Joe Selva in Army Uniform, Italy

Old photo, WWI Era, Italy.

Price:  $12.00            Size:  2 and 1/8 x 3 and 1/8″

Switching to a couple of random posts before we get to holiday cards….

A handsome young man, Joe Selva, in Italian army uniform, with his cappello alpino (alpine hat). Either Joe, or a family member, would have emigrated to the U. S., as this was found in an antique shop in Nevada. It appears to be from the WWI Era.

Source:  Cappello Alpino. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cappello_Alpino (accessed December 22, 2022).

Gator Wrestling

Old photo, white border. Circa 1920s – 1930s.

Price:  $5.00           Size:  2 and 3/4 x 4 and 1/2″

The condition of this one is not great – with the crease on the bottom right and the image being pretty washed out, but it is one of a kind, and that’s always nice, since it was taken by an individual, rather than produced in numbers for the tourist trade. It shows a young man of the Seminole Nation, his legs on either side of a belly-up alligator, gator’s snout to young man’s chin; a line of spectators in the back; and another gator, under the palm tree. Enlarge the image (twice) for a better look.

See the links below for a few articles on the subject of alligator wrestling. And maybe you’ve had a similar experience, so I’ll share something here:  Rarely have I felt so overwhelmed by a photo:

I’ve been wrestling (no pun intended) with finishing this post, having re-written it several times – and have come to the conclusion that this photo is “weighty” for me. For one thing, a doorway to history – flipping back thru time with the Seminole people – life before tourism, before the tragedy of the Glades being diminished, pride for the Seminoles to have never signed a “peace” treaty with the U.S. government…..And this photo’s era – Florida in the ’20’s and ’30’s being a particular draw for me – that déja vu feeling, with it’s invariable why?……And questions for the present and future, our planet and its welfare (anguish) gators and all, and then jumping back to this particular gator and this particular wrestler, and the feelings and impressions of those spectators…. Multiple pathways to travel down. Maybe I’ll be drawn back to it all later, when I’m older and hopefully, wiser.

Some related articles:

Fitzner, Zach. “Alligator wrestling in Florida may soon become a thing of the  past.” Earth.com, April 18, 2019. https://www.earth.com/news/alligator-wrestling-florida/ (accessed November 20, 2022).

Lipscomb, Jessica. “Study, Actually Alligator Wrestling Is Bad.” Miami New Times, November 24, 2020. https://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/study-says-floridas-alligator-wrestling-attractions-are-harmful-11748501 (accessed November 20, 2022).

Oztaskin, Murat. “How Florida’s Seminole Tribe Transformed Alligator Wrestling Into A Symbol of Independence.” The New Yorker, January 27, 2021. https://www.newyorker.com/culture/the-new-yorker-documentary/how-floridas-seminole-tribe-transformed-alligator-wrestling-into-a-symbol-of-independence. (accessed November 20, 2022).

Lewis and Boyd and the Ford Coupe, Havre MT

Old photo, white border. Velox print. Fritz Studio, Havre, Montana. June 9, 1927.

Price:  $6.00

“Lewis & Boyd & the Ford Coupe he had two yrs. ago.”

No luck in determining Boyd’s surname and too many possibilities for Lewis. Still, a cool picture. And we’re presuming that is Boyd on our left (arm on window, foot on running board – that’s an ownership pose if ever we saw one, and is that a camera in his left hand?). Love Lewis’ position at this moment in time, too – the wide stance, hands in overalls, hat pushed back. All in all, a nice 1920’s-era shot of two guys and a car.

The Fritz Studio:  This was Frank Fritz (haha, no not Frankie from t.v.) and his studio in Havre was located at 217 3rd Avenue.

Frank was born in June 11, 1878 in St. Cloud, Minnesota, son of Andrew Fritz and Mary (Braun) Fritz. Though on his WWI Draft Registration Card he stated 1880 for year of birth, the 1880 Federal Census shows he was already two years old at that time and a short bio (to that point) for him appears in the History of Stearns County, Minnesota (1915) that also indicates 1878:

“Frank Fritz, St. Cloud photographer, was born in the city where he still resides, June 11, 1878, son of Andrew and Mary (Braun) Fritz. He attended school in St. Cloud, and afterward taught for awhile. For a time he was in partnership with his brother, John J., in the photograph business. For some years he has conducted a studio of his own and does some excellent work. He is a member of the Elks, the Knights of Columbus, and the Eagles.”

For more on the Fritz Family see the link above.

Later in 1915, Frank sold his studio in St. Cloud to Louis W. Olsen.

We couldn’t find city directories online to narrow down a date, but Fritz must have relocated to Havre in the latter part of 1915 or early 1916. The article below from The Havre Daily News in 1926, indicates he’d been in a particular location in that city since 1918:

On September 28, 1923, Frank married Maude H. Phifer, in Billings, Montana. He passed away in 1932.

Sources:  R. L. Polk & Co.’s Havre City Directory, 1929-’30. p. 55. Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995.

Year: 1880; Census Place: Saint Cloud, Stearns, Minnesota; Roll: 634; Page: 441D; Enumeration District: 113 (Ancestry.com).

Mitchell, William Bell. History of Stearns County, Minnesota, 1915. Volume 1, pp. 697 – 698. (books.google.com).

Bulletin of Photography. P. 154. Publisher Frank V. Chambers, Philadelphia PA. Vol. 17. July 7 – December 29, 1915. (books.google.com).

Montana State Historical Society; Helena, Montana; Montana, County Marriages, 1865-1950. (Ancestry.com).

“Fritz Studio And Electric Shop Move Into New Building, Formal Openings Scheduled For Monday.”  The Havre Daily News, October 3, 1926. Sunday, p. 1. (Newspapers.com).

Find a Grave. Find a Grave. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi.

A Simoan Tribute

Vintage photo, white border, circa mid 1930s – mid-1950s.

Price:  $12.00            Size:  3 and 11/16 x 2 and 1/2″

The car…..

We look to the car in this photo for a jumping off point for approximate date. I was struck by the unusual-looking hubcaps and asked the hubby who stated the hubcap is the round center part, the rest is rim, maybe a 3-piece rim and they look painted, and it’s probably a Ford…..I was then checking Ford convertibles with rumble seats (you see it sticking up in the back minus the padding) but getting frustrated for pinpointing the year. No prob though, whenever I get stuck I go to the Antique Automobile Club of America forum readers for help. (Great people, lightning-quick, detailed responses, awesome!) And yes, it’s a Ford, likely with painted rims. Here is one of the responses below:

“Definitely a Model A Ford roadster – you can see the corner of the windshield behind the guy’s left shoulder.  The shape of the fenders and the bead on the hood above the louvers makes it a 1930 or 31.  However, the headlights might be 28 – 29 as they look a little pointy on the back.  30 – 31 are rounded.  It might be a DeLuxe as rumble seat was standard on those, although it was optional on Standards.  The back cushion is easily removed and yes, it’s missing.  The artillery wheels are similar to 36 – 39 Ford but I think they’re aftermarket.  They probably are composed of separate parts but welded and/or riveted into one piece (not counting the removable hubcap).  Yes, they probably were painted and the contrasting painted trim on the spokes was common on those style wheels.”

Gannon……

The dark-haired young man, about age 25 we’ll guess, is wearing a grass skirt (!) and posing for the camera. At first glance it kind of looks like the entire “Samoa” banner is part of his outfit and he unfolded it like a cape (or unfurled his “wings”  – gotta give credit to a different forum commenter for the wings idea – love it! Credit also due to another person for wondering if, what I’m calling a banner, could be part of a “traditional ceremonial dance costume”. Good thought.) But anyway, I think the banner was attached at each end to the car…..Presumably, either the guy’s given or surname is Gannon, since this is written on the back. (Yes, Gannon does show up in some records as a first name.) And there’s too many possibilities to try to pinpoint Gannon, or at least not without days of research, but maybe he was born around 1925, entered the Navy and traveled the Pacific, stopping in Samoa. (Just a theory.) And, though this photo could be from maybe the mid-’30s, due to its aftermarket parts, my first thought is that it was mid-’40’s to mid-’50’s for when this snap was taken.

Lastly, and if you’ve stuck with me for this long 😉 ……

In the background we see a couple of small boats perched on land, a telephone pole, a wooden fence, and on our left, maybe a couple of other boats further in the distance. We note that car and man are on a cobblestone surface. Last but not least, we see the two other people “appearing” in this shot – one was the person taking the picture. They were there, but we only see their shadows. (I love this type of thing – the contribution to the image via the shadows.)

Source:  “Help to i.d. a convertible with rumble seat.” Posted in “What is it?” Response by CHuDWah posted October 7, 2023. forums.aaca.org.

Miss Ada Clarice Atkins

Old photo. Root Photography Studio, Chicago, Illinois. Circa 1907 – 1915.

Price:  $30.00              Size:  4 and 9/16 x 6 and 3/8″

A portrait in profile of a beautiful young woman. Note the intricate hairstyle, the lace dress with small decorative bows and the pearl-like choker necklace. Estimating that she was around age 19 to 27 in this photo.

On the reverse, a will of sorts……

“Ada Clarice Atkins born Kansas City, Missouri [photo by Root, Chicago]. Henry J. Atkins wills to the above named daughter all real estate free from any indeptedness. And personal property; of every description in his posession, with no incumbrance:  free from any claim, all real estate is held in joint tenacy or arranged for same. As also joint savings account in bank.   H. J. Atkins, Jan 23rd 1943. 1253 West 37th drive, Los Angeles, Califa.”

Would the above have held up in court since there is no witness signature? I’m not sure what the law in California was in 1943. And it’s unusual to find this type of paragraph on the back of a photo. Interestingly, (and thankfully) Henry J. Atkins lived well past 1943, passing away in 1959, at the age of 94.

Ada was born in November of 1888, the daughter of Henry Atkins and Louise M. Bleitz. (Date of birth is from Find A Grave, though the place of birth listed there for Ada is Illinois, which has to be is incorrect, since all of Ada’s census records indicate Missouri, and of course, the info on the back of the photo, written by her father, states Kansas City, Missouri.) Ada never married and lived at the family home of her parents. She was an accomplished vocalist as evidenced in the following article appearing in the Los Angeles Evening Express:

The difference between a coloratura and a soprano, from the Study.com website, is as follows:

“A soprano is a singer with a high vocal range, but does not necessarily possess the ability to sing fast notes and passages with agility and ease. A coloratura soprano is a specific type of voice that contains the skills and virtuosity to sing difficult, rapid runs, trills, and arpeggios with great vocal dexterity.”

Root photographers or Root Studio – The photographer may have been William J. Root, who was prominent in Chicago. See pages 693-4 on W. J. Root appearing in an 1894 publication about Industrial Chicago.

Sources:  Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/10849154/ada-clarisse-atkins: accessed 03 October 2022), memorial page for Ada Clarisse Atkins (9 Nov 1888–7 May 1974), Find a Grave Memorial ID 10849154, citing Angelus Rosedale Cemetery, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA; Maintained by GerbLady (contributor 46637511) .

Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/10849191/louise-m-atkins: accessed 03 October 2022), memorial page for Louise M. Bleitz Atkins (5 Mar 1865–23 Jan 1943), Find a Grave Memorial ID 10849191, citing Inglewood Park Cemetery, Inglewood, Los Angeles County, California, USA; Maintained by GerbLady (contributor 46637511).

“Caruso Airs at Lincoln Park.”  Los Angeles Evening Express. August 6, 1921. Saturday, p. 2. (Newspapers.com).

Klein, Julianne. “Coloratura Soprano.” April 13, 2022. https://study.com/learn/lesson/coloratura-soprano-arias-technique.html (accessed October 3, 2022).

Industrial Chicago, Vol. 5. The Commercial Interests. (1894) “W. J. Root.” Chicago:  The Goodspeed Publishing Co. (Google Book search).

The Falveys Get Back to the Country, 1929

Old photo, white border. Dated July, 1929.

Price:  $15.00            Size:  About 6 and 3/4 x 4 and 1/2″

Sláinte!………..Some glasses are raised in salute here – in celebration of something, maybe just in the happiness of getting back to the ranch.

The Falvey Family lived in San Francisco, but it seems likely they owned some property outside of the city. Indeed, a 1905 newspaper article in the San Francisco Chronicle, mentions the family,  “preparing to go into the country for the summer.”  

Falvey is an Irish surname, and one we hadn’t come across until now. From Wikipedia:

“Falvey is a surname which is an anglicisation of the name Ó Fáilbhe:  in the Irish language Ó means “descendant” [of] and “fáilbhe” literally means “lively, pleasant, sprightly, merry, cheerful” or, according to another historian, “joker”. Other anglicisations include O’Falvie, O’Falvy, O’Failie, O’Falvey, Falvey, Fealy and Fealey.”

From the photo:

Arthur Falvey, born February 17, 1877 in San Francisco, California.

Gertrude (Green) Falvey, born November 9, 1879 in California. Daughter of James Green and Annie Ryder, both born in Ireland.

Son, Jack Falvey, born September 29, 1913 in San Francisco.

Jamie(?) and Evelyn, surnames unknown.

Sources: Year: 1920; Census Place: San Francisco Assembly District 27, San Francisco, California; Roll: T625_142; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 329.(Ancestry.com).

Year: 1930; Census Place: San Francisco, San Francisco, California; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 0237; FHL microfilm: 2339938. (Ancestry.com).

California Birth Index, 1905-1995. (Ancestry.com).

San Francisco Area Funeral Home Records, 1895-1985. Microfilm publication, 1129 rolls. Researchity. San Francisco, California. (Ancestry.com).

Falvey. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falvey. (accessed September 22, 2022).

“Jumps From Roof After A Robbery.” San Francisco Chronicle. Friday, April 21, 1905. p. 16.

Ruth Bower and Family, Pontiac, Michigan, Circa 1923

Old photo, white border. 92 Oak Hill St., Pontiac, Michigan. Circa 1923.

Price:  $15.00          Size:  3 and 7/16 x 5 and 9/16″

A lovely snap, half-posed, half-candid of family life in Pontiac, Michigan, about 1923……

The reverse shows:   “Oak Hill St, Grama & Grampa Bower, Ruth, Helen, Al.”

This will be a great photo addition for descendants of this particular Bower family. This snapshot was taken at 92 Oak Hill Street, Pontiac, Michigan, the house having been fairly recently built – in 1920 (according to Zillow.com).

Ruth Esther Bower (born 1905 in Detroit, MI) is the young lady smiling for the camera. She is the daughter of the older couple on the porch, who are Charles Bower (born 1856 in E. Hamburgh, NY) and Hannah Prudence (Allen) Bower (born 1867 in Avoca, St. Clair, MI). The two children are the couple’s grandchildren and Ruth’s niece and nephew. They are Helen Mae Bower (born 1914 in North Branch, MI) and Alvah B. Bower (born 1921 in Pontiac, MI). Helen and Alvah are the children of Henry Earl Bower and Minnie (Yerden) Bower, and this is their home at 92 Oak Hill, in Pontiac.

Sources:  “92 Oakhill St, Pontiac, MI 48342.” zillow.com. (Accessed September 20, 2022.)

Michigan Department of Community Health, Division of Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952; Film: 108; Film Description: 1911 Washtenaw-1912 Barry.Find a Grave, database and images. (Ancestry.com).

(https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/37844263/hannah-prudence-bower: accessed 20 September 2022), memorial page for Hannah Prudence Allen Bower (3 May 1867–29 Jun 1929), Find a Grave Memorial ID 37844263, citing Perry Mount Park Cemetery, Pontiac, Oakland County, Michigan, USA; Maintained by SisterMaryLouise (contributor 46984885) .

Michigan Department of Community Health, Division of Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952; Film: 177; Film Description: 1924 Monroe-1924 St Joseph. (Ancestry.com).

Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, Michigan; Death Records. (Ancestry.com).

Michigan Department of Community Health, Division of Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952; Film: 175; Film Title: 63 Oakland 10110-13449; Film Description: Oakland (1933-1935). (Ancestry.com).

Vintage Tourist Attaction, Silver Dollar Saloon

Old photo, deckled edge, white border. Circa 1930 – 1940s. Left corner and partial side missing. 

Price:  $2.00        Size:  About 5 and 7/8 x 3 and 1/2″

This looks like it’s from one of those reenactment of the Old West type spots, or if not then just some other type of Western tourist attraction. (The backwards “N” in Saloon is a dead giveaway, right?) A few other similar views are showing up on eBay right now, but they have no i.d. for place either, though one has a date of 1959. Still, it’s a fun picture – there’s a lovely lady there, laughing and leaning on the hitching rail. (“Okay, pretend like you’ve had one too many. 😉 ) And, I like the old wooden….is that a U.S. Mail box? But hopefully one of our readers will know where this was taken!

Hornitos, California Masonic Lodge No. 98

Old photo, Masonic Lodge, Hornitos, California. Circa 1910s – 1920s.

Price:  $12.00            Size:  4 and 1/2 x 2 and 3/4″

Located in the “almost ghost town” of Hornitos, Mariposa County, California…..

This building is on the National Register of Historic Places and is the smallest Masonic Hall in California. Built by Italian stonemasons from local schist rock in 1855, it enjoyed a variety of uses until it was purchased by the Freemasons in 1873, and renovated and first opened for meetings in early 1875. The “F & AM” in the Lodge’s sign, if you can read it, is a Masonic term and stands for “Free and Accepted Masons.”

The other sign (which we can’t read) to our right of the building shows a pickaxe. The Hornitos area was an important part of the California Gold Rush, so this sign may have been some type of historical marker.

Sources:  Hornitos Masonic Hall No. 98. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hornitos_Masonic_Hall_No._98 (accessed September 18, 2022).

“AF and AM versus F and AM States.” masoniclodgeofeducation.com. (Accessed September 18, 2022).

“National Register of Historic Places in Mariposa County.” noehill.com. (Accessed September 18, 2022).

“Hornitos, Gold Districts of California.” http://explore.museumca.org/goldrush/dist-hornitos.html. Excerpt from: Gold Districts of California, by: W.B. Clark, California Department of Conservation, Division of Mines and Geology, Bulletin 193, 1970.

Hats Galore

Old photo, circa 1900s – 1910s.

Price:  $5.00          Size:  4 x 2 and 3/8″

Just an old snapshot that has been around for over a hundred years – it had lived most of its life in one of those old photo albums with the black pages, before being picked up at a paper fair. No writing on the back at all, and it’s blurry (but imagine you are bringing the scene into focus!) And what a great time these eight ladies are having….all in some of the most wonderful hats, no two are alike. And we get a sense that the woman in the dark satin blouse was the focal point of this photo – it was some type of special occasion for her.