The 1891 House

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard. Postmarked October 1909. Location unknown.

Price:  $12.00

A proud date?

You won’t notice the “1891” on this house unless you click on the image. And often the details of a photo are not found until it is scanned and enlarged (mentally rubbing palms together in anticipation – you never know what coolness might be revealed). In this case I was thinking we might see someone appearing in one of the windows, but did not expect to find what may be the year the house was built, appearing stylishly displayed in big numbers in the center of the second story. (Or could the 1891 be a house number? Doubtful.)

A town ending in….

No matches were found for this beautiful structure (hope it’s still standing) in online research, but we only looked in Connecticut, and didn’t look too extensively. The postmarked town, and thus potential house location, appears to have ended in “-ington” so if it was sent from CT it would have been Ellington, Farmington, Newington, Southington, Stonington or Torrington. Someone, maybe the previous vendor of this card, was guessing Stonington, per the writing at the top.

Cousin to cousin

After reviewing 1910 census records and an Ancestry tree online, we find that most likely this RPPC was sent from Helen Ashley who was the cousin of the recipient, Master Alfred Winsor of Plainfield, Connecticut. Helen, or maybe her mother, wrote:

“We are having a fine time, hope you are better, from Helen A.”

The cousins would have been about 9 years old at this time. Helen is the daughter of Alfred D. Ashley and Alice Lewis, and Alfred is Alfred Ashley Winsor, son of Edward N. Winsor and Susan F. Ashley.

Sources:  Year: 1910; Census Place: Plainfield, Windham, Connecticut; Roll: T624_144; Page: 20B; Enumeration District: 0578; FHL microfilm: 1374157. (Ancestry.com).

Year: 1910; Census Place: Plainfield, Windham, Connecticut; Roll: T624_144; Page: 27B; Enumeration District: 0578; FHL microfilm: 1374157. (Ancestry.com).

Roy Morrow And Family, Circa 1910s

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard, circa 1907 – 1910s. CYKO stamp box.

Price:  $8.00

“With respect from Roy Morrow.  To James Gilmore, South Heights Pa.”

A nice family photo, we assume, of the Morrow Family, location unknown, maybe Pennsylvania or the neighboring Ohio.

House style I.D.

This wood structure home is in the Folk style called National, specifically known as an I-house, which was two rooms wide and one room deep. In this case a front porch was added on directly in the center. Note the detailing on the porch brackets. Also of note, the hand-hewn planks for the fence portion on our left. And, on the roof, there is what might be one long, horizontal snow break, unless maybe it was designed for footing, if someone was up on the roof making repairs.

Source:  McAlester, Virginia, and Lee McAlester. A Field Guide to American Houses. 1984. New York:  Alfred A. Knopf, 1990. Print.

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.

Grandpa By The Fence

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

Price:  $4.00

Well, somebody’s Grandpa most likely. No identifying information for this gentleman. I think of him of having German ancestry, but maybe that’s because I’ve been looking at breweriana items just now….But these old fences to me are beautiful, each plank and post is unique. No mass production here. (Not to mention the house with attachment.) Notice the paper bag at the man’s feet, with writing, no less. If only we could zoom in to read the print! This vein brought up the question:  When was the paper bag invented? Per Wikipedia it was 1852. Surprising. And remember when people used to call them paper sacks? (Maybe some still do.)

Source:  Paper bag. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paper_bag (accessed September 23, 2018).

Papa’s Old Home

Old photo, circa late 1890s – early 1910s.

Price:  $5.00       Size:  3 and 1/16 x 5 and 3/16″

God bless this home and the previous one….the land and the people, past, present and future

“Papa’s old home where he lived when the cyclone took[?] the house away, this is the one they built after and at the corner is the cave that they would run[?] for when a big storm would come up.”

Wouldn’t it be awesome to know the exact locale of this beautiful little house? What’s on the property now? (A million possibilities, there). Who, if anyone, walks on this land now? Who did in the past, what tribes of Native Americans lived or hunted here before the settlers came….?

An Old Outbuilding

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard, unused. Circa 1907 – 1910s.

Price:  $4.00    

Rural America….a glimpse back

This postcard’s pretty beat up but still, or probably partly because of that, I love it. I love the pattern in the wooden shingles on the face of the, what would one call this, big shed? (Guess that’s why outbuilding works so well 😉 ) Maybe it was used for storage, or was once a chicken coop, though no evidence of chickens at this time. If you click to enlarge, and look inside, you can see what looks like a patchwork quilt covering up something. I love the window that looks like it was thrown together (sorry to whoever built it) and the short boards underneath the one end to make it all somewhat level. (Was it built that way or shored up later after heavy rains?) And last but not least, the young woman, laughing, the little girl with her toy wheeled cart, and their dog (caught in the middle of a bark or a yawn.) It’s a happy photo, and a glimpse back a hundred years or so, of life on the farm.

A Very Unusual Front Porch Entrance

Old photo, white border. Circa 1910s – 1920s.

Price:  $15.00          Size:  5 and 1/2 x 3 and 1/2″

What was the inspiration for the front porch entryway on this wooden shingle-sided house or cottage? Some gingerbread porches have similarly shaped designs, albeit hugely different in their airi- and elaborateness…..But, we’ve never seen one like this. The location is unknown. How nice would it be (this seems to be a common refrain with old photographs) to be able to pop in and wander around (if we went around the house to our left, we’d probably see another cutout looking into the porch – note the long curve next to the corner) first to see if any other homes in the area share this architectural feature, and secondly to look for street signs and at the surrounding terrain…..as ideas for our whereabouts start filtering through……and then, putting us out of our suspense, finding a passerby to ask what city we’re in, and if we’re brave enough, what year!

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).

Mrs. Frederick Mason

Silhouette dated 1935, artist-signed.

Price:  $7.00          Size including background:  About 2 and 2/3 x 3 and 1/4″

A beautiful little silhouette of a Mrs. Frederick Mason done in 1935. The signature of the “scissor artist” appears to be F. Castelhun, but we couldn’t find any reference to an artist by this name, or under the possible name of Castelton. Note the faint oval outline surrounding the figure, indicating that this elegant piece was once in a frame.

Mark Twain Shadow Card

Trade card, Woolson Spice Co., Toledo, OH. Gast Lithography Co., New York & Chicago. Copyright Woolson Spice Co., 1895.

Price:  $15.00     Size: 4 and 1/4 x 5 and 1/8″

This trade card of beautiful poppies, and charming scene of a couple and their dog by the seaside, likely was included in a package of Lion Coffee. The back states for “30 Lion Heads” cut from Lion Coffee wrappers, and a 2 cent stamp, you could get a ladies’ scissors,  “The delight of every girl and married lady. Length 4 1/2 inches. Just the thing for cutting, trimming, and general household use.”  Or you could send 20 Lion Heads and 7 cents.

This is the first shadow picture we’ve run into, though eBay currently has an Abe Lincoln,  also by the Woolson Spice Co. Did the copyright extend to the exclusive rights for shadow pictures? Not sure, and there’s no telling how many others survived, possibly not a whole lot.  But they did a good job with Mark Twain, or is it that he had one of those profiles that was easily recognizable? Anyway, if you did some careful work, cutting on the line, you could set up the card on its “easel” in a good spot that would show off the scene on the front, and throw the shadow of this beloved literary figure on your wall. Pretty unique!

And this is our second card from the Woolson Spice Company. See Lion Coffee Parallelogram.

Source:  Mark Twain. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Twain (accessed September 8, 2018).