Mystery Language

Divided back, unused, Real Photo Postcard. AZO stamp box. Circa 1904 – 1918. Printed in Canada.

Price:  $8.00

The snow is piled up in front of two stylish ladies (check out all the trim on the young woman’s coat) who have posed for this photo. Their dog is beside them, and prominent in the background is what looks to be a church, just from the shape of the windows, and next to the church, a house. The branches of the bare trees are beautiful in this scene, too. Possibly the postcard photo originated in the same area as the sender’s address, so the card may be of historical interest for Saskatoon history buffs, as well as any Abrams descendants.

Baffled….for now

But the note from the sender of this card is a stumper. What language is it written in?  Deciphering can be tricky for old postcards in other languages due to abbreviations and sometimes misspelled words or former spellings of words used, let alone a person’s particular style of cursive, although the name and address are easily read on this one as:   “Mrs. Wm. Abrams, Saskatoon, Sask.”

Without being able to decipher but one or two words on the back (if that) we turned to searching for the receiver of this card to find their native tongue as stated on census records. There is a William Abrams and his wife Maria and their children listed on the 1911 and 1916, residing in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. This would coincide with the postcard date of circa 1904 to 1918, per the AZO stamp box (all four triangles pointing upward, along with divided back starting December 1903 in Canada.) William was born in Russia and Maria in Germany. William’s declaration of intent, in his U. S. naturalization process, appears to show that he was born in Ekaterinoslav, Russia, which is now called Dnipro and lies within Ukraine….No other possible Abrams were found to fit our postcard, so this is all good info, even though it doesn’t help us figure out the writing on the back. Hopefully, we’ll get some help on the translation from somewhere!

Sources:  Year: 1911; Census Place: 30 – Saskatoon Ward 1, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; Page: 26; Family No: 236. (Ancestry.com).

Year: 1916; Census Place: Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, 03B; Roll: T-21944; Page: 22; Family No: 247. (Ancestry.com).

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Naturalization Records of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, Central Division (Los Angeles), 1887-1940; Microfilm Roll: 21; Microfilm Serial: M1524.

Dnipro. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dnipro (accessed January 16, 2018).

Filipina In Baro’t Saya, Real Photo Postcard

Divided back, unused Real Photo Postcard. Juan Dela Cruz Studio. AZO stamp box, circa 1924 – 1949.

Price:  $12.00

A beautiful young woman in the traditional Filipino dress, baro’t saya, is posing for this portrait that was taken at the Juan Dela Cruz Studio. An unrelated online image was found on Flickr listing this studio location as Tondo, Manila, Philippines, and with an estimated date for that image as 1927. Our photo above of the unknown beauty may have been taken around this time, as well. The broader time frame of circa 1924 – 1949 comes from the AZO stamp box style on the reverse of the card.

The sender of this RPPC signed the back of the postcard but unfortunately, her signature is mostly covered by the black photo album paper the card had been glued to. We can only read what looks like the last two letters of her name (e-t). She wrote:

“Dear Aquiong, A Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year. Lovingly….”

Sources:  Ensemble-Philippines-The Met. Metropolitan Museum of Art. https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/158138. (accessed December 30, 2017).

De Leon, Eduardo. “A studio portrait of a Filipina named Loleng. Juan Dela Cruz Studio, Tondo, Manila. 1927.” 25 Nov 2014. Online image. Flickr. 30 Dec 2017. https://www.flickr.com/photos/edlei/15695528537/in/photostream/

“Real Photo Postcard Stamp Boxes ” AZO (squares in all four corners). Playle.com. (accessed December 30, 2017).

Amelia, December 1911, Binghamton NY

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard, December 1911. CYKO stamp box.

Price:  $15.00

“Dec – 1911. A Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year to you, Amelia.”

Addressed to:   “Laura Weed, 23 College st, City.”

Here’s a pretty lady, maybe in her seventies, posing for the photographer and wearing a satin dress over a lace blouse with high-neck ruffled collar, wire-rimmed eyeglasses and an unusual-looking “hat-box” shaped hat. The name for this style of head wear is unknown (maybe someone can help us out with this one) and its really not terribly outlandish in comparison to many others from this time period. And though we probably think that the blouse under the dress rather spoils the look, I bet the overall effect of the colors in the hat and of the dress (wish we could see) were gorgeous….and uplifting!

So, with the name and street address on the card we were able to trace Laura’s location to Binghamton, New York. She was Mrs. Laura A. Weed, wife of Manford Weed. Most likely, Amelia lived in the same city as her friend Laura, however there are a number of Amelias that might fit:  Some possible surnames for Amelia are Wilcox, Tierney, Parsons, Gregory, Back, Bailey and Couse.

Sources:  Calkin-Kelly Directory Co.’s Binghamton City Directory, 1914. p. 491. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

Calkin-Kelly Directory Co.’s Binghamton City Directory, 1915. p. 491. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

Year: 1910; Census Place: Kirkwood, Broome, New York; Roll: T624_926; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 0045; FHL microfilm: 1374939. (Ancestry.com).

Glad Jul

Divided back, unused Real Photo Postcard. Circa 1890s – 1910s.

Price:  $7.00

This postcard is addressed to:   “Matilda Pettersson”  so the assumption would be that she is not the young woman in the photo, though we can’t know for sure. But she’s beautiful and unmarried (no wedding ring) and is no doubt of Scandinavian descent. She wears a dark, long sleeved dress or skirt and blouse, with a stunning lace jabot, and is posed seated on a wicker chair. That is a photographer’s backdrop that shows the background scene of a table with flowers, rich draperies and wall mural or tapestry. Nicely done, as it’s maybe not immediately noticeable that it is a backdrop. This was given at Christmastime, with “Glad Jul”  (Merry Christmas) written in script:

Source:  Jabot (neckwear) n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jabot_(neckwear) (accessed December 18, 2017).

Greetings From Mabel Crogan

Divided back, unused, Real Photo Postcard. Circa 1910s.

Price:  $7.00

In this Real Photo Postcard two very cute blonde kids are posing standing directly in front of a beautiful two-story, wooden-sided home in the country. (Note the nice detail on the porch posts and brackets.) The location is probably Minnesota or one of the surrounding states.

The reverse shows:  “Greetings from your friend Mabel Crogan”  and addressed to  “Mrs. Johanne[?] Torkelsen.”

There are a number of Johanne or variations (Hanna, Anna, Annie) Torkelsens that might fit the for married friend of Mabel Crogan. On the other hand, we might be looking at “Mrs. Johan Torkelsen.” Crogan is also found spelled Krogan. After searching through multiple records, we can’t be sure, but one possibility may be that the photo was taken in or near Folden, Otter Tail County, Minnesota, of Mabel Crogan, born Minnesota around 1906 and brother Marvin, born Minnesota around 1907, children of John Crogan and Kristi (Joten) Crogan. This is only a guess. Below, a closeup of the kids:

Some Edison Girls

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard, unused with writing. Circa 1907 – 1918. AZO stamp box.

Price:  $5.00

We’ve got sort of a cold weather theme going here for December before we move on to Christmas…..This charming postcard was promising as far as finding names and a location, due to the description on the back. But come to find out the names written there are pretty hard to read, with the exception of “Mrs. Gilkie” –  she is the lady on the left. Next to her is “Ma” (the sender’s mother probably) and the other two, too difficult to read. It appears the card was addressed to either Dara or Dora. As for Edison…maybe it’s the name of their employer, such as Edison Electric or Edison National Bank. The other possibility is a town name, but Gilkie didn’t come up in the various towns named Edison, or even nearby counties, so that is not so likely. Neither did any matches come up for Edison as a maiden name, married to a Gilkie. This one will go in our mystery category with the hopes that someone will recognize any of the four beautiful women on this card.

Four Varied Expressions

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard, unused. Circa 1907 – 1917. VELOX stamp box.

Price:  $7.00

Besides the stylish winter coats and hats that these beautiful ladies are wearing, one might be struck by their expressions, each so different from one another. The eye of the beholder is purely subjective, of course, but for me, left to right of the grown women and then the little girl:  Uplifted, sardonic, distrusting and joyful….(How would you describe them?) But we’re not trying to pin a label on anyone, as for one thing, it’s just one moment in time, for another the sun was bright, and anyway it’s a good thing maybe to not feel you have to do the “automatic smile” when posing for a photo.

Confident, In An Ostrich Feather Hat

Divided back, unused, Real Photo Postcard. Circa 1907 – 1918. AZO stamp box.

Price:  $10.00 

Here’s an awesome “big hat” (wide brim crowned with ostrich plume) photo of a radiant young woman, dressed warmly for the weather in a long coat, scarf and holding a muff. Note the braiding at the sleeve cuffs and note the coat buttons – too bad we can’t see more detail on the buttons – we picture them now residing in a bin in an antique store somewhere. The spring/summer look to the photographer’s backdrop is a little at odds with the lady’s cold weather outerwear, and if you look closely at the bottom of the image you can see that the floor covering had gotten mussed, revealing the type of tile on the actual flooring. Too bad there was no name written on the postcard, but these unidentified types can be wonderful for anyone researching fashion history (this would have been around 1907 through 1918, according to the AZO stamp box type that has all four triangles pointing upward.)

Barbara Ann Gerhart

Divided back, unused, Real Photo Postcard. Circa December 1923.

Price:  $10.00

“Barbara Ann Gerhart. She will be 16 months old 30 of this month. She walks and sais a few words we all think she is so nice. We all enjoy that dear child, from the Gerharts”

“To Brother Herman & Alice and family.”

This charming Real Photo Postcard was never mailed but does have a Christmas sticker on it in the place of a stamp. So, it’s probable that the card was written in December, but what year? Well, just by the general look of it, it’s probably 1920s. Since the stamp box is covered by the sticker, that potential clue can’t help us, though there’s probably not anything printed there anyway, as we’ve come to find out by looking for postcard backs at Playle’s in “Unknown Manufacturers.” The match on the style indicates the time frame to be from around “unknown – 1925,” which confirms the 1920s guess as a possibility. The next clues are in the sender’s message:  Firstly, Barbara Ann will be sixteen months on the 30th of “this month,” and if the card was written in December, then her birthday is August 30th; secondly, the way the sender describes beautiful Barbara, is….a little different. We found a match in death and marriage records, and the 1930 Federal Census for Marietta, Ohio, revealing Barbara Ann Gerhart, born August 30, 1922, the adopted (now it makes sense) daughter of Walter Gerhart and Carrie (Preston) Gerhart. (The Herman and Alice reference would need a more time-consuming search to see if they were related to the Gerharts, but no other different matches were found for Barbara Ann.)

Sources:  Issue State: Ohio; Issue Date: Before 1951. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 for Barbara G. Vanpetten.

Year: 1930; Census Place: Marietta, Washington, Ohio; Roll: 1887; Page: 17B; Enumeration District: 0023; FHL microfilm: 2341621. (Ancestry.com)    Walter E. and Carrie Gerhart   adopted daughter Barbara A. Gerhart.

Marriage Records. Ohio Marriages. Various Ohio County Courthouses. Ancestry.com. Ohio, County Marriages, 1774-1993.

“Real Photo Postcard Stamp Backs – Unknown Manufacturers.” playle.com. (accessed December 16, 2017.)

Rose and Adele Triebel, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1909

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard. Postmarked February 13, 1909, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Price:  $15.00

Addressed to:   “Miss Amalie Ueberall, 838 – 13 Str., City.”  (The “city” in the address is Milwaukee.)

The sender wrote in German:  “Fiele Grüsse fon Rose und Adele Triebel.”  and she must have been substituting the letter “f” for the letter “v” unless maybe this was an old-fashioned spelling. Otherwise it would be written as:

“Viele Grüsse von Rose und Adele Triebel,”  translating as “Kind regards from Rose and Adele Triebel.”  And the Triebel sisters couldn’t be any cuter in their rather unusual-looking winter outfits!

The Triebel Family was found on the 1920 Federal Census for Milwaukee:  Charles, born in Germany, about 1878; his wife Marie, born Germany about 1887; and their daughters Rose and Della, born Wisconsin, about 1905 and 1906, respectively. Charles was working as a machinist for a cab company, and the family lived at 773 47th St.

Source:  Year: 1920; Census Place: Milwaukee Ward 22, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Roll: T625_2005; Page: 22B; Enumeration District: 272. (Ancestry.com)