Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Flying Family and One Really Creepy Doll

When I was growing up in the sixties and seventies, magazines from Life, and Look to Popular Mechanics predicted that one day the United States would be a country where it would be common for people to own small planes, personal helicopters, and one day the flying car, capable of rolling down the highway and bypassing traffic with the quick flip of a switch that would deploy the wings. Well, I'm still waiting for my flying car. The horizontal format photo with all the people standing in front of a plane is dated "1932." The picture with the "GULF" logo is labeled, "David & Arla, Nogales, AZ 1939." Gulf oil was once one of the largest oil companies in the United States before it was bought out by ARCO. The four adults with the child on the wing, "Shirley, Wesley, Nogales, AZ 1939 Alice, Helen, Emory." Possible it's mislabeled, but there was a time when Shirley, was a far more common man's name than a woman's, so if Shirley is one of the men, the sex balance is restored. The little boy has a toy airplane as would be expected with this flying family. Labeled, "Aug 7, 1937. Robert-3 years. Rafer ranch." Please tell me that the baby carriage picture is a very creepy doll. If not, that's one very weird looking kid. Labeled, "May 1935 Nogales, Ariz." Nothing written on the trio of people, the man in the flying helmet and goggles the old lady and the other man, but stamped on the back, "GUARANTEED FOR LIFE THIS IS A GENUINE BORDER Fox Tone PICTURE. MADE BY FOX COMPANY, SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS. COPYRIGHTED 1927 BY CARL P. NEWTON." Nogales is on the U.S./ Mexico border and before the interstate highway was built it would have been one hell of a drive over dirt roads, impassable during the summer monsoon rains. Flying might have been the only real mobility these people knew.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Portrait By George H. Van Norman

Every time I find a commercial photograph with a photographers mark, I always run an web search and I almost never get a hit. Well, this one is an exception. George H. Van Norman was a prominent local Massachusetts photographer active from 1884 to 1890 in Waltham, Mass. and then he relocated to Springfield and was active there from 1890 to 1901. I've also found reference to him in a book titled, "Photo Miniature vol. 6" published in 1905, and have found a cabinet card of a woman wearing a dress decorated with photographs, a head piece made from a studio view camera with the curtain framing her face, holding an advertising banner for the Van Norman studios that's part of the permanent collection of The Portland (Oregon) Museum of Art. This wonderful portrait is mounted on a card, embossed "GEO. H. VAN NORMAN SPRINGFIELD MASS." so we can date this image from somewhere between 1890 and 1901.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

19th Century Portrait of a Man

A nineteenth century portrait of an upper class man mounted on a card embossed, "THE WATERTOWN STUDIO 7 MAIN ST." Watertown is in Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, near Cambridge, the home of Harvard College.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pole Climber

When I write that I think something is turn of the century, I now have to specify which century. I figure, from the kids clothing, that this image was probably from the beginning of the twentieth century into the very early teens. From back in the day when kids were supposed to get in trouble.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Nine Women

There are a lot of reasons these nine women could be posing together, but with the corrugated sheet metal wall that is the backdrop, my guess is that these ladies may be the office staff in a mill, or perhaps garment workers.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Janice Boyer

Another portrait from the twenties era, this one labeled "Janice Boyer Age about 25." It's cut out from a much larger photograph, which could indicate anything from a broken marriage and the elimination of the discarded spouse to the need to fit a frame.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pershing Square 1944

Awhile back I wrote of my intention of adding some more postcards to the collection, especially linen cards from California. The caption, "Comprising a square block in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, Pershing Square affords a restful haven amid the hubbub of a great modern city. WESTERN PUBLISHING & NOVELTY CO., LOS ANGELES, CALIF." Stupidly, L.A. paved over a good deal of the square to discourage the homeless from gathering in the area. It's only recently that the city has tried to turn Pershing Square back into a pleasant downtown stopping place. It's the message on the back that's interesting. "AUG. 9/44 DEAR FRANCES :- WELL HERE i AM AWAY iN SUNNY CALiFORNiA ENJOYING THE BEST OF HEALTH, AND HOPE TO HEAR THE SAME FROM YOU FRANCES, iM TRYiNG TO GET OUT OF SHOW BUSiNESS, AND i HAVE BEEN iN CALiFORNiA FOR THE PAST SiX WEEKS LOOKiNG FOR SOME NEW BUSiNESS, WHICH i HOPE i WiLL SOON LAND. WiTH BEST WiSHES, SiNCERELY MAX COLEMAN." Addressed to "MiSS FRANCES VALENTiNE MAiN POST OFFiCE SCHENECTADY NEW YORK BOX 54" The Schenectady address is crossed out, replaced by "54 Laurel Av., Superior, Wisc." It looks like Max was taking a run at Hollywood and was about to give up. An old story in L.A. I've run both IMDB and IMBD searches on both Max Coleman and Frances Valentine and came up with nothing, so it looks like Max and Frances moved on to other things. (I like to think that Max and Frances met in New York taking a run at a stage career.) The post mark, "LOS ANGELES CALIF. AUG 10, 1944 1:30 AM" All the lower case I's are as written on the postcard. Click on postcards in the labels section to see other L.A. area views as well as a brief history of the linen postcard.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Three Gals In Slacks, One Guy In a Skirt

As I've noted before, I spent decades working in photo labs and I don't think I ever had a week go by when I didn't print some sort of amateur picture with a sexual theme. I had lots of women in lingerie, nude, and the occasional photo of people having sex. But, the surprising thing was just how much gender bending, mostly men dressed as women, there is out there. This guy was probably teasing his gal pals about not wearing skirts and before he knew it, they had turned the tables on him. Is the photographer another guy in skirts waiting his turn in front of the camera, or gal pal number four? If this guy is your father please leave a comment.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Another Frazier Carte de Visite

I'm running low on the cache of CDVs and I may have to start keeping an eye open for some other interesting ones for the blog. This one should have gone with an earlier post of carte de visites of the Frazier family (Posted 9/17/10) , but when going through things I missed the connection. Written on the back, "Ann and Amos Bonner who took Harry Frazier when he was 3 months old and raised him until he was 8 years old." Ann is bigger than Amos, not just more volume, but taller, and she has a somewhat masculine face. They must have been an interesting couple.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Kentucky Wedding







Stamped on the back, "2074 S. PRESTON ME. 4-3654 SAM HINERFELD, Louisville, Ky. CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY" Well, as wedding photos go this one does have an interesting feel to it. It gives the impression of the bride and her party running up the church steps, just a bit late, but ready to go. The bridesmaid on the right has a real feel for what pose looks good on camera, while the bride holds her dress giving a sense of movement. Dating photos by cars can be problematic. The church seems to be in a working class neighborhood, where the residnets would very likely buy two or three year old used cars. The limo and some of the other cars, tail fins and all, look to be from the mid fifties, but the bit of car seen to the right looks like an early sixties Ford, Falcon. And the hair on the bride is early sixties as well.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Tintype With Mustache

I've put up a number of tintypes, and would suggest clicking on tintype in the labels section to pull up information on the history of the medium. This 19th century dandy has a great mustache, hair cut, cravat and bowler hat, and because he's so stylish, he gets a separate post.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Beautiful Portrait From the Twenties

One of the most beautiful portraits I've ever run across. Signed "Miller" in the margin.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pace Krider, Carte de Visite

Written on the back, in pencil, "Yours Truly Pace Krider 1875." Carte de visites were often given as calling cards, as the name implies. With the greeting and date, this gent, no doubt a veteran of the civil war, very likely left this CDV as a calling card. For more information on the history of the carte de visite, click on CDV or carte de visite in the label section. Stamped on the back, "FROM ROSHON & RICHIE'S GALLERY, SELLINGSGROVE, PA. The negative from which this Picture was printed will be preserved. Duplicate copies can be had at any time, at $1.00 per half dozen." One of these days, I'm going to find an intact archive of glass negatives shot to size for contact prints used to make carte de visites. There could be thousands all boxed up in some body's attic just waiting to be discovered.