11) Ivan (age 8) and Irving (age 6). All are born on Iowa, and both the parents are of German heritage. Clarence’s occupation is farmer.

In closing….

To the boy who sang a song about a rooster, and to paraphrase the verse on this card,  “Here’s a wish from friends true, and a heartfelt thank you, from us to you.”  (In remembrance of all lives lost during wartime and a prayer for peace and unity of all on our planet.)

Sources:  USS Houston (CA-30). n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Houston_(CA-30) (accessed April 12, 2020).

HMAS Perth (D-49) n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMAS_Perth_(D29) (accessed April 14, 2020).

Battle of Sunda Strait. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Sunda_Strait. (accessed April 12, 2020).

Year: 1920; Census Place: Rudd, Floyd, Iowa; Roll: T625_490; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 120. (Ancestry.com).

“St. Ansgar Man Is Missing After Java Sea Battle With Asiatic Fleet; Irving Felix of Rudd, Also Reported Lost.” The Courier (Waterloo, Iowa). March 17, 1942. Tuesday, p. 7. (Newspapers.com).

“Sailor Dies in Japanese Camp.” Globe-Gazette (Mason City, Iowa). July 15, 1943. Thursday, p. 6. (Newspapers.com).

Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 14 April 2020), memorial page for Irving Arthur Felix (15 Jan 1914–28 Apr 1948), Find a Grave Memorial no. 32213511, citing Riverside Cemetery, Charles City, Floyd County, Iowa, USA ; Maintained by Kathy Gerkins (contributor 39861343) .

Pommery Champagne Ad 1915

I love crows, so here’s a beauty, he’s opening a Pommery brand champagne bottle. This was cropped from the ad below that appeared in the winter 1915 edition of The Master Grocer.

Source:  Goldberg Bowen & Co.’s The Master Grocer. Winter, 1915. Vol. 45, number 2. (Google.com books).

Thanksgiving Day From Anna Budd

Divided back, embossed postcard. Postmarked November 25, 1907 from Pensacola, Florida. Publisher:  Raphael Tuck & Sons. “Thanksgiving Day Post Cards” Series Number 123.

Price:  $12.00

Happy Thanksgiving!  Here’s a charmer from publisher Raphael Tuck & Sons, a turkey couple out for a drive in 1907.

Mailed to:   “Miss Grace Snyder. Stevensville, Sull. Co., N. Y.”  That’s Sullivan County. Stevensville later became Swan Lake.

The sender wrote:   “We are all well and hope this finds you all the same. I wish you and your mamma a happy Thanksgiving – With love from Anna Budd.    will write soon.”

Grace Snyder, born about 1892, was the daughter of Nelson H. Snyder and Evelyn Racine. On December 4, 1911 Grace married William Hathaway, born about 1887, son of Eli Hathaway and Lettie Van Orden. Bride and groom were both living in Stevensville, NY at the time of marriage.

Anna is Anna H. Budd, born January 1893, daughter of Morris D. and Carrie E. Blackmon. The 1900 census shows Anna, her parents, her old brother John (all born in New York) and her younger sister Florida, who was born in……..Florida (awww!)

Sources:  Marriage Records. New York Marriages. Various New York County Clerk offices.  (Ancestry.com).

Year: 1900; Census Place: Kupfrians Park, Escambia, Florida; Page: 4; Enumeration District: 0013; FHL microfilm: 1240168. (Ancestry.com).

“Mrs. Carrie E. Budd” obituary. The Herald-News. (Passaic, NJ). December 1, 1941. Monday, p. 8. (Newspapers.com).

Swan Lake, New York. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swan_Lake,_New_York. (accessed November 28, 2019).

Photo Op By The Lake

Vintage photo, circa 1950s.

Price:  $4.00       Size:  About 3 and 3/8 x 2″

Maybe Michigan, probably 1950s

An African-American family possibly taken in Michigan, where the photo was found. Were they on their way out to breakfast or church? Was the location a vacation spot for them or taken near home or were they visiting relatives? We’ll probably never know unless by some amazing serendipitous event someone’s browsing and happens to recognize these people. Not unheard of. I’ve been reading Henry Z. “Hank” Jones, Jr.’s Psychic Roots, Serendipity & Intuition in Genealogy.”  If you do family research, for example, chances are excellent that you can recount multiple instances of that feeling of “being led” to a spectacular find. Or, on the opposite side, if you sell or post family photos or other items you may have a story of someone walking into your store and finding their relatives’ “lost” family album, or seeing someone happen upon a postcard that they themselves had written and mailed fifty years ago. In our talks with sellers we’ve heard a surprising number of such accounts. The kind that make your hair stand up on the back of your neck (in a good way!). Here’s one from my family:

Serendipity in Montréal

Maybe fifteen or twenty years ago, I’ve forgotten by now, I was with some family members vacationing in Montréal. Sitting on the beds in the motel we were trying to figure out what to do for the day, looking at brochures. I was drawn to the one on the Pointe-à-Callière Museum and felt we “had to” go there, that it was important to go. In one of the exhibits we saw an artist’s rendition of a mother holding a child. Standing in front of this drawing I had a strong urging to take a photo. Immediately the thought came into my head,  “Why? It’s not like you’re related to her or anything.”  Ahhh, but as you’ve guessed 🙂 she (beautiful Charlotte, specifically Marie Charlotte Gloria dit Roch or DesRoches) turned out to be, not just any relative necessarily, but mine and my siblings’ 6th-great grandmother. (See Collections archéologiques for a photo of the handle of a tool? with Charlotte’s name carved on it. This was one of many artifacts that had been uncovered at the site of what is called “the birthplace of Montréal” and what later became the museum.) Now, at that point I hadn’t yet researched that particular line, and had never even come across her name. It was not till a few years later, while searching my Dufour side online, and “climbing the tree” by finding my direct ancestor Pierre Dufour that there, lo and behold, was his wife, Charlotte Roch. Wait, what??? (Jaw-dropping, falling out of chair.) Not the end of the story, though. For about a week after that, what seemed like every time I got into the car, I heard Chuck Berry’s, “You Never Can Tell” either just playing or as the next offering by the d.j. You know the lyrics, ♪ “It was a teenage wedding and the old folks wished them well. You could see that Pierre did truly love the mademoiselle.” ♪ True, Pierre was not a teenager when they wed, and though Charlotte was, that was not unusual in the least at that time, but it was the true love part that seemed to be the point of what felt like a message bridging “time.” (What is time? 😉 ) Records show that Pierre and Charlotte had eleven kids and, of course, have many many descendants. Notable is the birthplace of their second child. Their first was born in Montréal, and the youngest nine in Detroit. But the baptismal record (all are in French) for their second child, Marie Charlotte Dufour, states she was born in the  “8yattenons.”  (French-Canadian priests sometimes wrote a number to denote a sound or abbreviate a word, for instance “7bre” for septembre, which by the way, can be confusing when reading the record, the digit 7 but the 9th month!) The appellation 8yattenons was used for Fort Ouiatenon. This has been verified in other unrelated records, and the fact that Pierre was a soldier when he and his young family left Montréal adds credibility to daughter Charlotte having been born at or near this fort. Well, this ended up to be a lengthy sidetrack off the subject of this post, that of the vintage photo from the 1950s, yikes! But definitely, if you’d like to share your own stories of the serendipity-amazing luck-small world type we’d love to hear them.

Back to the photo…..

Amazing how every photo transmits so much. An everyday moment maybe, but no less special, as when we look we see the smiles, and the grace and humor, maybe get a sense of the struggles, and yet the joy, in a backdrop, no, make that of a oneness with, a particular place and time, and somehow in total it all washes over us like a blessing…. No identifying info on the back, but maybe we’re looking at a photo of a husband and wife and mother or auntie or older sister of either? All three are very stylish. Love the striped tie on the gentleman. I think of him as Clarence (heehee, he’s likely laughing somewhere now). There’s the flashy belt the older woman wears that’s caught the lens light……there’s the very chic pose of the younger woman, and….her skirt. Check out the pattern on the fabric, a surprise and a delight:  Chickens!

Bluebirds for F. E. Cadwell

Postcard postmarked September 28, 1917 from Worcester, Massachusetts. Publisher unknown. Series or number 1020.

Price:  $7.00

A pretty lake scene done in mostly vertical lines. You might expect to see an artist’s signature at the bottom, but no…..just the sentiments, Many Happy Returns.

Addressed to:   “Mr. F. E. Cadwell, 17 Brigham Park, Fitchburg, Mass.”

The sender wrote:   “Congratulations – When are you coming over. Thought you would be here before this – No news with me. Ernest & family still on their vacation in N. H. – Love Flora – “

Per the 1917 Fitchburg city directory, F. E. is Fred E. Cadwell (Fitchburg Produce Co.) It’s not stated whether he is the owner of this company or an employee. Per marriage and census records he was born in Enfield, MA about 1870, and married Eda Commings June 23, 1891.

Sources:  The Price & Lee Co.’s Fitchburg Directory 1917, p. 162. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

Year: 1920; Census Place: Fitchburg Ward 5, Worcester, Massachusetts; Roll: T625_746; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 61. (Ancestry.com).

Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Vital and Town Records. Provo, UT: Holbrook Research Institute (Jay and Delene Holbrook). (Ancestry.com).

A Prosperous New Year To Vera Willson

Divided back, embossed postcard. Postmarked December 31st, circa 1910, year missing. Publisher:  International Art Publishing Co. “New Year Post Card Series No. 19.”

Price:  $6.00

Two adorable bluebirds (artist interpretation) resting on an evergreen branch, are sheltering from the falling snow under an umbrella. This is the first item in The Willson Family Collection. Photos of some of the family members have been found, and will go up early this year. Lots to research!

Addressed to:   “Miss Vera Willson, Bx 543, Gilroy, Cal.”

Vera’s friend wrote:   “My dear friend:-  I thank you for the Christmas card. I am very glad you remembered me.Yours sincerely[?] HL. Bx 238.”

The front of the postcard has the sender’s last name but we didn’t find anything for him in census or city directories, likely due to the full surname being hard to read. Looks like Linden-something. We tried various possibilities but nothing came up.

Swans Ringing The Bell

Divided back, unused postcard. Publisher:  Dawkes & Partridge, 29 High Street, Wells. Number 25.

Price:  $2.00

A Dawkes & Partridge postcard with the description:

“Swans Ringing The Bell. The picturesque Moat which surrounds Bishop’s Palace, at Wells, is noted for its beautiful Swans. A unique and interesting habit of these Swans is to ring, when hungry, for food; a bell being placed beneath the window from which the food is thrown. The Swans were first taught to ring the bell by Miss Eden, daughter of Lord Auekland, Bishop of Bath & Wells, A. D. 1854 – 69.”

The swan tradition has continued till the present day, though a recent article from the BBC dated October 24, 2018 reported that the resident swan and her brood has re-located.

Source:  “Bell-ringing swan Wynn leaves The Bishop’s Palace.” https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-somerset-45967935 (accessed November 11, 2018).

At Play On The Doorstep

Card, lithograph with initials G.R. for artist, publisher or lithography company. Circa 1880s – 1890s.

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

Here’s some gorgeous color in the midst of a series of mostly black and white photos….A rooster and chicken attend two children at play on the doorstep of the children’s cabin home; the wooden doorstep being the perfect place to set up the little toy house and trees and people….There is no advertisement or identifying writing on the back, but someone had loved this small lithograph. It was found in an antique store in Salinas, CA. The initials G. R. (or R. G.?) that we see in the lower left corner, may be for the artist, the publisher or the litho company, but we’re betting they were for the artist.