Old Photo of S.S. Northwestern

Old photo, circa 1920s.

Price:  $25.00             Size:  About 5 and 1/2 x 3 and 1/4″

The S.S. Northwestern – a cargo and passenger ship running the Alaskan Coast

This one was found in a bin of loose photographs at a paper fair or antique store. No writing on the back and, at the time of looking through said bin, no potential relations stood out; none that would noticeably link themselves to this item, though they well could have been there. Knowing this, when singling out one photo to take home, there’s always that feeling of – possibly separating the poor individual from its home group. An integral portion of some family’s story is now being orphaned (sob!). Well no, not orphaned really, but adopted out. And then there’s always the flip side with its mysterious forces at play:  “One is better than none and if I don’t get this one, who will?”  In these situations, you can almost feel your purchase automatically opening a door (somewhere in the universe) with someone in the future finding the item (in delighted discovery), and relaying info to us such as, “My great-grandfather worked on that ship,” or “I have relatives that traveled up to [such-and-such] on this ship.” …..Back to the blank reverse, probably most of us have that tendency – to not take the time to put anything on the back. No judgement – it can definitely be tedious, and with all good intentions, often gets put off till “later.” And dealers (thousands of pieces passing through their hands) cannot realistically be expected to document where their acquisitions have come from. (Though once in great while you get lucky.) Fortunately, with this photo, we at least have the ship’s name which clearly shows. Here’s a crop, and I believe that’s a woman standing there – appearing for us just below the name and above the cargo in the netting. (Click to enlarge.) We’ll estimate the time-frame to be the 1920s, just due to the look of the clothing styles.

Source:  SS Northwestern. n.d.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Northwestern#/media/ File:S.S._Northwestern_moored_in_Seward,_Alaska.jpg (accessed July 16, 2024).

Firenze – Cattedrale e Panorama

Italian postcard, unused. Circa 1950s. Publisher:  Gino Giusti, Florence, Italy. Artist-signed.

Price:  $5.00          Size:  5 and 7/8 x 4 and 1/16″

Florence, Italy – Panoramic view of Florence (Firenze) including the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (aka Florence Duomo). The unknown artist’s signature appears at the bottom right. I’m basing the 1950s estimated date for this card on a couple of postmarked cards that are currently appearing on eBay by the same publisher.

Note:  It’s unfortunate – the foxing marks that show on the reverse of this one, so if you’re a buyer, just be advised. Best storage is in an acid-free container away from other items. And, we do get buyers that only want digital copies – just let me know, if so.

Sources:  Florence Cathedral. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florence_Cathedral (accessed July 13, 2024).

Foxing. n.d. (accessed July 13, 2024).

Bronze Lion’s Head

Divided back, unused postcard. Photographer:  Guido Bernardi, Genzano di Roma, Italy. Circa 1920s – 1930s. 

Price:  $15.00

A nice lion! Look at those eyes, they look human.

Genzano di Roma is a town and commune in the city of Rome, Italy – and the apparent home base for the photographer. We don’t know if he had a formal studio or may have worked out of a residence. Nothing, of note, was found for him, bearing in mind, we’re looking only from our limited vantage point here in the United States, without access to much in the way of Italian records. The wording on the reverse, “Proprieta artistica riservata”, translates to “Reserved artistic property.”

The card bears the description,  “Lago Di Nemi – Bronze di nave roma a.”  Lago di Nemi is Lake Nemi, located south of Rome.

And we found a better source for our postcard image on Wikipedia, showing a different view of the lion:

Decorazione bronzo navi di Nemi with the description:  “Navi di Nemi. Elemento decorativo in bronzo per testa di trave, rappresentante una testa di leone che stringe fra i denti un anello.”

Google translation: “Ships of Nemi. Bronze decorative element for beam head, representing a lion’s head clutching a ring between its teeth.”

Sources:  Genzano di Roma. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genzano_di_Roma (accessed July 12, 2024).

Lake Nemi. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Nemi (accessed July 12, 2024).

Decorazione bronzo navi di Nemi – Museo scienza e tecnologia Milano Nemi. n.d. https://it.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Decorazione_bronzo_navi_di_Nemi_-_Museo_scienza_e_tecnologia_Milano_Nemi_156.jpg (accessed July 12, 2024).

Link Extinguisher, York, North Yorkshire, England

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard, unused. Signed. Copyright. Series or number:  6956. Photographer and publisher:  Walter Scott, Bradford, West Yorkshire, UK. Circa 1910 – 1930s.

Price:  $15.00

Link Extinguisher at York

Nice publisher logo on this one (the publisher’s initials). Walter Scott was a Bradford, Yorkshire, UK photographer. We found a listing for him in that city’s directory in 1912 at 2 Barkerend Road; an ad for him in a London newspaper in 1924; and another Real Photo card by him on eBay, with a postmark of 1932. So, estimating 1910 – 1930s for the date manufactured for ours.

The subject of our postcard, the link extinguisher, would have been notable as something rather uncommon – a remnant of an earlier age, before gas street lamps lit the way. The metal cone-shaped object was used to put out the torch carried by link-boys working the streets and servants of households of the more well-to-do.

Below, a clipping from the Manchester Evening News in 1908, regarding a different residence, also noteworthy because of its link extinguisher:

Sources:  Wm Byles & Sons, Ltd. Post Office Directory, Bradford and District Business Guide, 1912. p. 454.(Ancestry.com UK, City and County Directories, 1766 – 1946).

Link-boy. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Link-boy (accessed July 10, 2024).

“A Link with the Past.”  Manchester Evening News (Manchester, England). December 4, 1908. Friday, p. 6. (Newspapers.com).

Walter Scott photographer ad. Daily Herald (London, England). January 30, 1924. Wednesday, p. 6. (Newspapers.com).

“Yorkshire Bradford BAILDON c1930s RP Postcard Walter Scott.” https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/174238687742. Accessed July 10, 2024.

More of Mayme E. Myers or Unknown

Three photos. Photographer(s):  Unknown. Sizes as noted include the cardboard matting.

Prices:  $15.00 each or $40.00 for three or $50.00 for all four (includes prior post photo).

About the possible name:  This is the same girl from our prior post. That photo has writing on the back that shows, “Mayme E. Myers.”  However, there are two women in that one but only the one name, so we can’t say for certain that this is Mayme. All four were found in an antique shop in Monterey, California. 

Size:  About 4 and 3/8 x 6 and 1/4″    Circa 1890s.

The subject of our photo above, at around thirteen years old. This one has a sticker on the reverse from the antique shop where it was found, (not naming names) which shows “1852.” Really, this was not from that time-period. For one, (no need to look for additional proof) there’s no doubt that she’s the same person in both the prior posting and the three on this page – this after comparing facial features and ear shape. (Just mentioning this sticker with “date” for a potential buyer and as a caution to anyone buying old photos that have a date affixed by the seller.) I’d estimate the date as circa 1890s – fashion-wise, with all the ruffles, the large sleeves, the grand bow in back, and that excellent hat with its high ostrich plumes. (Enlarging the photo, you’ll notice the two-heart pin at the neckline – rather adorable.)

Size:  About 4 and 1/4 x 6 and 3/8″      Circa 1900s.

Above, the second in this set. I think she’s a bit younger here than in the next one, and it’s another stunning shot. (She’s a beautiful girl and very photogenic.) If you enlarge the image, note that the curl that’s been allowed to drape on the shoulder seems to have fabric covering its upper portion. Unless this was altered in the photo process? Definitely possible, as it turns out there were modifications to this photo, read on to the end.

Size:  About 4 and 3/8 x 6 and 5/8″       Circa 1900s – 1910s.

Above, the third, our “Updo Girl.” I’m calling her this now in my head, after recently discovering a great movie on You Tube, called Detroit Unleaded. Check it out if you have the time. It has absolutely nothing to do with these photos and is just a phrase from the film – but fitting for her hairstyle. Enlarge to see the details on the beautiful lace blouse she’s wearing. As for the difference in skin-tone in this one compared to the others (especially the earliest) something was different in the photographic process – note the above’s slightly reddish hue. If these were modern-era photos we’d be talking about “white balance.”

Photo modification……

And having scrutinized the second photo, I’m compelled to show how it appears to have been retouched. The “dots” don’t appear to be dirt marks on the photo. The bodice of pleats with its soft polka dots looks very natural. But above that, more dots. Those look “off” or, at least, some do. Really, the full neckline trim is inconsistent – soft and flowery on our left and tighter, sort of knotted on our right. And then, we can see more telltale signs of retouching – the “scratch marks” as noted by the arrows. The changes were likely done while the image was still a negative, though “later on” they could be applied directly to the photo. We’ll get into some details on this extensive subject in an upcoming post, as time permits. But, see the last two sources below for more info.

Sources:  Hull, Rob. November 30, 2017. “White Balance:  100 Years of History.” https://thephotographeronline.com/inspiration/white-balance-100-years-of-history/. Accessed July 1, 2024.

Sears, Jocelyn. July 28, 2016. “How Photo Retouching Worked Before Photoshop.” https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/83262/how-photo-retouching-worked-photoshop. Accessed July 4, 2024.

Complete Self-Instructing Library of Practical Photography. Vol X. American School of Art and Photography. Scranton, Pennsylvania. (1909).  (Google.com book search).

Mayme E. Myers and Unknown

Oval family photo on cardboard. Circa 1900 – 1910s. Photographer:  Mowrey.

Price:  $15.00               Size including cardboard mounting:  About 3 and 1/2 x 5″

Two lovely young women have posed for this family photo, wearing striped blouses trimmed with high necklines, and with the upswept hairdo popular in the Edwardian Era…..

Wow, it’s too bad that both names were not written on the back. We don’t know which one is Mayme, and we also don’t know, for sure, if Myers was her maiden name. I’m wondering if these two might be sisters. See the next post for three more studio-type photos of the woman on our left. And, it looks like there are too many possibilities to be able to locate Mayme in records, especially since Mayme or Mamie was sometimes a nickname for Mary.

As for the photographer, searching under the surname Mowrey, nationwide, from 1900 – 1920, three possibilities were found. Hopefully someone will be able to identify Mayme which will point us to a photographer location. In any case, the following may be of help: 

Harvey Allen Mowrey in Ashland, Ohio. Ran his own studio as of 1901.

William H. Mowrey, longtime photographer in Newport, Rhode Island.

Walter Emmert Mowrey.  Kansas native, active in Kearney and Custer County, Nebraska. Several newspaper articles show up for him. He also worked out of Salt Lake City, Utah 1909 – 1911. Died in Santa Cruz, California.

Lastly, it’s always possible he was none of the above. Since we’re not sure, we won’t go to any great lengths in sourcing the above; various records found were viewed from the list below:

Sources:  Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995.

Various census records and a family tree via Ancestry.com.