Artist Ruth Welch Siver (1871 – 1933)

Cropped from an earlier post, an illustration by artist Ruth Welch Siver, circa 1922.

Signed, Ruth K. Welch, Ruth Welch Siver, Ruth W. Siver and Ruth Siver….

Numerous examples of this artist’s work can be found on old postcards and valentines, but nothing was showing up about the artist. So, we went hunting and found the answer in the puzzle pieces that are made up of newspaper archives, census and vital records. We discovered that Welch was Ruth’s maiden name and that she had established herself as an artist prior to her marriage, so it only made sense that she kept Welch in her signature, at least for some time. (And perhaps her prior work, for which we find no example, would have been under Ruth K. Welch.)

Below, the clipping from The Topeka Daily Capital, dated March 26, 1920 which confirmed the artist’s identity:  “Mrs. Siver, who is an artist, is having much success making post cards for the New York trade.”

Native Pennsylvanians

Ruth K. Welch was born September 9, 1871 in Pennsylvania, to Pennsylvania natives James M. Welch and Mary E. Mason. From census records Ruth was the middle child of seven:  oldest to youngest was Viola, Jessie, Edward, Ruth, Grace, George and Florence. The 1870 census shows the parents, and children Viola, Jessie, and Edward, living in Curwensville, Clearfield County.  Sometime after Ruth was born in 1871 and before Grace was born in 1876 the family relocated to Iowa, and relocated again after George was born in 1878 in Iowa, to when youngest child Florence was born in Kansas in 1883.

Early career

Ruth was teaching in WaKeeney, Trego County, Kansas in 1894 – 1895.

The 1900 Federal Census for the Welch family in Topeka shows their address as 709 Topeka Avenue, and Ruth’s occupation as artist.

Below, two clips from The Topeka State Journal, November 1900 advertising Ruth’s exhibits at Unity Church. The Sichel reference is to German-born artist Nathaniel Sichel (1843 – 1907). (And we wonder what happened to Ruth’s “The Queen of the Harem” painting.)

A specialty in  posters and ad designs

The following clips from The Topeka Daily Capital, Jan. 4, 1905 and The Ottawa Daily Republic, Jan. 3, 1906 inform us that Ms. Welch was working in the poster, advertisement and calendar field; of particular mention in both articles is the well-known Santa Fe railway calendars. See D.L. Briscoe’s tribute:  “Santa Fe Calendar History” for background.

Below, two 1904 ads, run by the artist, that appeared in The Topeka Daily Capital, June 1904 and February 1905:

Ruth married Stephen H. Siver on December 21, 1909 in Topeka, Kansas:    Stephen was born February 27, 1884 in NY and died March 20, 1981 in FL. They had no children.

From census records….

1915 – occupation housework, in Albany, NY at 56 Elberson Place, with husband Stephen.

1920 – occupation artist, with husband, at 215 109th St. in Manhattan, NY with Ruth’s sister, Jessie Landers.

1925 – occupation writer, with husband, living at 231 W. 96th St. in Manhattan.

1930 – occupation artist in modeling industry, single, living at 231 W. 96th St., Manhattan.

Ruth Welch Siver died October 7, 1933 in the Bronx, New York, and though we wonder what became of her earlier work, her charming illustrations in the valentine and postcard industry, with their cute, funny/quirky captions, live on.

________________________________________________________________________

Sources:  The Topeka Daily Capital, March 26, 1920. Friday, p. 6. (Newspapers.com).

Year: 1870; Census Place: Curwensville, Clearfield, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1327; Page: 325B; Family History Library Film: 552826. (Ancestry.com).

Year: 1880; Census Place: Trego, Kansas; Roll: 398; Family History Film: 1254398; Page: 306C; Enumeration District: 314. (Ancestry.com).

 “Trego Teachers.” Western Kansas World, (WaKeeney, Kansas) October 27, 1894. Saturday, p. 2. (Newspapers.com).

Year: 1900; Census Place: Topeka Ward 4, Shawnee, Kansas; Roll: 500; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 0158; FHL microfilm: 1240500. (Ancestry.com).

“Nathaniel Sichel.” (http://www.artnet.com/artists/nathaniel-sichel/) Web accessed April 1, 2018.

“Art Exhibit.” The Topeka State Journal. November 17, 1900. Saturday, p. 5. (Newspapers.com).

“The Queen of the Harem.” The Topeka State Journal, November 17, 1900. Saturday, p. 5. (Newspapers.com).

“Santa Fe Calendar History.” (http://dlbriscoe.com/santa-fe-railway-calendars.html) Web accessed April 1, 2018.

“Artistic Calendar By Miss Welch.”  The Topeka Daily Capital, January 4, 1905. Wednesday, p. 3. (Newspapers.com).

“A Kansas Artist’s Work.”  The Ottawa Daily Republic (Ottawa, KS). January 3, 1906. Wednesday, p. 6. (Newspapers.com).

“Attention.”  The Topeka Daily Capital, June 1, 1904. Wednesday, p. 2. (Newspapers.com).

“Lessons.”  The Topeka Daily Capital, February 26, 1905. Sunday, p. 10. (Newspapers.com).

“Welch-Siver.”  The Topeka Daily Capital, December 23, 1909. Thursday, p. 5. (Newspapers.com).

“Stephen Henry Siver, Jr.” Florida Death Index, 1877-1998. (Ancestry.com).

New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 03; Assembly District: 01; City: Albany Ward 18; County: Albany; Page: 22. (Ancestry.com).

Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 11, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1205; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 822. (Ancestry.com).

New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 14; Assembly District: 09; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 20. (Ancestry.com).

Year: 1930; Census Place: Manhattan, Manhattan, New York; Page: 16A; Enumeration District: 0459. (Ancestry.com).

“New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WGR-XV3 : 20 March 2015), James Welch in entry for Ruth Welch Siver, 07 Oct 1933; citing Death, Bronx, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 2,155,816.

Anna (Gibson) Ely, Ypsilanti, Michigan

Cabinet Card, circa 1883 – 1885. Photographer:  Lewis & Gibson, Ypsilanti, Michigan

Price:  $15.00

Photographers, Jefferson Gibson and Emerson Lewis, had reportedly teamed up for only about three years, giving us a very good estimate for this Cabinet Card date, 1883 to 1885, with this portrait of the beautiful Anna Gibson (no relation to the photographer that we know of). Though she wears a ring that might indicate that the photographic duo continued into late 1886, just as likely, this image was taken before her marriage to John Young Ely, December 22, 1886. The marriage record lists both bride and groom as being native residents of Farmington, Michigan, he age 22, occupation farmer, and she age 20. John, died very young, we’re sorry to report, at age 32 of peritonitis. Anna was the daughter of Joseph Gibson who was born in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland (an inadvertent Irish connection with our last few web posts) and Martha Morrison, of Michigan.

The 1900 Federal Census shows Anna, widowed, with her three children, Martha, William and Joseph, renting at 304 N. Hamilton, Ypsilanti, with her sister, Mary Gibson and three lodgers, though numerous later records show a longer residence at 307 N. Hamilton (including some that show Anna’s occupation as nurse).

Sources:  “Jefferson Gibson.” Portrait and Biographical Album of Washtenaw County, Michigan. Biographical Publishing Co. Chicago 1891. pp. 228 – 229.

“Michigan Marriages, 1868-1925,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N3K4-MP8 : 10 March 2018), John Young Ely and Annie Jennie Gibson, 22 Dec 1886; citing Farmington, Oakland, Michigan, v 2 p 38 rn 1121, Department of Vital Records, Lansing; FHL microfilm 2,342,479.

Year: 1900; Census Place: Ypsilanti Ward 3, Washtenaw, Michigan; Page: 6; Enumeration District: 0112. (Ancestry.com).

Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 27 March 2018), memorial page for Anna Jane Gibson Ely (27 Jan 1867–22 Jul 1956), Find A Grave Memorial no. 11715472, citing Oakwood Cemetery, Farmington, Oakland County, Michigan, USA ; Maintained by Kätzchen (contributor 47304829) .

“Find A Grave Index,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVVD-GQWR : 13 December 2015), John Young Ely, 1897; Burial, Farmington, Oakland, Michigan, United States of America, Oakwood Cemetery; citing record ID 11715471, Find a Grave, http://www.findagrave.com.

Death Records. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics, Lansing, Michigan.

R. L. Polk & Co.’s Ypsilanti City Directory, 1931. p. 84. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

M. A. Sullivan, Sartoria, Nebraska

Old photo, circa late 1890s.

Price:  $12.00        Size of photo:  1 and 3/4 x 2 and 5/8″

Sartoria, Buffalo County, Nebraska, on the map below:

Sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you don’t. One pictures an easy pull-up of census records of maybe a Mary or a Margaret (tracing a middle name to Ann) Sullivan in Buffalo County, near or in Sartoria…..indicating beyond a reasonable doubt, a match for the beautiful young woman, that appears (in striped seersucker) in our photo above, and is of presumably Irish descent. But nope, what was found instead were a few possibilities and a fourth that we had to rule out:

Mary Sullivan, single, born Ireland 1874, sister of T. D. Sullivan, clergyman, born Ireland about 1877. Elm Creek, Buffalo County, Nebraska, 1910 Federal Census.

Or…..Mary Sullivan, born about 1878 IL, residence Gibbon township NE from the 1885 State Census, age 7. Daughter of Timothy, born Ireland, and Christie, born Sweden.

Or….Maggie Sullivan, born Michigan 1864, daughter of John C. and Mary Sullivan. Residence Kearney, Buffalo Co., NE on the 1880 Federal Census.

Not our M. A. Sullivan but interesting nonetheless…..

Mary Sullivan, born about Oct 1870 IL, single, schoolteacher, parents Daniel and Julia Sullivan, born Ireland. Beaver NE 1900 Federal Census. This one led us down a long path with detours for Shakespearean research, masques (not masks) and the University of Nebraska. It was this Mary Sullivan, Ph.D. (as far was we can tell not the one in our photo) that wrote Court Masques of James I:  Their Influence on Shakespeare and the Public Theatres, was mentioned in newspaper articles (alas no photo) and finally traced to Schenley High School, 1921, Pittsburgh, PA (with a photo that appears to rule out a match.)

A nice ring to it

Sartoria was settled by Swedish immigrant John Swenson. See Alice S. Howell’s “Sartoria, A Lovely Ghost Town.” The name of the little village is said to have been coined because it was easy to pronounce. (In Italian the word means “tailoring” but this is just FYI.)

Sources:  Sartoria, Nebraska. Google Maps. (Google.com).

Year: 1910; Census Place: Elm Creek, Buffalo, Nebraska; Roll: T624_839; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 0035; FHL microfilm: 1374852. (Ancestry.com).

National Archives and Records Administration; Nebraska State Census; Year: 1885; Series/Record Group: M352; County: Buffalo; Township: Gibbon; Page: 5. (Ancestry.com).

Year: 1900; Census Place: Beaver, Buffalo, Nebraska; Page: 7; Enumeration District: 0022. (Ancestry.com).

Year: 1880; Census Place: Kearney, Buffalo, Nebraska; Roll: 743; Page: 263D; Enumeration District: 154. (Ancestry.com).

Masque. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masque (accessed March 24, 2018).

The Schenley Journal Class Book (1921) p. 6. Pittsburgh:  Schenley High School. (classmates.com)

Howell, Alice Shaneyfelt. “Sartoria, A Lovely Ghost Town.” Buffalo County Historical Society, Vol. 4, number 6. June 1981.

An tAonach Gaelach (The Irish Fair)

I had this little Useful Irish Phrases card hanging around since the days of studying Irish, so thought why not put it up here? I will never forget being stunned listening to my first instruction cassette tape (yep, lol, the days of cassettes) as hearing certain phrases on the tape hit me with a really strong déjà vu feeling, as if I’d spoken the language in the past. This card is from former teacher and friend, Mike.

Glendalough, County Wicklow, Ireland, Aerial View

Divided back, unused postcard. Publisher: Dúchas. Circa 1995 – 2003.

Price:  $1.00        Size:  About 6 and 3/4 x 5 and 3/4″

Gleann Dá Loch, Co. Chill Mhantáin. Radharc ón Aer. An Roinn Ealaíon, Oidhreachta, Gaeltachta agus Oileán. Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands. Series or number 53.

For St. Patrick’s Day, just a quick newer postcard to start off a short Ireland theme….The publisher is Dúchas – The Heritage Service and per the short Wiki article they were not around very long, so this postcard would be dated from about 1995 to 2003.

“The Monastic City”

This card shows an aerial view of the ancient Christian monastic site founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century. Most of the buildings date from the 10th through 12th centuries.

Sources:  Dúchas. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C3%BAchas (accessed March 17, 2018).

Glendalough Monastic City – Ireland’s Ancient East. visitwicklow.ie. (accessed March 17, 2017).

The Battertons In 1909

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard, unused. AZO stamp box.

Price:  $15.00

“Grandfather & Grandmother Edgar & Margaret & Jennie Batterton taken Sept 1st 1909.”

As near as we can figure, that is to say, no other Batterton families match up as well, this image shows left to right:  William Edgar Batterton, born 1876 in Missouri, with his wife Jean A. “Jennie”, born about 1886 in Ontario, Canada, Edgar’s parents David L. Batterton, born about 1848 in Missouri and Nancy Margaret (Cromwell) Batterton, born 1848 in Missouri and the youngest Batterton, Jean Margaret, born 1908 in Manitoba, Canada. The Canadian connection may have been established by David L. Batterton:  A homestead grant record shows for David dated 1902.

Adding credibility

A little more credibility for our educated guess on the specific family:  Edgar’s WWI Draft Registration card shows his date of birth as November 25, 1876, living in Minneapolis, wife listed as nearest relative, and his build is described as stout (matches the photo) and eyes blue (not discrepant) though his hair by this time had become gray. He is listed on this record as a naturalized citizen of Canada.

A paid gig

It’s always fun to try to read any books or signs or anything else with wording that might be, by chance (or not) in a photo. This one shows the grandmother holding one of Eastman Kodak’s periodicals Studio Light. Underneath the title is Aristo Eagle, the name of another photographic journal which must have, by that time, been incorporated into Studio Light. The Eagle was earlier published by the American Aristotype Co. out of Jamestown, New York. So, the image for our RPPC was almost certainly taken by a professional photographer, rather than by friend or family, and we picture him making sure (as always, making provisions for fidgety children) the baby had something to hold, if needed.

Sources:  “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MH84-HGF : 16 August 2017), Edgar Batterton in household of David L Batterton, Butte City, Deer Lodge, Montana, United States; citing enumeration district ED 10, sheet 106A, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 0742; FHL microfilm 1,254,742.

“United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K87L-F8S : 12 December 2014), William Edgar Batterton, 1917-1918; citing Minneapolis City no 10, Minnesota, United States, NARA microfilm publication M1509 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,675,682.

Year: 1920; Census Place: Minnetonka, Hennepin, Minnesota; Roll: T625_839; Page: 19B; Enumeration District: 264. (Ancestry.com).

Google eBook Studio Light. Vol. 11, March 1919, No. 1. (Google.com).

“Great Aristo Lamp.” Belvidere Daily Republican. (Belvidere, Illinois) May 18, 1905, Thursday, p. 3. (Newspapers.com).

A Beaming Boy

Old photo, circa 1930s – 1940s.

Price:  $4.00        Size:  About 4 x 6″

I love this photo – such a charming kid! No name, location or date on this one either (like the last post) so no hope to trace a name to a current family, but still, impossible to resist. It was found either at one of the paper shows my friend and I like to frequent or at an antique store, loose in a bin. The time frame’s a guess of 1930s or 1940s. Besides that very engaging smile, I like the way he’s off center in the photo, the rolled up sleeves, the somewhat slicked up hair for the photo (nice style, very GQ) and the tie, slightly askew.

Girl With A Parasol

Photo in cardboard folding frame. Photographer unknown. Glossy finish, Velox paper. Circa late 1920s – 1940s.

Price:  $10.00       Size including frame:  About 4 and 1/2 x 8 and 1/2″

Multiple layers for photo detecting

The Velox marks that appear on the back of the photograph indicate the time frame was maybe around late 1920s – ’40s. But this one has a lot of other clues, too, though it feels like we’re dancing around the answer without quite finding it:  We looked at the cardboard frame style, the dress, the striped knee socks, the floral pattern of the Japanese-style paper parasol, the metal folding chair, the shoes (Mary Janes with a alligator pattern around the heal, very snazzy by the way) and the hairstyle. And then for location, the foliage (No, we didn’t really get that crazy. But, that is a tree trunk we’re seeing behind the umbrella, not a blur in the image.) My feeling is 1930s for the era, but we’ll update it later if a better estimate comes around. And then the girl….a great girl. We don’t know her name, but wasn’t this a nice captured moment of happiness?

Source:  Messier, Paul. “Notes on Dating Photographic Paper.” p. 125. Topics in Photographic Preservation, Volume 11. 2005, Photographic Materials Group of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works. http://resources.conservation-us.org/pmgtopics/2005-volume-eleven/11_16_Messier.pdf. (accessed March 3, 2018).

Choose The Best Shade

Trade Card. J & P Coats. Circa1880s – 1890s.

Price:  $15.00               Size:  About 4 and 1/8 x 2 and 5/8″

Such a pretty card and with a clever caption! The stripes going through the waves remind me of the zigzag pattern in clothes that has materialized (just a happy coincidence on the pun) on the scene in the world of fashion in recent years, and the design on the back of the card that surrounds the lettering in bold, is delicate and almost mechanical-looking.

J & P Coats you will instantly recognize as a mega company in the world of thread. I checked my sewing tin just now and found all the labels as either Coats, under the current Coats Group logo, Clark O.N.T. (Our New Thread) or Coats & Clark.

Sources:  Coats Group. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coats_Group (accessed February 25, 2018).

Coats. TRC Leiden. (accessed February 25, 2018).

A Postal Telegram….Don’t Worry!

Divided back, unused postcard. Circa 1907 – 1910s. Publisher APC or AP Co. Series or number 2119.

Price:  $7.00

“Postal Card Telegram. From ______. I get the blues every time I think of leaving this place; I’m thinking of locating here permantly. Don’t Worry!

A tricky spelling for many….

Ha, well permanently was misspelled above. Interesting. In looking for “permantly” in Newspapers.com (I wondered for a sec if the spelling had changed) from years 1832 to the present, over 13,000 entries were found, the last one dated in 2016. Sure, compared to the over 8 million entries found under the  correct spelling of permanently, 13k is not so very much, but still, it’s proof that the word has permanently confounded some of us English-speakers. 😉 And most definitely we can find the incorrect spelling in abundance still today, in ads, social media, etc. and though some is hasty typing, ignore spell check, no biggie type of thing, others are well, not so much.

No worries

The “not to worry” instruction to the receiver…hmmm:  Guessing that is because telegrams were often needed to send bad news, especially during the war. Or maybe, the sender is saying don’t worry, I’ll be coming back, or even don’t worry about me after I leave because I’ll be fine just as soon as I get back to you! And the image, though not of the best quality, is a charmer, of a happy couple, she in her high-brimmed bonnet and he in his straw boater, holding an umbrella.

Publisher name unknown

A nice header on the reverse shows the logo of the publisher:  maybe standing for AP or APC Company. If memory serves, this is one we haven’t come across yet.