Three Women Carrying A Trunk

Real Photo Postcard, Undivided back, unused. Circa 1904. Eastman Kodak Stamp Box.

Price:  $25.00

This seems like a photo taken on a tropical island or at least somewhere exotic from our North American viewpoint. A clue to location should be the sign (mid-right in photo) showing “Hotel Continental” displayed atop two pillars, forming an entranceway. Behind, we notice part of a white building. Maybe that was the hotel. But Hotel Continental is, of course, a common name. When this postcard was made there were plenty such proud establishments, worldwide:  Atlantic Beach, Florida; New York City; Algier, Morocco; Havre, France; Vigo, Spain; Port Said and Cairo, Egypt; Cologne and Schwalbach, Germany; Bagni di Lucca, Capri, Genoa and Naples, Italy; Christiania, Norway, just to rattle off the ones we came across. Obviously some of these could be ruled out. But after browsing old photos of many locations (really too long of an endeavor), we didn’t get any closer to figuring it out. Also possibly, the Hotel Continental in this image was not too fancy or large, and might not have made it into old travel destination journals or onto old postcards which survived (except inadvertently, this one).

But, it’s a great photo. Imagine the scenario:  a tourist snaps this shot while walking behind these ladies, who are balancing this large trunk above (and on two of) their heads. Not something you see everyday, a definite Kodak moment (!) The time-frame is wonderful for clothing – the women all wear long (of course) skirts with striped shirtwaists, corsets underneath. The road they’re on is dirt, or at least, rustic; the wall of the building on their left, a little crumbling or aged, and with greenery growing on top. A short stone wall runs on their right. A gentleman, head down, in a dark suit and hat walks beside them, but is seemingly on his own, or at least unconcerned with needing to help with the trunk, or maybe feeling embarrassed he was not allowed to. (The ladies work for the hotel?) Notice his pant cuffs seem to be rolled up a little. Was this a seaside location somewhere and he had recently exited a small boat? Back to the trunk – it looks almost square, definitely well-used and…..did you assume, like me, that it was heavy, or at least full? (Thinking of photos of women carrying jugs of water, or whatever, on their heads?) Or, did you automatically assume the trunk was empty?

There are two other people in the photo, a woman busily occupied with something and a man behind her, barely discernible, wearing a tall hat (at least that’s my interpretation right now). Above them, some balconies, kind of rough-looking…..Wouldn’t this, wherever it was, have been a great place to stay?

As for the 1904 date for the card, this comes from the excellent, Playle’s website, as a date that’s been verified for this particular stamp box:  The design is a profile of a man with a pipe (Mr. Eastman?) looking through a camera, with the instructions, “Place One Cent Stamp Here”. And it may be likely that the photo was taken in the U.S. since it was found here, but always possible it was taken elsewhere and processed when the person returned home.

Sources:  “European and Eastern Hotels.” Cook’s Tourist Handbook for Switzerland. Thomas Cook & Son. London, 1895. (Google.com books).

Cook’s Tourist Handbooks Health Resorts. Thomas Cook & Son. London, 1905. (Google.com books).

“Real Photo Postcard Stamp Boxes, D-E.” https://www.playle.com/realphoto/photod.php. (accessed May 18, 2022).

Baseball Player At Bat Old Postcard

Undivided back postcard. Circa 1906. Publisher or Printer:  Stationers Manufacturing Co., Quincy, Ohio.

Price:  $4.00

I had wanted to get this card up for MLB opening day, but it didn’t make it. No biggie, anyway it’s showing a young ball player at bat (or in the bullpen). (I really bought it for the design on the back, which is nice.)

But who was the artist? We found another postcard online, same image, with “Copyright 1906. J. Tully.” printed on it. Our card, per the reverse, was printed by Stationers Manufacturing Company in Quincy, Ohio. Tully was out of Chicago, per other cards online, but no records were found for him (either as artist or in the card publishing/printing business). Some postcard sellers list him as artist, but he could have been a publisher, especially given the fact that initials “CNB” or “NBC” appear at the bottom right of the ball player, leading one to think that they could be the artist’s initials. On the other hand, oftentimes the “C” in initials like that stood for “Company.” So, the actual artist could have been an unnamed one within that company.

For a better understand of the complicated world of postcard printers, publishers, jobbers, artists and photographers, see the various web articles under  Metropostcard’s “Metropostcard Guides.” (Proof – as if we needed it 😉 – that things are almost always more involved than we imagine.)

Only one minor reference, in 1907, was found for Stationers Mfg. – in a trade journal listing under wholesale and retail stationers, no address listed.

Source:  “Metropostcard Guides.” Metropostcards.com. (accessed May 16, 2022).

Handmade Postcard To Maggie Ames From Hughie C. G.

Undivided Back, handmade postcard, unused. 1901 – 1907.

Price:  $15.00            Size:  About 5 x 3″

U. S. postal changes tell us the time estimate for this very charming hand-drawn card:  December 1901 the words “Post Card” were allowed (to replace “Private Mailing Card”) and then it was March 1907 when the law allowed for the Divided Back. So, we have a decent time-frame for when the card was made. And, Hughie (if he was the artist) was really very good. Look at those smooth lines, the use of the thicker ink stroke and thinner, the flow and movement, and just the overall uplifting feel, like a message of hope!

See our category from the Home Page, “Hand-drawn or Painted Cards” for a few more examples.

Bunnies Helping Chicks

Undivided back postcard. Unused. Circa March 1907. Publisher:  Richard Behrendt, San Francisco, California.

Price:  $10.00

A Happy Easter from Aunt Sadye

This is a day late for Easter but still heartfelt. I love the colors, the pinks and yellows reminding us of a sunrise. And such sweet bunnies, helping the chicks back up to their mamma in the roost!

Addressed to:   “Miss Mabel Chapman. 2929 Clement St. San Francisco Cal.”

From the 1910 Federal Census, Mabel is the daughter of Charles H. Chapman, occupation plumber, and A. Bella (needs research) Chapman. All native to California. Mabel was born about 1897, so would have been about ten when she received this card. We’re estimating the card was sent in 1907, after finding Charles listed at the above address in that year, in city directories.

Sources:  Year: 1910; Census Place: San Francisco Assembly District 39, San Francisco, California; Roll: T624_100; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 0229; FHL microfilm: 1374113.

Crocker-Langley San Francisco City Directory, 1907, p. 392. Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995.

To Peter From Elizabeth

Postcard, unused, undivided back. May 25, 1907.

Price:  $7.00

A twin of the beauty in the prior post, it seems. 😉 The sender wrote:

“May-25-07.   Hello Pet. bet you cant take my picture and make it look like this. Elizabeth”

This woman is Elizabeth, right? Well, maybe from another lifetime. (Who could not relate to our sender’s wish to be a knock-out beauty from a different era?) The artist’s rendition reminds me of the French Aristocracy, maybe Marie-Antoinette, that particular blue of her gown, the powdered hair and complexion, the hat full of ostrich feathers…..

Addressed to:   “Mr. Peter. Meutnech – Jr., Ulster Hieghts, Ulster Co., N. Y.” 

Surprisingly, we didn’t find either Peter Jr. or Sr. in Ulster Heights or Ulster County, though there may well be a different spelling of the name in city directories and census records that we hadn’t thought of.

To Max Lutzner in NYC 1903

Postcard, undivided back. Postmarked from Goppingen, Germany, February 5, 1903. Printed in Germany.

Price:  $7.00

Another one in German. It was sent to:

“Mister Max Lützner. 334 Est. 41 Street. New York, Amerika”

Max Lutzner was found in the city directories at 334 E. 41st in 1899.

UPDATE:  See the comment from J. Hassel for translation of the message!

Source:  Trow’s General Directory of the Boroughs of Manhattan and Bronx, City of New York. Vol. CXIL, for 1899. p. 806. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

Greetings From Hohenstaufen, Germany

Undivided back postcard. Postmarked July 25, 1898 from Göppingen, Germany.

Price:  $10.00

Gruss vom Hohenstaufen (Greetings from Hohenstofen)

Another, again a little hard to decipher without knowing German. The sender appears to have been  “M. A. Stempa.”  But it’s beautiful artwork, printed of scenes from the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, located in the south of Germany:  that of the mountains called Hohenstaufen and Rechberg, and the Barbarossa kirchlein (kirchlein means little church) and church at Schwäbisch Gmünd (Hohenrechberg pilgrimage church, built 1686). The reverse of the card shows the heading Königreich Württemberg, which translates as the Kingdom of Württemberg, a German state which existed from 1805 to 1918. See last link below.

Sources:  Rechberg (mountain). n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rechberg_(mountain). accessed September 28, 2020.

File:2015_Hohenstaufen_Barbarossakirche_1.jpg. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2015_Hohenstaufen_Barbarossakirche_1.jpg. accessed September 28, 2020.

Kingdom of Württemberg. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_W%C3%BCrttemberg. accessed September 28, 2020.

Easter Greetings To Elsa From Matilda

Undivided back, used postcard. Postmarked March 30, 1907, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Publisher:  Raphael Tuck & Sons’ “Easter Post Cards.” Printed in Germany.

Price:  $12.00

Here’s another beauty, mega-charming…two bunnies setting off from shore in an eggshell boat. One rowing and the other at the rudder, off to deliver some eggs on Easter. The caption in light script in the clouds is  “Loving Easter Greetings”  and is signed at the bottom,  “From Matilda.”

Addressed to:  “Miss Elsa Bendschneider, 273 Belleview Pl, Milwaukee, Wisc.”

Yes, that surname is a little hard to read for handwriting but the city directories took the guesswork out of it. William H. Bendschneider is at this address in 1907, occupation janitor. An alternate or maybe earlier spelling of the family name is Bendtschneider. The 1905 Wisconsin State Census shows William Bendschneider, occupation janitor, born 1863 Wisconsin; his wife Sophie, born 1863 Germany; daughter Elsie, born 1889 Wisconsin; and son William born 1895 Wisconsin. Guessing our Elsa is the person on this census, and not the other Elsie in Milwaukee that is Elsie Bendtschneider under different parents’ names.

Sources:  H. C. Wright’s Wright’s Directory of Milwaukee for 1907. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

Wisconsin Historical Society; Madison, Wisconsin; Census Year: 1905. (Ancestry.com).

Branch Brook Park In Winter, Newark NJ

Undivided back postcard. Series or number 1969. Postmarked March 7, 1909.

Price:  $5.00

Branch Brook Park is known for its Cherry Blossom Festival and was the first county park in the United States.

Though the postmark is dated 1909, this card would have been produced prior to the change in U.S. postal regulations in December 1907, which saw the advent of the Divided Back cards.

On the reverse, part of the address is unreadable, looks like this postcard was once glued in an album or just had something stuck on the back. But….mystery solved:   We actually have another Canning postcard with the full name on it. So, our card above would have been addressed to either (or both) Mr. M. J. Canning (Montgomery J. Canning) or Mrs. M. J. Canning (Louise Canning). The address from the 1909 city directory was 406 Clayton St., San Francisco, California.

See Surprise Us – Write for more on the Cannings.

Reading wrong between the lines….

Straight to the point with a rather catchy phrase, the sender (Mame?) wrote:   “You are reading wrong between lines. Your postal was all O.K.  need not take it back.    Mame”

Sources:  Branch Brook Park. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Branch_Brook_Park (accessed January 13, 2019).

Crocker-Langley’s San Francisco Directory for 1909, p. 362. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

Country Meets City

Undivided back, used postcard. Postmarked March 26, 1908 from Chesaning, Michigan. Publisher:  E. B. & E. Co.

Price:  $7.00

A slightly comical card of an illustrated older couple, maybe they live in the country or city outskirts, and have come to downtown Detroit. Within their outline is a photo (slightly distorted probably to fit in the frame, in a fun-house type of way 😉 check out the tower) of the old Federal Building and Post Office at the Northwestern corner of Shelby and W. Fort streets.

Addressed to:   “Mrs. Floyd Walworth, Fergus, Michigan”

Where is Fergus?

Fergus, Michigan is a “locale” located north of Chesaning, in St. Charles Township, Saginaw County, in the vicinity of Fergus and McKeighan roads (purple marker on map below). It was a station on the Michigan Central Railroad and had a post office that closed in 1933.

The sender writes:   “Josiah and Samantha are both recovering from their colds. Hope to be able to go sight seeing soon. This is not very warm weather but expect better some time. Are you well? Lovingly Aunt Minnie.”

Floyd and Myrtle

Without a doubt (we got thrown off track at first by another possibility) the recipient of this postcard was Myrtle G. Spencer, daughter of G. H. Spencer and Emma Burrows, who had married Floyd E. Walworth on August 1, 1907 in Corunna, Saginaw County, MI. Myrtle was about age 22 when she married Floyd, but was first married to John R. Wegert (June 18, 1902 in St. Charles, MI). Floyd was about age 29 at the time of marriage and both he and his bride were residents of Fergus, MI and native Michiganders. His parents were Matthew Walworth and Lucy Merrill. Floyd’s occupation was live stock shipper and Myrtle’s was music teacher.

Aunt Minnie, a mystery

The sender of this card, Aunt Minnie, was not yet found in records. She mentions family members Josiah and Samantha, names which we expected would jump out at us from old records, but no; a more time-consuming search would be needed as far as who’s who for Myrtle or Floyd’s possible aunts.

Publisher i.d.

Last but not least, according to Publishers’ Trademarks Identified by Walter E. Corson, the postcard publisher E. B. & E. Company was Ely, Boynton & Ely of Detroit.

Sources:  Austin, Dan. “Federal Building.” historicdetroit.org. (accessed September 15, 2018).

St. Charles Township, Michigan. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Charles_Township,_Michigan (accessed September 9, 2018).

Chesaning. Google Maps. google.com (accessed September 9, 2018).

“Michigan Marriages, 1868-1925”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NQQ4-2ZB : 9 July 2018), John R. Wegert and Myrtle G. Spencer, 1902.

Michigan Department of Community Health, Division of Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952; Film: 93; Film Description: 1907 Montcalm – 1907 Wayne.

Corson, Walter E. Publishers’ Trademarks Identified. Ed. James Lewis Lowe. Norwood, PA:  1993. (print).