Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Rainbow Club, Topeka, Kansas

I have a number of these old souvenir photo folders in the collection. (Click on nightclub or souvenir photo folder in the labels section to see others.) Before and during World War 2, many peoples idea of a great time on Saturday night was to get dressed up, go out to a club, have dinner and dance to what ever big band was playing. After the war, the ball room/nightclub began to loose some of it's appeal. Big bands would give way to jazz combos, and then jazz's very brief period of main stream popularity would yield to rock and roll, and the era of the nightclub would die. This image is from that period of transition. Written in pencil on the back of the folder, "10-22-49, Russ Stevenson's Birthday." The Rainbow Club looks more like an old fashioned road side diner, and at that, not a particularly nice one. Stamped on the back of the folder, "For extra copies, Contact Jayhawker 1356 Medford Photo No. T638 Topeka, Kansas." Stamped on the back of the photo, "Jayhawker Commercial Photos 1356 Medford, Topeka, Kansas." I did a search on this club, both in Topeka and all of Kansas, and couldn't find anything.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

In Costume

A real photo postcard, trimmed and, at one time, pasted in a photo album. Could be a dancer, an actress, or it could be a souvenir sold at an historic site of some kind.

Young Couples In Love 2

More young couples in love, and for those of us past a certain age, some middle aged couples as well. Nothing, not even lab marks, on any of these snapshots.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Young Couples In Love 1

This is another one of those collections put together by a dealer of, generally, unrelated photos built around a common theme. In this case, young, affectionate couples. One of the pleasures of collecting old snapshots is speculating about the lives of the subjects. Who is madly in love with whom; who has that unmistakable "I hope this isn't the biggest mistake of my life" look; who is the dominant member of the relationship, and it's not always the man. Take a look at the photo of the confident looking lady whose beau stares at her profile. The couple standing next to the telephone poll look like they can't wait to get back to the motel. There isn't much info on these photos. Not one has any writing on them. The couple standing on the walkway leading up to the front door of a house, he's in a checked jacket, she's wearing a hat and two tone shoes, on the back, a processor's stamp, "THIS Thrifty PRINT FINISHED APR 4 1939 GUARANTEED BY THRIFTY DRUG STORES" The rather stiff looking couple, a bit off center, trees in the background, she's wearing glasses, "Genuine VELOX Photo Paper. ROLL DEV., 8 PRINTS. HOLD-PAT ALBUM, 25C. THE BALDWIN STUDIO. ST. LOUIS, MO. SUMMER 1942." The other stiff looking couple, second from last in the group, white clothing, a bit of palm tree seen above them, there is a very smeared, but still recognizable Fox Photo Finishers logo on the back. Fox was located in San Antonio, Texas and did a big mail order business in the south. Just so you know, on December 18, 2010, I posted one image from this group, separately. "Los Angeles Border." Go back through the archives to find out why I thought it was so distinctive. Part two (Or three, depending how one looks at it.) to be posted in the next couple of days.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Arawak Hotel, Jamaica, W.I.

I have a number of hotel, nightclub, restaurant, and even a cruise line souvenir photo folder in the collection. This one is a bit different. Rather than well dressed people sitting around a table, drinks in hand, a group of tourists getting wet. I was able to find lots of reviews of The Arawak Hotel but nothing on it's history. I was able to find a vintage luggage label with a picture of the hotel with the abbreviation B.W.I. which stands for British West Indies. Jamaica gained it's independence from Great Britain in 1962. So we know that the hotel was built before 1962, but this picture was taken after independence, since the abbreviation W.I. was only used after Jamaica's break from Britain. The Arawak Hotel is located in Ocho Rios on Mammee Bay. One of the activities that the hotel offers is tours of Dunn's River where guests can climb the falls. It looks like that's what these folks are doing. Those one piece swim suits have to be from the sixties. Click on souvenir photo folders in the labels section to pull up some of the other photos in the collection.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Omnibus College

In 1922, professor William Marion Goldsmith of Fairmont College took four of his students on a road trip as part of an extended study program. The next year Goldsmith bought a bus and was approached by co-ed Martha Foster who wanted to join the program, and the omnibus college was born. In 1926, Fairmont College became The Municipal College of Wichita of Kansas and the omnibus program expanded to hundreds of students. By 1934 over 85% of the omnibus students were women. Traveling with teachers, drivers, support staff and chaperons, the women travelled over North America studying and earning college credits in their chosen field. Botany students collected plants along the road, geology students chipped rocks, journalism students wrote about their trips. This trip must have been for history students. The third photo in the collection is labeled "Pittsburg Landing." Pittsburg Landing, also known as the battle of Shiloh, took place in April of 1862. The picture of the ladies standing around the tables is labeled, "K. P. detail at Chattanooga." In front of the tent, "Louise S." Note the black cooks in the first picture.

Friday, January 21, 2011

McKeesport, Pa - Egyptian Cabinet Card

The cabinet card, like the smaller carte de visite was an attempt to make a standard sized, universal format that could be given and collected in albums and frames. This rather stern looking lady, trussed up in her corset was made far more interesting by the Egyptian themed card. It's hard to read, but "Mrs. Mary and Bowers Grandma, Grandma Bowers" is written on the back. And yes, it does read "and" rather than the far more likely Ann.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Florida Oranges

A hand colored, photo composed postcard to make mid-westerners envious of Florida. Never mailed, no message, but printed on the back, "FLORIDA ARTISTIC SERIES COPYRIGHT 1909 BY LEIGH PUB. BY THE H & W.B. Drew Co., Jacksonville, Fla." The postage needed is listed as, "ONE CENT For United States and Island Possessions, Cuba, Canada, and Mexico. TWO CENTS For Foreign." I don't think the post office even makes postcard stamps anymore.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tintype Children (and Parents)

Another companion post to my recent tintype obsession. There was a strange custom in the mid to late nineteenth century for young boys to be raised, almost exclusively by their mothers, like little girls, for the first few years of their lives, (See my post of 10-5-09, A Little Boy In Curls) and I think that the Asian looking child in the dress may be a boy. At least the haircut gives that impression. The second tintype though is all little girl. And the third, once that little boy got beyond a certain age, the feminine clothes and curled hair went, and the boy became his father's son.

Turn Me Over

It's a shame that these two photos are so faded, since it's such a unique artifact. The picture of the young lady facing the camera, tennis racket in hand, is mounted on a card. Written in pencil under the image, "Turn me over-" Turn the card over, and the other photo, back to the camera, is mounted on the same card. The date "1900" is written under the rear view.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tintype Men

A companion piece to my last post, "Tintype Women." The professional tintypist couldn't go down to the local camera store and buy materials. He had to buy sheet iron, either lacquer or paint the metal, make his photographic emulsions from basic chemicals, and often make his own camera. Because every photographer didn't have the same level of technical skill, tintypes often have ridges where the emulsion was unevenly applied. Variation in chemical mixing meant that some tintypes were more sensitive to light than others allowing for shorter exposures. Tintypes, like many other early photographic process were a one off. Without a separate negative, it was impossible to go into the lab and make additional prints. Some photographers built cameras with multiple lenses so that they could make multiple exposures at once. Note that the second image in the group is a copy made from another tintype. It's impossible to tell, but that may be a thumb holding the original when the exposure was made. Since tintypes are flopped, a tintype copy of another tintype would be right reading. The heavily damaged image not only shows a great deal of corrosion of the metal base and missing emulsion, but a loss of the underlying black coating that makes the tintype negative appear positive. As usual, click on tintype in the labels section for more info on the history of tintypes.

Tintype Women

I've written about the history and process of the tintype in previous posts and recommend that anyone wishing to know more, click on tintype in the labels section. I will repeat that tintype was a popular, though incorrect name. Tintypes are actually made of sheet iron. Note the rust on the one image. Tintypes are actually a negative made on either a black painted, or black lacquered piece of iron, which makes them appear as a positive. An inexpensive process, they became one of the earliest forms of photography for the masses. These are all from the nineteenth century.