John K. Stevens Photographer Trade Card

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Trade card showing  “Stevens – The Photographer, McVicker’s Theatre Building, 14 Photographs, 3 Styles, $3.00.”  This advertising card, in colors of blue-green, pink, and brown with a gold-tone border is entitled,  “La Fuite des Oiseaux”  and shows a boy and girl, in flowing Grecian-style attire. We see the scene depicted here just after the young lady has released some birds (not shown) from their captivity while the young man looks on. Some short biographical info found about the photographer in question is as follows:

(See “Comments” for this post for more information and a question of possible middle name of Kelly for this photographer.)

John Kimbell Stevens, born July 4, 1838 in Buffalo, New York, son of Solomon Stevens and Clarissa Stone. On the 1870 Federal Census in Chicago with wife Loretta, and children, Lester W. and Mary G. 1870-1874 Chicago city directories address 163 S. Halstead, Chicago. 1878 city directory at 85 Madison. 1882 directory at 108 Dearborn and 1885 at 106 Dearborn. Son, Lester W. Stevens joined his father in the photography business in 1884, according to Lester’s biographical info as a member of the Elks. 1887-1889 at 55 McVicker Theater Bldg. John K. Stevens’ wife Loretta, sadly died in 1878 of consumption. He married a second time on October 25, 1881 to Addie B. Cater. John, Addie and their son Harry K. Stevens appear on the 1900 census in Chicago, with Addie’s mother Josephine Cater and sister, Clara J. Cater, and a domestic servant, Mary Blackman. An ad in the 1905 publication entitled To-morrow shows  “Gibson, Sykes & Fowler (successors to J. K. Stevens & Co.) Leading photographers, McVickers Theatre Bld. The Oldest and Best Known Studios in Chicago. Established Over Thirty-Five Years.” 

McVicker’s Theatre was located in Chicago, on Madison between State and Dearborn Streets. It was built in 1857 by James H. McVicker, Chicago actor and producer. There were five different buildings at this location, the last theater went by McVickers, without the apostrophe, and was demolished in 1985. The first building was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1871. The Booth Family of Shakespearean actors were known to have performed there, including the infamous John Wilkes Booth (about three years prior to his assassination of Abraham Lincoln.) Actress Sarah Bernhardt made her American debut at the McVicker’s in 1881, and comedian Eddie Foy also performed at the McVicker’s.

Trade Card, circa 1887 – 1905.

Size:  About 6 and 1/4 x 3 and 1/2″

Price:  $10.00

Sources:  Stevens, John Grier. The descendants of Samuel Stevens; with histories of allied families: A biographical and genealogical record. (1968) Cook County, Illinois, Marriage and Death Indexes, 1833-1889

Year: 1870; Census Place: Chicago Ward 10, Cook, Illinois; Roll: M593_205; Page: 389B; Image: 82; Family History Library Film: 545704. (

Year: 1900; Census Place: Chicago Ward 12, Cook, Illinois; Roll: 258; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0332; FHL microfilm: 1240258. ( Cook County, Illinois, Marriages Index, 1871-1920 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

Ellis, Charles Edward; An Authentic History of the Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks. Chicago:  Published by the author, 1910. Pg. 56. (Google eBook) U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

To-Morrow:  A Monthly Handbook of the Changing Order. Published Chicago, Illinois, January 1905. Pg. 61. (Google eBook)

Fields, Armond; Eddie Foy, a biography of the early popular stage comedian. Jefferson, North Carolina:  McFarland and Co., Inc., 1999. (Google eBook)

Friendly Greetings

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“The memory of our good old times will never fade away,

In proof of which I’m sending this greeting to-day.”

This is a beautiful card, on linen-type paper, showing  “Friendly Greetings”  at the top and the above short verse, both done in gold-tone. Whether the card is handmade or not is a good question; maybe not as the edges are also done in gold-tone, which might leave one with the impression that the card was professionally made and sold; but then again there is no publisher information, so the card could have even been created by the sender. In any case, the scene is beautifully done, and shows a small stone bridge in winter, with the top half of a house showing in the background, nestled cozily in front of some fir trees, at sunset or sunrise. The message on the back shows:

“Dear Maud, I am wondering if you, Oria, and I could have a reunion again. Would it be possible for you to come down Saturday night and stay over Sunday? We are writing to Oria to do the same. The children will all be at home and we can all have a good old fashion visit. Lovingly, Belle   Please let me know by return mail if possible.”

We can tell this is an older card by the spelling of “to-day” rather than today. A great website for etymology was found and is listed below. Etymology is the study of the origin of words and how their meanings have changed over time. The term in the spotlight here started off as “to day”, changed to “to-day”, then became the present “today.” The hyphenated term was used roughly up until the early 20th century, but we still sometimes see “to day” around this time, as well.

Greeting card, possibly hand-made. Circa early 1900s.

Price:  $15.00


Happy Birthday To Aunty Hadley

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Warren and Lena Magaw are on the Lawrence, Kansas 1910 Federal Census, brother and sister, ages four and two, respectively. Their parents are W. C. and Emma Magaw (Cyrus Webster Magaw and Emma Henrietta Biery on an family tree.)  I don’t see any other possibilities for the senders of this postcard, but who is Aunty Hadley? Hadley is definitely not a common girl’s name (but so cool) and one would assume that it’s the receiver’s first name, but both first and last names were checked as possibilities. Perhaps it was a middle name that she used that isn’t showing up in records, or a nickname for Harriet. Relatives and in-laws of the Magaws were checked.

As to the design of the card, it shows a branch of a rosebush showing three red rosebuds, on a white background, with the caption in gold,  “Best Wishes for a Happy Birthday.”  The card is lightly embossed and has a wide tan border.

Divided back, lightly embossed, unused postcard with writing on the back. Publisher:  Samson Brothers. Series 300. Made in the U.S.A. Date:  Circa 1908 – 1919.

Source:  Year: 1910; Census Place: Lawrence, Cloud, Kansas; Roll: T624_435; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 0024; FHL microfilm: 1374448. (

Bernie And Anna Brant

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It is unknown whether these two women are related, but it would be a good guess that they are sisters. There are plenty of records showing up separately under the names of Bernice and Anna Brant in various states, but nothing that we can really pinpoint as a probable identification for sisters or family members. The photo may have been taken in one of the Western states; it has that High Desert look to it, with the scrubby terrain and the mountain showing faintly in the background. The two ladies are stylishly dressed for colder weather with tailored coats with large lapels, large fur muffs (we can see the animal head attached on the one on our left), and hats. It would seem that the weather would not have been too cold as their coats are open at the neck to reveal beautiful satiny blouses. The hat for the woman on the right, who we assume to be Anna, appears to be of a ribbed fabric, and for Bernice, is that a tassel that is showing at the back? Upon closer inspection, it does indeed seem to be.

As to the date of the postcard, the excellent and so helpful Playle website shows this exact style of Real Photo Postcard back and estimates the date to be from 1914 – 1917, but it’s always possible the printer was using up old stock, so the photo could be from a later date.

Real Photo Postcard, divided back, unused, with writing on the front. Printer unknown, circa 1914 – 1917.

Price:  $10.00


Just A Few Lines From

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A nicely designed, embossed postcard showing a gold-toned design around the statement,  “Just a few Lines from.”  The card has two red roses, a yellow ribbon, and a striped background in light green and white that may remind you of wallpaper. Underneath the caption the sender wrote,  “from your Mother.” 

Divided back, embossed, unused postcard with writing on the front. Publisher:  H. Wessler. Copyright 1909.

Price:  $4.00

Bertha Edna (Vogt) Clevenger

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Real photo postcard with AZO stamp box (with all four triangles pointing upward) of a young woman who is identified on the back as,  “my half sister Bertha Edna (Vogt) Clevenger”, posing in a garden setting in front of a latticed arch, and what looks to be a well-established climbing rose. She wears a summery white or very pale colored dress, or perhaps a skirt and blouse, it is hard to tell, but with a high collar and a charming bonnet.

The Find A Grave website shows a Bertha Edna Clevenger, born October 30, 1901 and died June 1, 1977, and her husband is identified there as John Frank Clevenger, though his WWI and WWII draft registration cards show his full middle name as Franklin. Surprisingly, not much was found, as of the date of this post, for Bertha before she married John, and also nothing to identify her half-sibling. Records show that both Bertha and John were born in Tennessee. The 1930 Federal Census taken in Westmoreland Township, Imperial County, California, shows that Bertha was age 15, and John age 24, when they married, and show’s John’s occupation on the 1930 as Foreman for a vegetable ranch.

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard, unused with writing. AZO stamp box. Circa 1914 -1918.

Price:  $15.00

Sources:  Find A Grave Memorial# 112317084 (

“United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 23 Apr 2014), John Franklin Clevenger, 1917-1918; citing Chattanooga City no 2, Tennessee, United States, NARA microfilm publication M1509, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d); FHL microfilm 1852926.

“United States World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 23 Apr 2014), John Franklin Clevenger, 1942; citing ARC identifier 603155, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C.; FHL microfilm 2416310.

“United States Census, 1900,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 23 Apr 2014), John F Clevenger in household of Allen C Clevenger, Civil District 12 Rockwood town (pt.), Roane, Tennessee, United States; citing sheet 11B, family 219, NARA microfilm publication T623, FHL microfilm 1241593.

Year: 1930; Census Place: Westmoreland, Imperial, California; Roll: 119; Page: 30B; Enumeration District: 0051; Image: 973.0; FHL microfilm: 2339854. Year: 1940; Census Place: Westmorland, Imperial, California; Roll: T627_210; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 13-46. (

Pickard’s Gentleman

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Mini photo of unknown gentleman taken by a studio shown on the back as Pickard’s Little Photos. The addresses given are 245 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania and Dekalb Street (near the bridge) in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Although it appears that there is something underneath this photo (like a mystery photo – wouldn’t that be cool!) there really isn’t. The oval is one complete image that was glued on to the cardboard frame. It would seem that the part at the bottom must of been an error that occurred in the photo processing.

Surprisingly, nothing was found regarding this studio, nor the photographer, as of the date of this post, with the exception of another photo (on eBay) by the Pickard studio, showing the 245 Bridge Street address, with an estimated date from the 1890s. So, this is another for the mystery pile, and one to re-visit later, for more research.

As for the gentleman in the photo, he looks to be about in his late 20s – early 40s, is seated and wearing a suit coat with vest, a white shirt with high turned-down collar and striped tie. The photo is done in brown tones, with the cardboard frame in brown and a nice scroll work design in a cream color that frames the oval photo. The date is unknown, circa 1910s – early 1920s.

Size including cardboard frame:  About 2 and 1/2 x 2″

Price:  $7.00

Bunnies In The Backyard

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Divided back, lightly embossed, used postcard. Postmarked March 24, 1910 from Axtell, Nebraska. Publisher unknown.

Price:  $4.00

“Axtell Nebr., Mar. 24, ’10 – Dear cousin Ida. How are you by this time we are all well hope this will reach you all the same. You had better come with your mother and Josie out here this summer. It blew something terrible yesterday but to-day it is still and nice. Have you got any small chickens yet we got two hens that are hatching. As ever your Cousin Alice.”

Addressed to:  “Miss Ida Nelson, Terril, Iowa, Box 5”

Tea with kitty, breakfast with bunny….

This is a great card for me, as it so reminds me of myself with our own bunny (as previously mentioned on a prior post.) After, what I’ve come to refer to as  “Tea With Kitty”  comes  Breakfast With Bunny.”  Breakfast with the bun takes place in the backyard, in a setting much like the one here, with a high fence, and greenery, and with me on the garden bench with my cereal, and the bun bun, just like on this card, to my left, with her varied plateful of kale, parsley, roses, dandelion leaves and flowers, etc. (Enough about me, but it is interesting to find the ones where art imitates life or there is some special connection.)

You might not notice at first, the caption in script at the top which says,  “A Joyful Easter.”  And just to describe the card, it shows two reddish brown bunnies and a white one (the lookout maybe, making sure everything is okay) in a garden setting. The brown bunnies are being fed some greens by a little girl in her Easter dress, who sits on a garden bench. She has gold ringlets, and holds Easter eggs in her lap.

The receiver of this card was not found in online records, though there are plenty of Nelsons in Dickenson County, and even in the town of Terril.

Welcome Easter Morning

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We welcome Easter morning today, just as this postcard did 101 years ago. This card is from an unknown publisher who appears to be the very same unknown publisher for the post entitled Easter Greetings To Uncle Dewey.  Anyway, this is another beauty showing a couple of ever-so-cute brown and white bunnies; one is stationary and the smaller one, at the bottom of the card, is running and has his back feet up in the air. The background is white with a beautifully embossed flower design; white embossed flowers appear in the corners; the border is yellow-green and the caption is gold-tone with colorful capital letters. The card was sent from the Fletcher, Kansas post office, and the sender wrote:

“Hello. I received your card a long time ago, was glad to get it. How are you, I am just fine. Wish I could see you. How are you teaching school. Best Easter greeting – your Friend.  Elsie Winger”

Addressed to:  “Miss Mattie Winter, Richmond, Kans.”  It looks like the date was either March or May 18, 1913. Check out how the embossing looks as seen from the back of the card – so cute! In searching for the addressee in online records, we find quite a few entries. The 1910 Federal Census taken in Richmond, Franklin County, Kansas, is one such entry, and shows Mattie with her widowed father and her sister. The census shows:  Austin W. Winter, teamster, born Illinois about 1852; Anna L., no occupation, born Kansas about 1881; and Mattie J., Public School teacher, born Kansas about 1889. Since there is no street address for Mattie one assumes Richmond was a small town in 1913, and a Wikipedia search indicates that as of the 2000 Federal Census, the population in Richmond Township was 812, and some more searching confirms that Richmond was indeed a small community back when this card was sent. See the excellent website listed below re Franklin County for more history on the town.

As to the sender, Elsie Winger:  This was a puzzle for a short while, as Fletcher, Kansas was not identified online as a current or defunct town. It turns out Fletcher was the name of the post office which was located in Mitchell Township, Stanton County, KS. We then can be quite confident in assuming that it is the correct Elsie Winger, with her parents and brothers, that is on the 1910 Federal Census taken in Mitchell Township. (No other possibilities show up.) This census shows:  James H. Winger, farmer, born Indiana about 1873; his wife Luiza J., born Missouri about 1880; Elsie M., born Kansas about 1901; William H., born Kansas about 1907; and Harold K., born Kansas about 1908. It’s interesting to note that this census shows an Elsie M. Chapman, also age nine, living next door to the Wingers. So, Elsie Winger would have been about twelve years old when she wrote and sent this postcard to friend Mattie, who would have been about twenty-four.

Divided back, embossed, used postcard. Postmarked March or May 18, 1913 from the Fletcher post office, Mitchell Township, Kansas. Publisher unknown.

Price:  $10.00

Sources:  Year: 1910; Census Place: Richmond, Franklin, Kansas; Roll: T624_439; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 0099; FHL microfilm: 1374452. (,_Franklin_County,_Kansas

Year: 1910; Census Place: Mitchell, Stanton, Kansas; Roll: T624_455; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0208; FHL microfilm: 1374468. (


Easter Blessings

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Divided back, artist-signed, embossed, used postcard. Postmarked from Marysville, California on March 27, 1929. Artist:  Margaret Evans Price. Publisher:  Stecher Lithographic Company, Rochester, New York. Copyrighted design. Series 502 A.

Availability status:  SOLD  

Another beautiful Easter postcard, this one in a church-type setting with a leaded-glass window and white background behind a charmingly dressed young woman with a sweet expression. She wears a dotted old-fashioned hoop skirt (or one with many petticoats?) and a velvet-looking blue jacket with black collar. Note the wide sleeves at the wrist that show off the ruffled blouse cuffs, and the corsage pinned to the jacket. Her black bonnet is trimmed with a band of flowers, she is reading Bible verse we presume, and is surrounded by various potted flowers.  “Easter Blessings”  is the caption below, the card is embossed and has a border of light purple. Easy to miss are the artist’s initials M.E.P. that are next to one of the plants on the left.

M.E.P. was Margaret Evans Price (1888-1973) American artist, author, illustrator, muralist, toy designer, known primarily for the many children’s books she wrote, illustrated or collaborated on. For more information on the artist see the excellent website in the source below.

This is another of many in The Alice Ellison (Mrs. J. M. Ellison) Collection. The name was misspelled or written in haste here as “Ellersun” and appears to be signed,  “E. B___?, Virginia and Mack.”

Source:  Margaret Evans Price. (accessed February 14, 2024).