Friday, September 30, 2011

The German American Collection, The Broken Ones

It's my preferred practice, when scanning mounted prints, to crop out everything but the actual photograph. Too, I prefer not to impose a symbolic meaning to old, family photos. But in this case, where a dealer went to an estate sale and bought up boxes of old photos that no one was willing to save from the prying eyes of strangers, it only seems right that there should be some damage to things. Take a good look at the child on the left in the final print. I'm convinced that's a little boy in the dress. What were they playing? Peter Pan? Click on German American in the labels section to bring up the rest of the collection.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Two affectionate soldiers? I know there's a modern day obsession with with trying to define people by their sexuality, and yes, there is a very good chance that these two soldiers were gay. But it's also possible that they were two men who faced war together and were pals. Pals who have faced death together and have a strong emotional, rather than sexual bond.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fox Dreams

What a faraway look. Some would say dreamy, others, vacant. With the strange, distorted reflections in the window glass, perhaps hallucinatory. I don't like to crop the photos I scan. Silly perhaps, but I like to leave things as the photographer found them. But if I had the original negative and I printed it, I'd crop it so that only her face and the window would show.

The Epworth League Album 7, Old Folks (And Young) At Home

The picture of the little girl and her cats seems somewhat out of place on this page. A grand daughter, perhaps, of one of the older seated men, she looks like a model for silent movie star Mary Pickford from Rebbecca of Sunnybrook Farm or Mary Miles Mitner from Anne of Green Gables. Looking at those old silent films, I've always assumed that the look of those actresses was an idealized notion of a rural America that the film makers thought would sell tickets to an urban audience living in tenements. It's surprising to find an actual child who has that care free and innocent image.

Most people have at least heard of Mary Pickford, but Mary Miles Mitner's name may not be familiar to non silent movie fans. During the silent era, Mitner was a very successful child actress who rivaled Pickford in box office appeal. Her career ended in 1923 when she was implicated in the murder of director William Desmond Taylor. Born in 1902, the 21 year old Mitner was involved with the much older and married Taylor. Though never charged, Mitner never made another film. Mitner's mother and Mabel Normand were also said to be involved with Taylor.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Epworth League Album 6, Ethnic Dress or Strange Fashion?

Are the ladies in the second image wearing some sort of ethnic dress or did they have similar tastes in fashion? I've been looking through Google images searching for a match, and so far no luck. Click on Epworth League in the labels section to bring up the lot.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Epworth League Album 5, Two More Pages

Anyone who has ever tried to scan in a mis-exposed print will share my frustration. There is a side of me that wants things to look pretty much they way the originals do. There is a side of me that wants them to look better. The problem is that, after the programing has tried to correct exposures, I often get neither.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Are You Ready For Some Football

I did not play high school football, and in smash-mouth football obsessed western Pennsylvania that was not a popular choice. Sissy was the politest name I was called and , well let's put it this way; I was hit as much for not playing as I would have if I had played. Of course, my high school didn't have a very good team so that didn't necessarily mean anything. My high school team lost every game for three straight years. We came close to a win in my junior year. We were playing our arch rival and managed to loose by only six points. 6-0 to be exact. In the last ten minutes of the game, our opponents managed a seventy yard march to victory. Sixty yards on penalties. Fifteen yards when one of our players left the Field on the wrong side. There he was, a lone white uniform in a sea of blue. And just so you know, I am a fan. Steelers in the Super Bowl. I guarantee it!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mildred Gets Around

While I know that most of these old color scenic postcards are hand tinted black & white photos, it's always nice to see some proof. Take a look at the base of the News Building card and other building that are clearly a photograph can be seen. Click on the image to bring it up in a bigger window, and you can even see people and cars. The caption of the first card, "THE NEWS BUILDING is considered one of the finest structures in New York. It cost ten million dollars to build. The tower rises 36 stories: a nine-story newspaper plant adjoining. The facade on the front of the building contains figures, carved from stone, representing people from all walks of life. The words "He Made So Many of Them" is a quotation of Lincoln's. The beautiful News Lobby draws thousands of visitors daily. An additional attraction is a guide service through the newspaper plant. Have you been through?" No caption on the second card. Publisher of the News Building card, "LUMITONE PHOTOPRINT, NEW YORK. MADE IN U.S.A." The fountain card, "Published by B. S. Reynolds Co., Washington, D.C." Post marks, "NEW YORK , N. Y. STA P, OCT 19 6:30 PM 1937" and, "WASHINGTON, D. C. OCT 26, 11 AM 1937" Both cards are addressed to, "Mr. & Mrs. J. A. Wainscott, 623 So. Vancouver St., Los Angeles, Calif." The message on the first, "Tues. Dear Folks, Arrived here yesterday. We will stay for 1 week. It is raining today so I don't know what we will do. Had a beautiful drive down from W. Hawes yesterday. We are staying in the center of New York-Love Mildred & Cliff." And on the other, "Wash D.C. Dear Folks, We arrived about 9 o'clock this morning drove around & saw many things all day. Went through the Capitol & Some institutes of Art & Science. I think we will leave for Indiana tomorrow & go to Anderson first & then Indianapolis. I hope you are all fine. Love, Mildred." Why don't parents name their daughters Mildred anymore? Seems like a nice name to me.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Epworth League Album 4, Ladies and Their Homes

Happy women in small town America. There will be a car latter on in this album, but for now, people are still getting around by horse power. And the houses, other than the probability that some of these women may have lived in them, well I couldn't see giving a separate post for a couple of snapshots of houses. Click on Epworth league in the labels section to bring up the previous posts.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Epworth League Album 3

I have a theory, completely unsupported by an facts, that photo albums are almost always put together by women. My other theory is that photo album are often put together by someone, for someone else. This album starts somewhere in the middle west and ends in California. Looking at these last two posts, makes me wonder if this album was made by a daughter for her mother, and if her mother is this lady. A mystery I would love to solve. Click on Epworth league in the labels section to bring everything up.

The Epworth League Album 2, Odd Angles

There are a lot of angled photos in this album, and they aren't easy to scan. Interesting bunch of images on this page. The subject looks happy and very relaxed in the seated photo. The hammock, she looks pensive. And finally, like the evil aunt in The Wizard of Oz. Wasn't L. Frank Baum from the middle west? There is a middle America feel to these three images.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Epworth League Album 1, Love That Haircut

It's time to put up another photo album. I'll be following my usual practice of scanning whole pages to show position with separate scans of the individual photos. When there is only one photo per page, then there will not be a scan for position. There will be a few exceptions to that rule, but those will come a lot latter, along with an explanation for the album's title. While there will be some breaks in the posting of this album, there won't be the big gaps as there have been for the Green Bay Business College and German-American collections. Someone must have really loved this haircut.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The German American Collection, Deaths in the Family

The older gentleman is labeled, "Noah Jordan 1918 Grandfather, Died: Spring 1918" Perhaps a coincidence, but that would be the zenith of the Spanish flu pandemic that killed in the millions. The group photo, "Nan Nan and her sisters at her brother's funeral 1925" Click on the photo of the old man for a better look at the pin on his vest. It looks like a smaller photo, a common mourning piece. Click on German American in the labels section to bring up the rest of the lot.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ciro's on the Sunset Strip

Two folders, two prints, but only one negative. Most of these old, classic nightclubs would have photographers, usually a pretty girl in a skimpy costume, at least by the standards of the day, who would wander the room offering to take pictures of the guests. The photographer caught and interesting group. She probably instructed these four people to look into the lens and smile. The couple on the left followed directions, but the couple on the right, not so much. The woman only had eyes for her date, while he barely acknowledged her presence.


Ciro's was opened in January of 1940 by William Wilkerson. With gossip columnists Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons dropping in on a regular basis, Ciro's became the place to see and be seen. Average Angelenos and star struck tourists could rub elbows with such regulars as Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner, Marlene Dietrich and Cary Grant. In the 1960s Ciro's made the transition to rock club featuring acts from Dick Dale and the Surftones to The Byrds. In 1972 Ciro's became The Comedy Store, which is still going strong. I couldn't find anything on when ownership of Ciro's went from Wilkerson to H. D. Hover, but I did find out that serial killer Rodney Alcala killed 23 year old Ciro's heiress Ellen Jane Hover in 1977. An interesting mix of acts are listed on the back of the folder. I wonder what guests made of folk singers Libby Holman and Josh White. Two of my favorites. Click on nightclub in the labels section to bring up a number of other old souvenir photos.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Labor Day

Why is it so difficult to find photographs of people at work? Dated 1956, women assembling radios (I think), an industry that can no longer be found in the United States.