Monday, September 29, 2014


For those who remember the disappearing American middle class.

Friday, September 26, 2014

On The Bay

Written on the back, "San Rafael Ferry 9/15/50"

It's been a long time since I've visited San Francisco, but back when I could afford the gas, I'd drive to Dublin, get on the BART, and take the train.  Who, in their right mind, would drive into SF?  Madness.

Anyway, near as I can tell, if you want to get to San Francisco, from San Rafael, on a ferry, you have to drive to Larkspur.  Not always true.  I got tired of the research, so I never found an end date for direct service, but ferry service from San Rafael to both San Francisco and the east bay, goes back to the late nineteenth century.  I found a great oil painting of a steamboat, that was part of that early service, on Wikipedia, and liked it so much that I posted it on my Fair Use blog.  If anyone's interested.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


Like most collectors of old photos, I end up with throw-ins when I buy the images I really want.  I get a lot of these hand colored photos and most aren't very good.  Still, they're an odd enough bunch that many of them are worth having.  The cadaverous, made up for the funeral, look are my favorites.  This one would have worked a lot better if the colorest had tinted the whole photo, rather than just the face.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Seven Nurses

Written on the back, "Vi Barrett, Millie Gadway, Ida Grayson, Stella Bearup, Vi Green, Me, & Bea McCarthy."  I tried running a search on Stella Bearup.  It was such an unusual name that it had potential.  I actually found an obituary for someone with that name.  That Stella had been an employee of Fisher Body in Flint, Michigan.  Some large factories have nursing staffs, especially ones with a lot of heavy machinery.  Then again, that Stella and the Stella in this photo may be two different people.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


Oktoberfest has begun.  Yes, I know, it's September, but remember, Oktoberfest is a 16 day festival dedicated to drinking beer, and that explains a lot.  Anyway, this photo is not from Oktoberfest, but it's Germans drinking beer, so it's the best I can do.

Stamped on the back, "PHOTO-DARTSCH, Berlin SW 29, Kattbusser Damm 13"  It's dated 1939, the first year of the war.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Easy Credit At Your Savings & Loan

Back before computers and FICA scores, if you wanted credit, you went to the local bank or savings and loan and made your case to the loan officer.  It all sounds so civilized.  But if the guy behind the desk thought you were a bad risk, didn't approve of the way you lived, or just plain didn't like you, you were out of luck.  And if you went to a bank in another town, that loan officer wanted to know why you hadn't gone to your home town lender.  Growing up, lower working class in a small town, we hated guys in suits.  Guys in suits controlled our lives and we never knew why they made the decisions they made.  Give me a nice, anonymous computer any day of the week.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Or sweat shop.  I can't tell.  There's a bit of Spanish in the background of the second picture.  Also English, so does that point to a border town like Tijuana or Juarez?