Thursday, March 31, 2011
As I've noted before, I've had a life long tendency to collect things. My first really systematic collections were baseball cards and comic books. Sadly, my mother listened to the child psychologists of the day who believed that a refusal to give up childhood interests was a sign of an arrested development. So every Topps baseball card from 1959 through 1970, organized by team and league went into the fire. Also, my Spiderman, Fantastic Four, X-Men and Avengers numbers 1. Just think, I could have paid all my debts and taken the next couple of years off if I still had them. And no, I'm not going back to baseball card collecting. Not enough space, time or money. This is the only one I own.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Does this qualify as a photographic postcard? The audience is clearly a photograph, but the act on stage might not be. The proportions are wrong. The performers might be a drawing or they might be a photo that has been drawn over for emphasis. - I've posted the back of the card because, while I think my translation is right, I thought I'd give actual German speakers a chance to correct my efforts. "Tony Manns, the familiar whistle virtuoso. April: Berlin, The Wintergarten. May 1-15: Koln/Rhein, The Wappenhof" June, July, and August, Swedish Tour. May 15, free. In Berlin: Above all, The Wintergarten!" I also wanted to show the stamp. I spent a lot of time on stamp web sites looking for a match so I could date the card. I'm fairly certain that it's a 3 pfennig, Paul von Hindenburg stamp from 1933. If so, that would be a very significant year in German history. In 1933, President Hindenburg would appoint Adolf Hitler as chancellor. By 1934, Hitler would have absolute power over a one party dictatorship. The Nazis would be in power. - From the end of World War 1 to the rise of Hitler, Germany would have one of the most vibrant cultural scenes in the world. It's music, cabarets, theater, visual arts, and it's movie industry would make Berlin a rival to Paris as the cultural center of Europe. While we like to think that the artists of Germany fled Hitler and Nazism, most of them stayed put. Here is a list of some of those who either remained in Germany or who fled too late. Tony Manns was very likely one of them. - 1. G. W. Pabst. Known as Red Pabst by his friends and colleagues for his far left political views, Pabst directed silent classics, The Joyless Street, The Love of Jeanne Ney, Pandora's Box, Diary of a Lost Girl and co-directed The White Hell of Pitz Palu. He also made sound classics, Westfront 1918, The Three Penny Opera, and Kameradschaft. When Hitler came to power, Pabst accepted an offer to go to Hollywood. He made one film, A Modern Hero at Warner Brothers that flopped. Unhappy in Hollywood, he returned to Europe and made several movies in Paris. In 1939, he and his wife returned to Germany. According to his wife, she and Pabst had gone back to take care of family business, had intended to return to France, and had been trapped there when war started. Pabst made a couple of films during the war. After the war ended, Pabst wasn't able to get any film assignments until 1948. He continued to direct films into the 1960s. - 2. Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, operatic soprano was an early member of the Nazi Party. In latter years, she claimed that joining the party was like joining a union, and meant nothing. She did, however, join the youth wing of the Nazi Student Association in 1935, where she was a Fuhrerin, a group leader, indicating a level of involvement in the party beyond mere convenience. Several years after the war, she married British impresario, Walter Legge, and became a British citizen, and eventually, a Dame Commander of the British Empire. - 3. Emil Nolde, painter, print maker and prominent member of the German expressionist movement, was an early supporter of the Nazi party and became a party member in 1934. Despite his party membership, he was declared a degenerate artist and more than 1,000 of his works were removed from public display. In 1941 he was banned from painting, even in private, though he did continue to paint watercolors, which he kept hidden for the duration of the war. He resumed his career after the war, and died in 1956. - 4. Werner Kruass, who played the title role in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, was an early supporter and enthusiastic member of the Nazi party. He was declared an Actor of the State by propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, and stared in the most notorious antisemitic film to come out of Nazi Germany, Jud Suss. After the war he made only three more films before his death. (The director of Jud Suss, Veit Haraln's first wife. the actress Dora Gerson, was Jewish and died in Auschwitz.) - 5. Renata Muller, tall, blond and the stereotype of the perfect Aryan woman, starred in a number of German comedies in the 1930s including Viktor und Viktoria that was remade as Victor/Victoria by Blake Edwards, starring Julie Andrews. She was also a singer and recording artist. Pressured by the Propaganda Ministry to promote Nazi ideals, she resisted, but was eventually forced to appear in the propaganda film Togger. She died in 1937. She was 31 at the time of her death. The official cause of death was epilepsy, but after the war, witnesses came forward and stated that she had been thrown from a building by Gestapo officers after refusing to give up her Jewish lover. Another theory is that she committed suicide. The true circumstances of her death will probably never be known. - 6. Charles Puffy, comedian and actor, is best known to fans of silent films as the rolly-polly gang member in Fritz Lang's Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler. He was also in The Blue Angel. Puffy was born in Hungary, made a few films there and then went to Germany were he had a career in films and on the stage. From 1924-1927 he lived in the United States and made a number of films, mostly comedy shorts. He eventually returned to Germany and worked until he was forced out of the film industry because he was Jewish. He returned to his native Hungary, made a few films, and in 1941, after trying unsuccessfully to get back to the U.S., he and his wife fled east to the Soviet Union. After that, there are no reliable reports of what happened to him. One rumor is that he and his wife were arrested by the Soviets in Kazakhstan, sent to a prison camp where he died of diphtheria. Another unconfirmed rumor is that he was eventually released by the Soviets, made his way to China, where he was arrested by the Japanese and then died in Tokyo. - 7. Emil Jannings, born in Switzerland, but his family moved to Germany when he was still young. He established himself as a theater actor while still a young man, and quickly made the transition to film. He made classic silent films, Waxworks, Variety, Faust and The Last Laugh in Germany before accepting an offer to work in Hollywood. He won the first Academy Award for best actor for his performances in The Way of All Flesh, and The Last Command. (In the first year of the Academy Awards, actors were nominated for their work for the entire year, not just one film.) With the advent of sound, Jannings with his broken English and thick German accent found himself unemployable in the United States, so he returned to Germany where he made The Blue Angel with Marlene Dietrich and Kurt Gerron. Jannings was an early supporter of the Nazi regime and party member. He was declared Artist of the State by Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels, and spent the remainder of his career making films that supported the regime. He made his last film in 1945, and never worked again. - 8. Kurt Gerron. Actor, singer, cabaret star, writer, film and theater director. Born in Berlin, wounded in World War 1, medical student, Gerron went on stage for the first time, professionally in 1920. He would go on to originate the role Tiger Brown in Bertolt Brecht's Three Penny Opera. Gerron was in a number of silent movies, but is best known to film fans for his third billed role in The Blue Angel. Starting with short subjects, Gerron would go on to write, direct and star in a number of German comedies from the early sound era. In 1934 when all Jews were dismissed from the German film industry, Gerron moved to France and then the Netherlands were he continued his film career. After the Germans invaded the Netherlands he was arrested by the S.S. and sent to Westerbork transit camp. From there he was sent to Theresienstadt Concentration camp near Prague. In Theresienstadt, Gerron organized a cabaret theater, Kurt Gerron's Karussell. In 1944 he was ordered to write and direct a propaganda film, Hitler Gives a City to the Jews, that was meant to show that Jews were treated humanely by the Nazi government. After the film was wrapped, Gerron was sent to Auschwitz. He was part of the last selection and was gassed on October 28, 1944. He was 47 years old. The documentary Prisoner of Paradise tells his story and contains footage of Gerron performing in Berlin - I chose these eight examples of artists who stayed behind or who left too late to save themselves because, no matter what decesions they made, I admire at least some of their work. I love The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, own a DVD of the film, and watch it three or four times a year. The fact that Werner Krauss was a Nazi, while disturbing, is something that, in my mind, does not detract from the film. I like the German expressionists and admire Emil Nolde. And if I had more money, I would be ordering DVDs of The Last Laugh, Faust, and The Blue Angel, even though they all star Emil Jannings.
I'm in a cabinet card kind of mood. The cabinet card like the carte de visite was an early attempt to come up with a standardized format. Cabinet cards were approximately 4.25x6.5 inches. The back of this card was textured and I had to use the descreen setting on the scanner to get rid of the Newton rings. Altoona is a small city in west central Pennsylvania.
Part 3 of 3. Japan was occupied by the allies from the end of World War 2 until April 28, 1952. Unlike Germany and Austria, Japan had a civil government of its own during the occupation. Embracing Defeat by John W. Dower is an excellent book about Japan after the war. Click on occupied Japan in the labels section or navigate back to see the other posts.
Friday, March 25, 2011
A friend of mine who had taken a couple of psychology courses and fancied herself a therapist once told me that my tendency to collect things was about a need to apply order to a chaotic life. Personally, I think I just like stuff. In any case, I started this blog to bring some order to a chaotic collection of old photographs, and in doing so, somehow or another these three shots of the Currie boys got separated from a couple of shots that were posted on 10/19/10. Written on the back of the balding Currie boy, "Thos. G. Currie, 323 Electric Av. E. Pittsburg, Pa. Return to Mrs. D. Currie, 323 Electric Av. E. Pittsburg, Pa." On the back of seated, civilian Currie, "Donald Currie." The E. Pittsburg is for East Pittsburg, along the Monongahela River. Probably from World War 1. Printed on postcard stock.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Again, the original source material for color, linen postcards are almost always hand colored black & white photographs. This one shows black migrant workers harvesting cranberries on Cape Cod.
Printed on the back, "HARVESTING CRANBERRIES The cranberry is indigenous to Cape Cod. It is a highly profitable and highly specialized business which employs an army of scoopers to skim the great bogs for the Delectable Feast of Thanksgiving." Also, "TICHNOR QUALITY VIEWS MADE ONLY BY THE TICHNOR BROTHERS, INC. BOSTON, MASS."
Written on the back, "Darling Tina, I wish you were with us, we are just going to the beach. The next time you go with us I suppose you will be swimming better than ever.
Yesterday was my day to write, but Mummy wrote so I thought I would wait until to-day. Just heaps. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Me."
Addressed to, "Miss Christine Anderson, Camp Four Winds, Mass Girl Scout Camp, Buzzards Bay, Route 2, Mass."
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
When World War 1 began in November of 1914, Italy was member of the Triple Alliance along with Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Italian Parliament declared, that since the alliance was for defensive proposes, and since Germany and the Austrians had been the aggressors, their treaty obligations were not enforceable. In May of 1915, Italy joined the Entente and allied themselves with Great Britain, France and Russia. From 1915 to 1917 the Italian army attacked Austrian forces along their border but were unable to make any significant advances. In 1917, with German help, the Austrian army made a significant counter attack that resulted in the rout of the Italian army at the battle of Caporetto. See A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway for a written description of the retreat. The Italians were able to halt the offensive, but until October of 1918, with Austria on the verge of civil war, they were not able to regain significant territory from the Austrians. In the last few months of the war, the Italian army was finally able to penetrate deep into Austrian territory. Fighting ended between the Italians and the Austrians on November 3, 1918, a week before the signing of a final armistice, ending the war.
All of these images are printed on postcard stock. The first image is the newest. I'm usually pretty good at deciphering hand writing, but not having any Italian, I'm unable to infer things from context. Normally I wouldn't post the back of a card, but I can only figure out so much, so if anyone out there can give me an accurate translation.... "Col." I'm guessing is an abbreviation for Colonello, Italian for Colonel. That last name may be Rafall, but I can't be sure. I've got "Gioia" figured out, with "Calle" so I'm putting the Colonel on Joy Street in August of 1927. The Colonel and the civilian postcard has an address that I can't make out, and a name, "Giovanni" a last name I can't decipher and "+ moglie" wife. I've put up a number of hand tinted images on this blog, but the last two images are the first before and after pictures that I've been able to post. Written on the back of the tinted version, "Ottobre 6. 1918 Austria" October 6, 1918 Austria. Less than a month to the cease fire.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Well, Los Angeles sure doesn't look like this anymore. While this image looks like it could be a painting, it's very probable that the original image was a black & white photograph that was hand colored, and until proved otherwise, it qualifies for inclusion on a photography blog. Printed on the back of the card, "No. 1260. SPRING STREET, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA. The full name of Los Angles is "La Tuebla de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles" (The City of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels), a name as beautiful as it is long, and in keeping with the proud position of the city as the "Belle of the Pacific Coast." It is situated twenty miles from the mouth of the Los Angeles River, fifteen miles from the Pacific Ocean, as the crow flies. It was founded by the Spaniards in 1781 and passed into American possession in 1846. It was, however, of no great importance till after 1880, when it underwent an almost unprecedentedly rapid increase in population and wealth. It's population rose from 11,183 in 1880 to 50,395 in 1890, and to 102,479 in 1990, and it's former adobe houses have almost entirely been replaced by stone and brick houses and blocks of tasteful wooden residences. It is now a crowded and lively town of wide streets and spacious sidewalks, with an extensive and beautiful residential quarter, and over 130 churches." And yes, Tuebla is what it says on the card.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Lewis W. Zuver was a professional photographer in Butler, Pennsylvania. He was active from the late nineteenth century into the early twentieth century. He had a brother, Leonard Zuver, who had a studio in Tionesta, Pa., and a sister Mary Zuver West who was also a professional photographer who specialized in portraits of women and children who had a studio in Bradford, Pa. There is a small, difficult to see, embossed logo on the photo directly underneath the portrait. It has what I think is a horse, with a Z underneath, in a shield, with "ZUVER STUDIO, BUTLER, PA." around the outside of the shield.
The Merry Widow was an operetta written by Austrian composer Franz Lehar (Libretto by Victor Leon and Leo Stein) that premiered in 1905 and soon became an international sensation. It also inspired a fashion craze for large, oversize hats for women. I did a Google search for I. Grollman, the publisher of this card, and didn't find anything about Grollman, but I did find page after page of Grollman cards for sale, many of them built around the Merry Widow theme and all novelty cards.
Friday, March 18, 2011
Every time I see photos that look like they could have been taken during World War 2, I wonder how the people in those photos were affected by the war. From Pearl Harbor to V-J Day, more than 16 million Americans, almost all men, would spend some time in the military. There must have been a lot of all women picnics in those years.