Couple in Traditional Costumes, Maybe Greek

Publisher info darkened in Photoshop……

Miscellaneous Card, deckled edge. Copyright 1948. Unknown publisher.

Price:  $5.00

It seems I’ve picked up a lot of cards in the past that likely have little or no resale value, and I’ve been going through some of these (some years later, now – how easily time gets away from us!) but still, it’s always a bit of a thrill, just to see what path you get led down, and the thoughts that ensue.

So for this one:  It’s postcard size but not a postcard, something made for tourists, and with publisher or photographer info on the back – in English, mostly too light to read, except for “Copyright 1948 by”. The next line looks like initial “N” for the given name, and the surname appears to begin “Z-O-G-R-A….” Zographos is a possibility, though the name looks like it ends in N-O-S. The third line is really difficult to read – I keep seeing Hermes, but ha, no, that was one of the Greek gods.

Looking at the shepherd’s clothing for more clues for country of origin, the man’s very wide sleeves and trouser style are similar to some images showing in my Google search result for Greek shepherds, below:

And, currently I’m reading (again) Mary Stewart’s, My Brother Michael, (set in Greece, if you’re not familiar). Her description of an old man, “……beneath it he wore what looked like white cotton jodhpurs bound at the knee with black bands” caught my attention. (Just a small serendipity moment.) I didn’t find a match for his footwear, nor for the woman’s outfit; she, so pretty in long print dress with heavy pleats, large sleeves also, with embroidered border. She’s serving the man a small glass of something, maybe ouzo or mastika. Of course, it’s all totally staged, and too, there’s something about the photo, you kind of get the impression that some of the background was blanked out (they do that sometimes, take out something that didn’t fit). But that’s all just part of the moment – the photographer’s process; the man and woman getting paid to pose, to represent a “regional type”.

Sources:  “Images of Greek shepherds in folk costume” Google.com search. Accessed 06/05/24.

Stewart, Mary. (2010). My Brother Michael. Chicago Review Press, Inc. (1959).

Going A’ Milking in Corning, California

Divided back postcard. Postmarked August 17, 1909 from Corning, California. United Art Publishing Co., New York, New York. Printed in Germany.

Price:  $12.00

A happy couple, the man carrying his wife on his shoulder, crossing a stream to get to their cows.

The sender wrote:   “Dear B. J:-   Geo. has gone back to Mexico[?] and my good times are [?] for a while. Jim expects to come up this month some time but don’t know whether there will be any thing to go to or not. Aunt L – is in the City which I presume you know – Aunt M. is not feeling well but think we can manage until Aunt L – returns. Love to all – Joe.”

Ah, 1909, where did you go? This was back in the day when we used the dash after the colon for punctuation (  :-  ) instead of just either/or. (It was the norm; I’m not sure when it changed.) And maybe it’s just me, but I feel like it’s also back in the day when the physique on the husband (in this postcard design) didn’t have to be perfect – just whatever, normal. (Is it just me?) Anyway, a pretty typical postcard for the sender’s remarks – reports of the comings and goings, the social scene expectations, and who is not feeling tip top. George, we imagine, has gone back to do some more mining in Mexico. (Totally my imagination, of course, but I’ve seen this before.) Joe probably works a farm, Auntie L and M are doing the housework. A good life (we hope) in Corning, California.

Addressed to:   “Miss Ethel Chittenden, Box 127 R. F. D. #1, Los Angeles, Cal.”

Ethel M. Chittenden, was born in California in 1887, daughter of Albert Hawley Chittenden and Mary Lucelia (Atwell) Chittenden. A mention in The Corning Daily Observer, dated September 9, 1909, coincides with the postcard’s address:

She married Normal H. Schammell in September of 1910.

Sources:  Corning, California. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corning,_California (accessed May 16, 2024).

Find a Grave. Find a Grave®. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi.

The Corning Daily Observer, (Corning, California). September 9, 1909, Thursday, p. 8. (Newspapers.com).

The Corning Daily Observer, (Corning, California). September 29, 1910, Thursday, p. 1. (Newspapers.com).

Norwich CT Roller Skating Rink Trade Card

Trade Card, Norwich, Connecticut, 1877.

Price:  $50.00           Size:  About 2 and 5/8 x 4″

On the front, by an unknown artist, an illustration based on the popular fictional story of Paul and Virginia (Paul et Virginie), by author Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, published in 1838, which takes place on the tropical island of Mauritius.

On the reverse:   “Norwich Roller Skating Rink, Burdick’s Hall. Grand Skating Exhibition, Friday Evening, March 2nd, by Miss Minnie Claflin, of Worcester, Mass. Music by Tubbs’ Brass Band. Admission, 20 Cts. Skates, 10 Cts. Exhibition at 9 o’clock. C. A. Dunn, Manager.”

Roller skater, Minnie E. Claflin, was born October 1864 in E. Greenwich, Connecticut, and was the daughter of George H. Claflin and Hannah (Hill) Claflin. She married Waldo S. Babcock on October 19, 1882. Minnie died at age 35 of tuberculosis. (So sad to hear). But as a skater, she’s mentioned in an article appearing in The Boston Globe, dated August 2, 1882. Here’s a portion of the article:

Minnie’s marriage date, along with the calendars for the years when March 2nd fell on a Friday, date this card back to year 1877. (The next time March 2nd fell on a Friday was 1883, when Minnie was no longer a Miss.) And it seems to be a rare trade card – no others have been found online for this Norwich, CT skating rink.

Burdick’s Hall – According to some pages from an old document, “Norwich Skating Rink Archive Indentures,” viewable online at Antiques Atlas, this building was actually St. Giles Hall, built 1870 – 1873, designed by the architectural firm Burdick & Arnold. In 1876, the structure and premises were sold to a Mr. Warner Wright who then developed the location into an indoor roller skating and outdoor ice skating rink, under the company name, The Norwich Skating Rink Co., Ltd. So, our trade card indicates the hall was, at least for a time, known locally as Burdick’s Hall (after local architect, Evan Burdick). How nice that the building is still in use today as Norwich City Hall and is on the National Register of Historic Places:

Tubbs’ Brass Band – Charles W. Tubbs, obituary below, was a well-known and respected musician and the band leader for Tubbs’ Brass Band for many years. From the Norwich Bulletin, August 30, 1912:

Last, but not least, C. A. Dunn, listed as manager at the bottom of our trade card, was possibly Charles A. Dunn, who shows up in Norwich city directories for 1881 – 1883 as a clerk, working at the Union Square Hotel.

Sources:  Paul and Virginia. Library of Congress. (https://www.loc.gov/item/2021666976/).

New England Historic Genealogical Society; Boston, Massachusetts; Massachusetts Vital Records, 1840???1911. (Ancestry.com).

Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988.

“Children’s Reception.” The Boston Globe, August 2, 1882. Wednesday, p. 4. (Newspapers.com).

“Norwich Skating Rink Archive Indentures.” Antiques Atlas. (https://www.antiques-atlas.com/antique/norwich_skating_rink_archive_indentures_a370/as167a370). Accessed April 16, 2024.

Norwich City Hall (Connecticut). n.d. Wikipedia. (Accessed April 16, 2024).

“Obituary. Charles W. Tubbs.” Norwich Bulletin, August 30, 1912. Friday, p. 7. (Newspapers.com).

“Evan Burdick”. Year: 1870; Census Place: Norwich, New London, Connecticut; Roll: M593_114; Page: 460A. (Ancestry.com).

Stedman’s Directory, Norwich 1881. Vol. 21, p. 70. Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995.

Stedman’s Directory, Norwich 1881. Vol. 23, p. 74. Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995.

To Aunt Cornelia

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard. Unused, dated July 24, 1913. NOKO stamp box.

Price:  $10.00

A couple in a farming community somewhere in the U. S. pose in front of what may be their home. (Note the lace curtain in the window on our right.) But if this is not their residence it could have been a public meeting house for church services. (The woman is holding a small book, perhaps a prayer book). But the main reason that we might think “church” are the two side-by-side doors on the front of this structure:  It was not uncommon for church services to be segregated, having two separate entrances for men and women. However, old homes also, for many varied reasons, sometimes were built with this two-door design. (See the link below.) Also, notable about the building is that it sits up on blocks.

As for the young couple, (hard-working farmers we imagine, perhaps newly wed) we remark on the fact that the man wears overalls over his shirt and tie. (Are we back to the church theory or is he just dressed up a bit for the photo?) Either way, its pretty charming and adds to the uniqueness of this photo postcard.

Sources:  Kibbel, III, William. “Two Front Doors.” (oldhouseweb.com). Accessed April 2, 2024.

Couple With Towle’s Log Cabin Display

Old photo, white border. Circa 1910’s. 

Price:  $20.00           Size:  4 and 1/16 x 2 and 3/8″

There may be some historical interest for this photo for any researchers or collectors of Towle’s Log Cabin Syrup items; we’re not finding anything similar online…..

In starting research for this one, I was surprised to find the Log Cabin brand of syrup still being sold. (I always go right for the real thing, apparently blocking all others from vision. And yes, I know, this makes me sound like a snob, 😉 especially in light of the absurd store prices we’re up against today). Thinking back, growing up in the ’60’s, our cupboard usually contained Mrs. Butterworth’s (we liked the bottle) and sometimes Log Cabin, but at some point, someone (maybe an uncle and probably not till I was in high school), introduced us to actual maple syrup (from trees!) and well, why would you want anything else? (Ha, memories, as an adult, of going out for breakfast and sneaking in syrup from home, and later, of a great place that my husband and I used to drive down to, in Carmel Valley, CA – The Wagon Wheel. Real maple syrup available upon request, still for just an extra dollar.)

About Towle’s

Towle’s was started in 1888 in St. Paul, Minnesota by grocer, Patrick Joseph Towle, and bought out by General Foods in 1927. They initially sold their log cabin syrup in a tall metal can and shortly thereafter in that iconic log-cabin-shaped container. In addition, they manufactured other syrup brands, as well as other related products. For much more about them, see this article by author Matthew Thomas. (Check out his link within the link. Note:  Even the original recipe for log cabin maple syrup may not have been pure maple.)

Our photo….

A couple, maybe in their twenties, are sitting on a porch; the woman backed up to one of the porch posts and the man with his elbow resting on a 3-D Towle’s Log Cabin display. An axe and hammer, and these both appear to be real tools, lean against the little cabin. We can see houses across the street, so the area seems to be residential. Now, it’s possible that this was a general or hardware store with this display set up, and the gentlemen has just bought these tools – but in typing this scenario, it sounds far-fetched, the display would be subjected to the weather, for one. This makes us wonder if the couple isn’t somehow connected to the Towle family….Or, the gentleman could have been a new distributor of the syrup and had added the two props for picture-taking purposes.

Advertisements in old newspapers abound; here are two:

From The Tacoma Daily Ledger, November 23, 1890, an ad touting Towle’s “Log Cabin” maple syrup as absolutely pure, unadulterated and without added glucose, though, if you read with skepticism, you’ll understand that this ad never definitively says that it’s 100% maple syrup.

And from The Oregon Daily Journal, September 27, 1912:

Sources:  Thomas, Matthew. (2017, August 31). “When Towle’s Log Cabin Was a Maple Syrup Company.”maplesyruphistory.com. Accessed March 2, 2024.

“A Card to the Public.” The Tacoma Daily Ledger (Tacoma, Washington). November 23, 1890. Sunday, p. 7. (Newspapers.com).

“Record-Breaking Shipment of Towle’s Log Cabin Syrup.” The Oregon Daily Journal (Portland, Oregon). September 27, 1912. Friday, p. 15. (Newspapers.com).

A Leap Year Suggestion

Divided back, unused postcard. Publisher unknown. Series or number 887. Made in the U. S. A. Circa mid-1910’s. 

Price:  $12.00

Cute children from a bygone era (we’re thinking 1790’s – 1810’s). A court ball gown for the girl, the boy in tailcoat and trousers with heel straps. Of course, not historically accurate – the artist just tying in the ball attire idea with the gent wanting to “get the ball rolling”.

A Leap Year Suggestion….

“Wonder why you don’t start somethin’

This is leap year don’t you see

If you start the ball a-rollin’

You’ll get lots of help from me.”

Today is “leap day” in leap year of 2024. The next will be in 2028. They arrive every four years, with some exceptions. The estimated date for this card comes from an estimate of 1916 on another card of the same design, currently online.

Source:  Leap year. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leap_year (accessed February 29, 2024).

Couple On Porch

Old photo, white border, circa early 1920’s.

Price:  $4.00           Size:  2 and 3/8 x 4 and 1/4″

We’re continuing a short couple theme, no names on the back of this one. I’m guessing the ’20s due to the cloche-style hat the woman is wearing, though it could have been earlier. Estimating dates from clothing, footwear and hairstyles can be really time-consuming, unless something specifically jumps out to pinpoint, or you’re already an expert or close-enough to one. Alas, I’m not. What was the moment? Obviously, he likes her, but she has that skeptical, “nobody’s fool” look. Nice porch columns displayed here – quite detailed and with that bit of gingerbread trim at the top.

Frank and Girlfriend, 1919

Old photo, 1919.

Availability Status:  SOLD                Size:  2 and 3/8 x 4 and 1/4″

Probably when I found this one (it was floating loose in a bin), I thought I’d be able to read the surname for Frank. Hmmm, no, not getting it. (My own scribble is just as bad.) But they’re a cute couple. (We’re on a short “couple theme” – a continuance of Valentine’s Day). At least, I think they’re a couple – no certainty there, either. But it’s a nice, “We were here….standing on this street….in the summer of 1919” photo. It would have been the summer after the end of the “Great War.” It’s a tree-lined residential road; you can see the utility pole and barely make out an old street lamp. There are train tracks, for a trolley one would guess, but we don’t notice any overhead cables, so maybe the tracks are a remnant from our horse-drawn car days, or maybe they’re old tracks, no longer used. That’s probably an old Model T in the distance (if you were betting you’d play those odds). Through the open wooden gate, we see a woman carrying something, potatoes maybe, on her way back from the garden or cellar storage.

The young woman in the photo – she’s beautiful, hair pulled up, appearing here in a long-sleeved white blouse with black cuffs (great style, yes, but think how practical that is) and in a striped, high-waisted skirt with big front pockets. Nothing fancy but it never needs to be. And Frank – he’s got that, “knows what he wants out of life” look. That direct gaze, a hint of sadness in the smile (did he lose an older brother in the war?), the confident, kind of brash stance, the backwards cap, that proprietary arm around his girl. We’re off with them, in spirit, just for a moment, to each of the many and wherever, those many possibilities led.

Roses For My Valentine

Divided back, embossed, unused postcard. Printed in Germany. Valentine Postcard Series No. 405. Publisher unknown. Circa 1907 – 1914.

Price:  $1.00

Valentine Greetings…..

To Miss Ella Ellison from Mary Strauch.

One from our Alice Ellison Collection. (A group of about 125 cards; they’re not all up on the website yet.) This one’s a little beat up and with a coffee stain at the top but contains a publisher mystery. We’ve seen this logo before, a capital G inside a rectangular artist’s palette with brushes attached, but haven’t found proof of the company name, to date.

Comic Donkey and Couple Circa 1940’s

Old photo, circa 1940’s.

Price:  $6.00              Size:  About 2 and 1/2 x 3 and 1/2″

These type seem to be generally referred to as “face-in-the-hole-board.” Other names include photo cutouts, Aunt Sallys, peep boards, character boards, fat-lady-on-the-beach boards. This handsome and fun, young couple (out for a drive in the surrey – yep, surrey with the fringe on top 😉 ) look to be from the 1940’s era. 

Sources:  Photo Cutouts. https://photocutouts.co.uk/blog/peep-boards-face-in-the-hole-boards-cutout-boards-what-should-they-be-called/ (Accessed June 10, 2023.)

The Surrey with the Fringe on Top. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Surrey_with_the_Fringe_on_Top#:~:text=%22The%20

Surrey%20with%20the%20Fringe,jazz%20musicians%20to%20play%20it. (Accessed June 10, 2023.)