A Detroiter, Circa 1910s by Photographer Charles J. Merz

Real Photo Postcard, circa 1907 – 1918. Detroit, Michigan. AZO Stamp Box.

Price:  $10.00

We’re taking liberties with the title of this post by presuming that the subject above lived in Detroit. In any case, he’s a handsome guy, here in dark suit, light-colored tie and pocket handkerchief, and a detachable collar. He’s seated in a carved wooden chair, which most likely, belonged to the photographer. And we wonder if this chair could have folded – is that a seam we’re seeing on our right above the armrest, or is it just part of the carving?

The time-frame for the card is based on the AZO stamp box, all four triangles pointing up, and the fact that it is a Divided Back card.

As for the photographer:  Charles John Merz, son of Christian Merz and Elizabeth Trost, was born September 14, 1872, in Michigan. Both parents were born in Germany. He married Buffalo, New York native,Tillie Bischy on June 5, 1901. Their daughter, Olive, was born about 1905. And, it turns out that Merz was in the photography business for decades, which is unusual for the time, given that most photographers (and there was so many that went into the trade) had either a rather short-lived career, or had moved on to other occupations by the 1920s. (It would be interesting to see statistics on this subject.)

Charles appears to have gotten started in the photography business around age 20, or a little earlier. The 1893 city directory shows he was working for, or with, photographer, Herman Baron, at 49 Monroe Ave in Detroit. By 1896 he is with the C. M. Hayes & Co. studio, and listed as a printer. The most recent city directory with the Michigan Avenue business address was found for 1919. On the 1920, ’30 and ’40 census records he is listed as a commercial photographer. By 1930 he, Tillie and Olive, are living in Livonia.

In searching for other photographs or cards several can be currently found for sale online. But, the Clements Library at the University of Michigan holds an old album containing photos from 1888 to about 1910, about 147 total, including a self-portrait. These images are not online but see the link below for more info.

Sources: “Real Photo Postcard Stamp Boxes A-B.” (Playle.com). https://www.playle.com/realphoto/photoa.php. (accessed May 24, 2022).

Year: 1880; Census Place: Frenchtown, Monroe, Michigan; Roll: 595; Page: 399B; Enumeration District: 178. (Ancestry.com).

R. L. Polk & Co.’s Detroit City Directory, 1893. pp. 232 and 847. Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995.

R. L. Polk & Co.’s Detroit City Directory, 1895. p. 961. Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995.

Year: 1900; Census Place: Detroit Ward 10, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: 751; Page: 3; Enumeration District: 0109; FHL microfilm: 1240751. (Ancestry.com).

Michigan Department of Community Health, Division of Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952; Film: 73; Film Description: 1901 Tuscola-1902 Branch. (Ancestry.com).

Year: 1910; Census Place: Detroit Ward 14, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: T624_686; Page: 13B; Enumeration District: 0217; FHL microfilm: 1374699. (Ancestry.com).

Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.

R. L. Polk & Co.’s Detroit City Directory, 1919. p. 2840. Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995.

Year: 1920; Census Place: Detroit Ward 15, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: T625_814; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 457. (Ancestry.com).

Year: 1930; Census Place: Livonia, Wayne, Michigan; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 1015; FHL microfilm: 2340810. (Ancestry.com).

Year: 1940; Census Place: Livonia, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: m-t0627-01833; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 82-177A. (Ancestry.com).

“Charles J. Merz Photograph Album (1888 – ca. 1910).”  Charles J. Merz photograph album, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan. (accessed May 24, 2022).

Nora Ward, Silver Lake, Indiana

Carte-de-Visite, circa 1876. Photographer:  J. F. Shoemaker, Warsaw, Indiana.

Price:  $18.00      Size:  About 2 and 1/2 x 4 and 1/8″

An adorable photo of Nora Ward, estimating she was about four years old in this picture. Love the stripes on the skirt and jacket, and I’m always struck by the quality of the clothing in antique photos.

We find Nora on the 1880 Federal Census for Silver Lake, IN:  Daughter of U. F.(?) and Ellen S. Ward. Nora was born in Indiana, about 1872, the fourth child of five. Siblings on this record are Laura, Charlie, Artemas and Mary. Their father is a physician. Further searches show the father’s full name is Uriah Irvin Ward and mother’s maiden name Giauque (possible French-Swiss origin). Nora grows up to marry a Mr. Gardner, and is living in Los Angeles in 1918, per Uriah’s obit, below:

Sources:  Year: 1880; Census Place: Silver Lake, Kosciusko, Indiana; Roll: 290; Page: 211B; Enumeration District: 058. (Ancestry.com).

Directory of Deceased American Physicians, 1804-1929. (Ancestry.com).

“U. I. Ward is Dead.” The Hutchinson News (Hutchinson, KS). May 17, 1918. Friday, p. 8. (Newspapers.com).

Marriage Records. Ohio Marriages. Various Ohio County Courthouses. (Ancestry.com).

George W. Parker and William Lewis Parker

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard. September 1907. Photographer:  E. E. Flack. Alexandria Bay, New York. CYKO stamp box.

Price:  $12.00

A beautiful studio photo (but was it an oversight for the floor covering not to be straightened out first?) of brothers George Washington and William Lewis Parker. That’s George on the left. A family member had nicely identified them on the back with their dates of birth and included the date the photo was taken.

“William Lewis Parker April 22, 1903. George W. Parker Dec. 16, 1907. This picture taken Sept. 19, 09.”

Per Find A Grave, their parents are Lorenzo Dow Parker and Adelaide (Thomas) Parker and George’s middle name is Washington. The photographer’s full name is Eugene E. Flack per the 1910 Federal Census for Alexandria Bay. State census records show the Parkers living in Macomb, St. Lawrence County, NY., about 25 miles northeast of Alexandria Bay.

Sources:  Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 06 December 2019), memorial page for William Lewis Parker (22 Apr 1903–29 Jul 1978), Find A Grave Memorial no. 26220914, citing Pleasant Lake Cemetery, Brasie Corners, St. Lawrence County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Anne Cady (contributor 46985237) .

Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 06 December 2019), memorial page for George Washington Parker (15 Dec 1907–28 May 1981), Find A Grave Memorial no. 26220907, citing Pleasant Lake Cemetery, Brasie Corners, St. Lawrence County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Anne Cady (contributor 46985237) .
New York State Department of Health; Albany, NY, USA; New York State Marriage Index. (Ancestry.com).
New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 01 E.D. 01; City: Macomb; County: St Lawrence; Page: 11. (Ancestry.com).
Year: 1910; Census Place: Alexandria Bay, Jefferson, New York; Roll: T624_953; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 0004; FHL microfilm: 1374966. (Ancestry.com).

Detroit Woman By Marratt

Cabinet Card, circa 1880s. Photographer:  William Marratt. 131, 133 and 135 Woodward Ave, Detroit, Michigan.

Price:  $7.00

Here’s another Cabinet Card with no writing on the back, but at least we have the location and photographer or studio on this one. See our post on William Marratt. But the subject is a beautiful young lady, a Detroiter, we presume, posing with hands resting on the back of a wooden chair with brocade fabric (I’m guessing brocade). Note the wedding ring on her left hand. She bears a strong resemblance to a friend, which is neither here nor there, but it’s funny how closely someone can resemble someone else….The time frame is probably the 1880s due to the dress style, the type of sleeves (close-fitting) but this is a semi-educated guess from me, after consulting a lovely book from my shelf, Dressed for the Photographer, Ordinary Americans & Fashion, 1840 – 1900, by author Joan Severa, (a great reference, and I hope I’ve applied the correct interpretation for this photo.)

Owen Curtis Herr, Burden KS 1908

Divided back, unused, Real Photo Postcard. January 1908. KRUXO stamp box.

Price:  $12.00

A handsome young man, age seventeen when this photo was taken:  Owen “Curt” Herr, son of Samuel Horatio Herr and Caroline Jane Stuart. Curt was born November 13, 1890 in Jasper, Iowa. He wrote:

“Jan 1908. To Miss Annie Flottman. Remembrance of Mr. Curtis Herr.”

Addressed to:   “Miss Annie Flottman, Burden Kans.”

Annie is Anna Louise Flottman, born in Kansas in 1883, daughter of Harman (also spelled Herman) Flottman and Mary Pickens. Annie’s brother Albert married into the Herr family.

For another card addressed to Anna see the next post:  Anna Flottman’s Cousin Ed.

Sources:  State Historical Society of Iowa; Des Moines, Iowa. Ancestry.com. Iowa, Delayed Birth Records, 1856-1940.

Year: 1910; Census Place: Silver Creek, Cowley, Kansas; Roll: T624_436; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0062; FHL microfilm: 1374449. (Ancestry.com).

Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 21 June 2018), memorial page for Anna Louise Flottman Moore (13 Jun 1883–7 Apr 1945), Find A Grave Memorial no. 17647604, citing Grand Prairie Cemetery, Burden, Cowley County, Kansas, USA ; Maintained by Judy Mayfield (contributor 46636512).
Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 21 June 2018), memorial page for Matilda R. Herr Flottman (29 Apr 1885–21 Oct 1970), Find A Grave Memorial no. 17646745, citing Grand Prairie Cemetery, Burden, Cowley County, Kansas, USA ; Maintained by Judy Mayfield (contributor 46636512).

Girl in Wicker Chair, Reading PA

Old photo on cardboard frame. Circa 1900 – 1901. Photographer:  Ammon M. Lease.

Size including cardboard frame:  3 and 7/16 x 4 and 11/16″

Price:  $10.00

Here’s a portrait of someone about teenager age, a young girl right at the turn of the last century, in skirt and blouse and wonderful hat, posing in a beautifully ornate, but common for the time-period, wicker photographer’s chair.

Lease is Ammon M. Lease, photographer, who was listed at the address of 742 Penn Street in 1900 and 1901. Below, from the 1901 Reading city directory, and this seems a little unusual, there are eight photographers on Penn St., who all must have been fairly close to one another, per the street numbers.

Sources:  W. H. Boyd & Co.’s Directory of Reading, 1900. p. 58. (Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.)

W. H. Boyd & Co.’s Directory of Reading, 1901. p. 60. (Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.)

A San Jose, California Couple

Divided back, unused Real Photo Postcard. Circa 1910s. Photographer:  Enrico Bambocci. Solio stamp box.

Price:  $5.00

Happily, from time to time, we find more RPPCs by Italian-born photographer Enrico Bambocci. Here’s to hoping the trend continues! The Bambocci studio was located in San Jose, so it’s probably safe to assume this handsome couple resided there, or in the vicinity. This could be a wedding photo also, (like the prior post) but not necessarily so. And there’s a badger (?) skin (as we’ve seen in another of Bambocci’s photos) draped over the wooden chair, and though it’s not the same badger, it is probably the same chair.

Love At The Beach

Divided back, unused postcard. Publisher:  Theodor Eismann, Leipzig, Saxony. Th. E. L., Series 950. Circa 1907.

$7.00

Segueing from a valentine (the prior, the only one we had this year) to a couple’s theme. And, by the way, posts are sparse at the moment due to much overtime at the regular j.o.b. But we’ll return to something more normal (yes, I know, define normal) shortly…..A beautiful German postcard from publisher Theodor Eismann of Leipzig, Saxony from maybe around 1907. I’m guessing this approximate date after looking at the prior link under the excellent The Postcard Album website; not sure if the series numbers were running in numerical order or not. If you click on the image to enlarge it you’ll see all the gold glitter accents for the couple and on the rattan high-backed domed beach chair.

Source:  “Theodor Eismann, Leipzig Saxony.” The Postcard Album. (web accessed February 18, 2018.)

Dad And Kids, Darlington, Wisconsin

Cabinet Card, circa 1870s – 1880s. Photographer:  J. Polkinghorn, Darlington, Wisconsin.

Price:  $7.00

A Cabinet Card by photographer J. Polkinghorn in Darlington, Wisconsin of….surely this must be the dad in the photo with his young daughter and son. He wears no wedding ring, but perhaps there was none, or he was a widower. An interesting detail in this image is the man’s shoes which show dirt and general wear on the half over the toes, as if he was accustomed to wearing gaiters. No names for this family, unfortunately, but we hope they will be recognized by someone with Darlington or Lafayette County roots. The photographer’s backdrop is interesting, quite vague with that blank expanse in the middle and something tall and carved on our left, what it’s depicting is anyone’s guess, and then on our right a fancy, curved railing leading off to somewhere in our imaginations.

The photographer

Nothing definitive comes up for J. Polkinghorn but he could well be the John Polkinghorn born in England about 1857 who appears on various census record in Darlington, or Lafayette County. This person’s census records show no connection whatsoever to photography (dealer in musical instruments) but it still could be him, and likely, whoever he was, he would have listed himself in the city directories, but we’re not finding the city, or even the county records, online at this time.

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).