Three Women Carrying A Trunk

Real Photo Postcard, Undivided back, unused. Circa 1904. Eastman Kodak Stamp Box.

Price:  $25.00

This seems like a photo taken on a tropical island or at least somewhere exotic from our North American viewpoint. A clue to location should be the sign (mid-right in photo) showing “Hotel Continental” displayed atop two pillars, forming an entranceway. Behind, we notice part of a white building. Maybe that was the hotel. But Hotel Continental is, of course, a common name. When this postcard was made there were plenty such proud establishments, worldwide:  Atlantic Beach, Florida; New York City; Algier, Morocco; Havre, France; Vigo, Spain; Port Said and Cairo, Egypt; Cologne and Schwalbach, Germany; Bagni di Lucca, Capri, Genoa and Naples, Italy; Christiania, Norway, just to rattle off the ones we came across. Obviously some of these could be ruled out. But after browsing old photos of many locations (really too long of an endeavor), we didn’t get any closer to figuring it out. Also possibly, the Hotel Continental in this image was not too fancy or large, and might not have made it into old travel destination journals or onto old postcards which survived (except inadvertently, this one).

But, it’s a great photo. Imagine the scenario:  a tourist snaps this shot while walking behind these ladies, who are balancing this large trunk above (and on two of) their heads. Not something you see everyday, a definite Kodak moment (!) The time-frame is wonderful for clothing – the women all wear long (of course) skirts with striped shirtwaists, corsets underneath. The road they’re on is dirt, or at least, rustic; the wall of the building on their left, a little crumbling or aged, and with greenery growing on top. A short stone wall runs on their right. A gentleman, head down, in a dark suit and hat walks beside them, but is seemingly on his own, or at least unconcerned with needing to help with the trunk, or maybe feeling embarrassed he was not allowed to. (The ladies work for the hotel?) Notice his pant cuffs seem to be rolled up a little. Was this a seaside location somewhere and he had recently exited a small boat? Back to the trunk – it looks almost square, definitely well-used and…..did you assume, like me, that it was heavy, or at least full? (Thinking of photos of women carrying jugs of water, or whatever, on their heads?) Or, did you automatically assume the trunk was empty?

There are two other people in the photo, a woman busily occupied with something and a man behind her, barely discernible, wearing a tall hat (at least that’s my interpretation right now). Above them, some balconies, kind of rough-looking…..Wouldn’t this, wherever it was, have been a great place to stay?

As for the 1904 date for the card, this comes from the excellent, Playle’s website, as a date that’s been verified for this particular stamp box:  The design is a profile of a man with a pipe (Mr. Eastman?) looking through a camera, with the instructions, “Place One Cent Stamp Here”. And it may be likely that the photo was taken in the U.S. since it was found here, but always possible it was taken elsewhere and processed when the person returned home.

Sources:  “European and Eastern Hotels.” Cook’s Tourist Handbook for Switzerland. Thomas Cook & Son. London, 1895. (Google.com books).

Cook’s Tourist Handbooks Health Resorts. Thomas Cook & Son. London, 1905. (Google.com books).

“Real Photo Postcard Stamp Boxes, D-E.” https://www.playle.com/realphoto/photod.php. (accessed May 18, 2022).

John B. Hawkins Street Scene RPPC, 1920s – 1930s

Real Photo Postcard, divided back, unused. Circa 1920s – 1930s.  Made by:  John B. Hawkins, Marion, Massachusetts.

Price:  $12.00

This is possibly a Marion, Massachusetts, or neighboring town street view – showing a line of parked cars in front of stores, a man on our left about to cross the street, and another on our right, seated, at the curb. Surprisingly, we’re not finding any age-appropriate records for photographer John B. Hawkins, in all of Mass, though city directories online in Plymouth County (1910 – 1940) are only scattered pages of certain years. We’d therefor, have to contact a local historical society or local libraries for resolution to some of the mysteries herein. And, the image is not of the best quality for clarity, but may be of value to someone, for sure.

It’s disappointing to be unable to read the store names or signs after enlarging the image……Wait, we can just make out “Ice Cream” and the brand or shop name in two words…….but it’s indecipherable. (Sometimes if you gaze at almost-readable signs long enough, you get inspiration, but not happening for me, this time.) But still, every picture evokes a feeling….Staring at the scene (if we could just connect to a Hogwarts kind of thing, it would come to life and we’d see that guy actually cross the street, and maybe someone come out of one of the shops, and some movement from our friend on the right) but, primarily, in our “fixed moment” that the camera is offering, we might focus on that slightly dejected-looking gentleman, seated on the curb with head down, shoulders a little slumped – is he thinking about the cares of the day/month/year that are weighing on him……or is he just waiting for a ride? Whatever the case, he kind of makes you want to jump into the frame and go and offer him a friendly arm around the shoulders.

Baseball Player At Bat Old Postcard

Undivided back postcard. Circa 1906. Publisher or Printer:  Stationers Manufacturing Co., Quincy, Ohio.

Price:  $4.00

I had wanted to get this card up for MLB opening day, but it didn’t make it. No biggie, anyway it’s showing a young ball player at bat (or in the bullpen). (I really bought it for the design on the back, which is nice.)

But who was the artist? We found another postcard online, same image, with “Copyright 1906. J. Tully.” printed on it. Our card, per the reverse, was printed by Stationers Manufacturing Company in Quincy, Ohio. Tully was out of Chicago, per other cards online, but no records were found for him (either as artist or in the card publishing/printing business). Some postcard sellers list him as artist, but he could have been a publisher, especially given the fact that initials “CNB” or “NBC” appear at the bottom right of the ball player, leading one to think that they could be the artist’s initials. On the other hand, oftentimes the “C” in initials like that stood for “Company.” So, the actual artist could have been an unnamed one within that company.

For a better understand of the complicated world of postcard printers, publishers, jobbers, artists and photographers, see the various web articles under  Metropostcard’s “Metropostcard Guides.” (Proof – as if we needed it 😉 – that things are almost always more involved than we imagine.)

Only one minor reference, in 1907, was found for Stationers Mfg. – in a trade journal listing under wholesale and retail stationers, no address listed.

Source:  “Metropostcard Guides.” Metropostcards.com. (accessed May 16, 2022).

A Happy Birthday From Percival

Vintage birthday card, circa 1930s. Made in the U.S.A.

Price:  $5.00         Size:  6 and 1/4 x 4″

“A Happy Birthday

I’m sending this Greeting

To joyfully say,

May you have many Happy

Returns of the Day.”

A striking card for its colors and design:  Bright and pale pink, purple, blue (what was the Crayola crayon color for that blue? It’s driving me nuts 🙂 ) black, thin gold trim throughout…..Two houses in the background (with pink roofs), tree in the foreground (windy day or it might remind you of Dr. Suess, like Thing 1 and Thing 2 but, not really), long flower bed (with daffodils). Similar cards can be found indicating Art Deco, and I’m no expert, but definitely the repeating gold pattern at the bottom of the card, gives it that look. I wish I knew who the artist was, or the publisher. We’ll keep a look out for more info.

Old Advertising Card McNeil’s Pain Exterminator

Trade Card for Dr. T. S. McNeil’s Pain Exterminator. Circa 1870s – 1880s.

Price:  $10.00         Size:  4 and 1/4 x 2 and 1/2″

The most detailed information on T. S. McNeil, found in some quick searches, comes from a Lycoming College (Williamsport, PA) article (see link in sources below.) The authors explain that T. S. McNeil was a minister who went into the medicine business; the title of “doctor” was honorary. A number of ads can be found in old newspapers for McNeil’s Pain Exterminator (formulated in 1848) including a rather long one from 1906, stating the product was sold in 15 states, as well as in Liverpool, England and on the west coast of Africa. By the look of the card, we’d guess the date 1870s through the 1890s, but to try to narrow it down, we searched city directories. The address showing on the card for McNeil Medicine Co., Proprietors, 500 N. Third Street and 242 W. State Street, Harrisburg, PA was not found, however a few entries from 1891 – 1895 show 1111 N. 3rd St., (so if we were betting, we’d bet that the card is from the 1880s.) Thomas S. McNeil was born in 1814 in Virginia and died, unfortunately quite young, in 1847 from a drowning accident.

Sources:  Alcodray, N.I. and Bause, G.S. (2021). “Thomas S. McNeil, An Enterprising Pastor.” (https://www.lycoming.edu/). Accessed May 13, 2022.

“McNeil’s Pain Exterminator (Established 1848) Goes to West Coast of Africa.” The York Daily (York, Pennsylvania). July 13, 1906, p. 8. (Newspapers.com).

Boyd’s Directory of Harrisburg and Steelton, 1891. p. 321; 1895, p. 226. Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995.

Artist-Signed Postcard Birds in Pine Tree

Divided Back, deckled edge, unused, artist-signed postcard. Number or series 206. Publisher:  Alfred Mainzer, Inc. 39-33 29th Street. Long Island City 1, New York. Printed in Belgium. Circa 1940s – 1950s.

Price:  $12.00

This is a beautiful card that I’ve had for awhile and finally got around to posting. The variety of bird, or if it even exists, is unknown. It may be something from the artist’s imagination (that very distinctive spotted-feather crown) as I don’t see this type of guy online, or in the bird reference book from my bookshelf. The artist appears to have been Swiss-born Eugen Hartung (1897-1973), he is best-known for doing the cats in clothing funny cards that were first published by Max Kunzli, then later by Alfred Mainzer. Here’s a crop of the signature that appears in the lower right corner:

Source:  Eugen Hartung. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugen_Hartung (accessed May 11, 2022).

Handmade Postcard To Maggie Ames From Hughie C. G.

Undivided Back, handmade postcard, unused. 1901 – 1907.

Price:  $15.00            Size:  About 5 x 3″

U. S. postal changes tell us the time estimate for this very charming hand-drawn card:  December 1901 the words “Post Card” were allowed (to replace “Private Mailing Card”) and then it was March 1907 when the law allowed for the Divided Back. So, we have a decent time-frame for when the card was made. And, Hughie (if he was the artist) was really very good. Look at those smooth lines, the use of the thicker ink stroke and thinner, the flow and movement, and just the overall uplifting feel, like a message of hope!

See our category from the Home Page, “Hand-drawn or Painted Cards” for a few more examples.

Madison Hilbert’s Specimen of Penmanship

Penmanship example, circa late1910s to early 1920s.

Price:  $12.00         Size:  About 3 x 2 and 1/4″     

Here’s an unusual find from an antique store. And it may be hard to pin down a date for this piece of paper. (How did it survive all these years? Luck or destiny. But, somebody obviously cared – note the corners that were so nicely trimmed.) Anyway, in looking at the writing style to try to get a time-frame, that capital “H” by Madison is the fanciest of his letters. Can we find this particular style to correspond with a to-and-from-ish date? After multiple searches…..ummmm, no. Well, maybe it’s possible, but it would be quite time-consuming to undertake. (I guess it’s not like clothing.) But, if Madison Hilbert was born in, say 1900, how many possibilities are there (in case he’s on your family tree)? One, born in December 1902, Philadelphia, and a couple of James Madison Hilberts born in 1906 (Indiana and Tennessee). These ended up to be the only possible matches found from years 1850 all the way up through 1940.

Sources:  Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records; Reel: 242. (Ancestry.com).

National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for Indiana, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 348. (Ancestry.com).

Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/211147248/james-madison-hilbert : accessed 9 May 2022), memorial page for James Madison Hilbert (1906–1993), Find a Grave Memorial ID 211147248, citing Brick Church Cemetery, Hagerstown, Wayne County, Indiana, USA ; Maintained by Lola Pitman Snyder (contributor 47100876) .

Smiling Young Man in Shaped Border RPPC

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard, unused. Circa 1920s. AZO stamp box.

Price:  $7.00

A happy guy, great pose for the camera, wearing a large-check patterned suitcoat, pencils in the pocket (maybe he was an accountant, an architect, an artist….), tie, hat pushed back, and glancing up and left. He chose a nice, diamond-shaped border to frame the image, it might remind you of a Native American (i.e. design on a Navajo blanket). See our category “Shaped Borders” from the Home page for more.

Savillah (Rudy) Ward

Old photo, mounted on cardboard frame, circa 1883 – 1900.  Photo studio:  Ritchie Bros., Rantoul, Illinois. 

Price:  $15.00          Size: 2 and 1/2 x 2 and 5/8″ including frame.

A small photo, glued to a decorative cardboard frame, of an older woman with a nice smile. (Someone we would have liked to have met.) On the reverse, a descendant wrote:   “Savillah Rudy Grandma Ward Dad’s Grandmother”. A record for child, Orlando Francisco Ward, shows that Savillah (or Savilla) married Jesse Ward. The 1850 Federal Census for Berlin, Holmes County, Ohio has Jesse, Savilla and one-year-old H. I. Ward. Savilla was born in Pennsylvania in1827. She died at her home in Rantoul, IL, January 29, 1901, per the following obit:

No online records were found for the photo studio of Ritchie Brothers.

Sources:  Various Illinois County Courthouses; Various Illinois County Courthouses; Marriage Records; Collection Title: Marriage Records. (Ancestry.com).

Year: 1850; Census Place: Berlin, Holmes, Ohio; Roll: 696; Page: 193b. (Ancestry.com).

“Rantoul Lady Passes Away.” The Champaign County News, February 2, 1901. Saturday, p. 2. (Newspapers.com).