Monday, December 31, 2012

A European Village Wedding

Must of us have had the experience of looking at an old photograph and knowing where it must have been taken.  There's nothing written anywhere on this picture.  I could have been taken almost anywhere, but when I look at it it says Europe to me.  Not the Europe of Paris, Prague or Berlin, but the Europe of a small village somewhere in eastern, or perhaps southern Europe.  I'll bet the photographer was a local shop keeper who had a side line taking photos.  An old piece of canvas was hung up on the wall to provide an even background, and a glass negative, the same size as the finished photo, was exposed.  Maybe the married couple moved to the United States and brought this print with them.. Maybe they mailed it to their emigrant cousin.  Who knows how it got here.  But then again, maybe I'm wrong.  Maybe this image was made in Iowa.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Lost In the Snow

I know, they're not actually lost in the snow.  But the composition is so interesting.  Did the photographer mean to frame like this, or was it a mistake?  Was he trying to show just how much it had snowed?  I like the lady on the left in her full length fur coat.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Sitting At Christmas

Demented Grandpa prevents little Emily from playing with new doll.  Bad Grandpa, bad!  Dated "DEC 70"  No other information.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Posing In the Snow

I don't know whether these two photos are related or not, but I did find them in the same place, they look very similar, so I'm posting them together.  Because of the hat, I can't be sure, but I think it might be the same woman.  Call it small town America, in the twenties, in winter. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Winter Sports In the Dolomites

Written on the back of the second photograph, "Selva  Dolomiten, Dezember 1956"

Selve refers to a small community in the Dolomite Mountains in the  South Tyrol region of northern Italy, Selva di Val Gardena, or as it's known in German, Wolkenstein in Groden.

 So why all the German?  Pretty simple, actually.  The South Tyrol was once part of Austria-Hungary.  At the beginning of World War 1, there were two political blocks in Europe.  The Triple Entente, Great Britain, France, and Russia, and the Triple Alliance, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy.  When the war started, Italy dropped out of the alliance.  In 1915, the British promised the Italians the South Tyrol if they'd switch sides and declare war on the Germans and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  The Italians didn't do all that well in the actual fighting, but after the war, they were able to annex the South Tyrol.  Despite attempts to "Italianize" the area, the majority of people still speak German.  In Selva, 89% speak Ladin, a local dialect.  The remaining 11% are about equally divided between Italian and German.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas 1952

I have a confession to make.  I don't really like Christmas all that much.  My parents split up when I was young, and Christmas day was when they made their one effort of the year to be civil to each other.  It lasted about five minutes.  But for those whole love Christmas, a couple of cute kids standing in the snow, dated "Dec 1952"

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Tapolcza is a small town in Hungary.  As of the last census, it had 17,598 residents.  I was able to translate Palyaudvar as railway station, but the hand writing on the back is just too small and indistinct to be translated by someone who doesn't actually speak Hungarian.  I also need help with the postmark.  I think it's from August 10, 1916, but again, the design isn't something I'm familiar with.  It could also be from 1910.

If it is from 1916, this postcard would have been mailed right in the middle of World War 1.  Budapest would not have been the capitol of Hungary, it would have been a city in Austria-Hungary, a country that wouldn't survive the war.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Swedish Snowman

Arghhh....The computer has been down for awhile.  About a week ago I logged on and a window popped up informing me that my computer was infected with all sorts of nasty intruders.  Windows XP security, and since I use Windows XP I followed the prompts.  Right up until I was asked for a credit card number.  Well, it doesn't take a computer genius (I'm not even close.) to know it was scam time.  And then, all of a sudden, inexplicably, the scam window disappeared and I'm back in business.  I suspect the virus is still hidden somewhere deep in the digital world that we all inhabit, but since I can't afford to get it removed by someone who knows what they're doing (Not me.) I'm just cruising along hoping for the best.

So, today's entry.  It's cold and there's snow in the local mountains.  The San Gabriel Mountains of Los Angeles County.   Anyway, this image looked appropriate for winter weather.  I think it's Swedish.  Translations welcome.  I'll try and mix in some warmer photos over the next few months.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Mystery Woman

I'm going to be really embarrassed if someone leaves a comment identifying this lady as their mother, but I'm sorry, I think this is a picture of a man.  That jaw line, those bushy eyebrows.  And the hair...well, it looks like it might be a wig to me.

I spent decades working in photo labs.  I printed many an amateur pin-up, naked wives and girlfriends, the occasional naked man, and yes, pictures of people having sex.  But by far and away,  the most common "private" subject, was men dressed as woman. Many were fairly obvious; some were so good, I only knew because I was told.  And, obviously, there were probably some that I didn't know about at all.

 There are still plenty of conventional photo labs around, as well as a growing number of labs that specialize in digital photography.  Fair warning!  Photo lab workers collect favorite pictures.  Ladies, if you went to a lab to have that special photo printed up for your boyfriend,  more than likely it was taped up on a dark room wall.  I knew one guy who had albums full of pictures of nude and scantily clad women.  And yes, there are collections of guys in dresses that will, one day,  end up on EBay.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The North Texas State Normal College Album 12

More group shots.  One from the farm and  two from the school house.  Click on NTSNC in the labels section at the bottom of the post to bring up the whole lot.

The North Texas State Normal College Album 11

No, I hadn't forgot about this album.  It's just such a pain to take the album apart and put it back together every time, I have a tendency to put the updates off.  Click on NTSNC in the labels section at the bottom of the post to bring up the whole collection.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Driving In Germany

Alright, I admit it.  I'm not sure it's from Germany. but it's printed on Agfa paper and it's a Mercedes Benz 220 SE  "Fintail" Saloon Series 111.

So why the number?  In an effort to rebuild it's brand, after the war, Mercedes began sponsoring road rallies.  Rally sports go back to the beginnings of the automotive industry.  Basically, a bunch of car enthusiasts get together and see who can get from point A to point B in the least amount of time. Some rallies are one day affairs, others run multiple days and legs.  In 1908, there was even a New York to Paris rally, across North America to Nome, Alaska, a ships crossing to East Cape, Siberia and then on to Paris.  The rally was won by an American team driving a 1907 Thomas Flyer.

 There are rally associations that have rules for every race  they sponsor.  If the leg is 500 miles and the speed limit is 50 mph for the whole length, arriving in under 10 hours might add time to the total.  The rules might involve staying on a set route or merely hitting certain way points.  Of course, an informal rally might be nothing more than a few friends or a local club getting from San Francisco to Chicago.  First one wins.

Friday, December 7, 2012

71 Years Ago Today, Pearl Harbor

All I know about these photos is that they were taken in Hawaii in 1942.  I've written about this before, and it's time to bring it up again.  My father believed that the great depression and World War 2 were good for the average American.  Not the New Deal or the money of a booming war economy, but how the disruption of those two great catastrophes forced Americans to move from their small towns or the old neighborhood, to go out and mix with people not like them, to go out into a greater world.  I doubt the men in these photos would have ever seen Hawaii if it hadn't been for the war.  Many would loose their lives, and that doesn't make for the better life that my father talked about, but for those who's one of those things that's impossible to prove, but I tend to agree with my father.  

Now, to move on to a bit about Pearl Harbor.  This week, I had a rather one sided discussion with a couple of young men about Pearl Harbor.  One sided because I felt that what I was hearing was so irrational that it was pointless to reply.  And yes, what they told me is something that many Americans believe.  It was that old saw of the Franklin Roosevelt conspiracy to get America into World War 2.  Once again I had someone tell me that FDR new all about the coming attack and let it happen so that he could get a reluctant America into a pointless war for personal gain.  In the past I used to point out that a failed attack by the Japanese would have been just as effective in getting us into the war.  That if Roosevelt knew in advance, surely we would have set a trap for the Japanese fleet.  In the end though, I got tired of people telling me that I was an idiot.  Didn't I know that FDR and his friends made more money rebuilding the fleet?  That's why he wanted all of our ships sunk.  So he could get rich.  Sadly, that's not the stupidest thing I've heard from one of my fellow citizens about the war.  That honor goes to the young man who told me that we and our German allies beat the Russians and the Japanese.  When I tried to tell him who were actually our allies and which countries were our enemies,  I was told that that was my opinion, and that no person's opinion was any more right than any other person's opinion.  And this is what we fought for.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dead Foxes Ripped Her Flesh

Sorry, I couldn't resist the Frank Zappa reference.  Doesn't the lady in the center look like she's about to add another pelt to her shoulder.  It also looks like she doesn't care whether it's animal or human.  A very mean looking lady, indeed.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Bridge Running

I know it's out of focus and  leaching 80 year old chemistry, but I like it anyway.   I wonder if they were running from something?  A little harmless prank, hurrying away before getting caught, while their less adventuress friend took pictures?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Scalp Treatment

What's a scalp treatment?  What's an oil treatment?  Are these the owners, or customers? Do children need scalp treatments?  Did these people decide they needed a picture of the kids and decide, "Hey, I've got the perfect place for a picture.  Down by the scalp treatment store."  (Or is it salon?)  Written in the print border, "2mo"  Written on the back, "June 9, 1946"

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Swedes In America

Are there any Swedes out there?  I'm not even going to try and translate this one.  I assume it's in Swedish because it was mailed from the United States to Broby, a town in southern Sweden.  I'm not even sure from where in the U.S.  The image is from southern California.  The publisher is M. Rieder, a company in business from 1901 to 1915, located in Los Angeles, but the postmark....well, I think it's from Michigan, but I'm not even sure of that.  Did a Swedish immigrant pass through L.A. on his way to Michigan and send a card to those he left behind at home?   I would say that's most probable, but it's not the only possible explanation.  Los Angeles is a seaport, and there are also ports on Lake Michigan that service international shipping.  So, perhaps, a sailor.  Then again, the sender of this postcard might have been a tourist.  1906 seems far back in time, but like today, there were plenty of international travelers who just roamed for the sake of seeing the world.  And that's why I need someone who can decipher the handwriting and translate it into English.  It's the only way I'll know the who and the why of this message.

We have a partial translation from J'lee.  Click on  comment at the bottom to read what she has found out.  It seems Nils, in Wallace, Michigan is trying to send something to his sister Sigrid, in Sweden.  Whatever it is, it has to be well packed.  Wallace is the name of two occupied places in Michigan.  One on the southern, upper peninsula, and one not.  And I've double checked.  The entire card is visible on the post.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Camera Woman

I love pictures of people with cameras.  This one is dated "JUL 4 1946" a year or so after the end of World War 2.  It's inconceivable the lady in this photo didn't know a number of people who went off to the conflict.  The camera looks like it's from the thirties.  I have a number of them in my collection, and it probably uses 620 film.  That's six exposures per roll, and she must have gone through a lot of rolls of film taking pictures of her friends, now out of uniform.  But who was the photographer of the photographer?  The 620 format gives a long narrow image.  This image could have been cropped, or it could have been from a newer 120, or even a 35mm.   Perhaps a war souvenir.  Both the Germans and the Japanese have a long history of making fine cameras.

For anyone interested, lots of old, folding 620 cameras from the thirties still work and give a nice, sharp negative.  To use one, you'll need two 620 reels. If there aren't any in the camera, they can be found on EBay.  Go into a dark room, strip off the film from a roll of 120 film and respool it onto a 620 reel.  Most of these old cameras will have a small window on the back with a red, celluloid cover.  There a numbers on the paper backing of the film.  If they're visible, the frames will be 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11.  If the numbers don't line up with the window, good luck trying to figure out how far to advance the film per exposure.

Monday, November 26, 2012


Thanksgiving weekend is over and it's time to clean up the mess and figure out what to do with all the leftovers.  Written on the back of this photo, "voc. school"  It looks like these three young ladies are learning what to do with dried up turkey, fatty gravy, cold mashed potatoes, and stale stuffing.  Man, I'm feeling hungry.  Going by the hairdos, I'm guessing the 1920s.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Hunting Camp

I grew up in a small town where most men, and a sizable number of women, hunted.  During the great depression my father hunted out of necessity, and had no interest in hunting for sport.  As an adult, I've developed an interest in environmental issues.  It surprises the people I know that I have no objection to regulated hunting.  It shocks many of them that I'd still like to try hunting.  Looks like these guys are having fun.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Dr. Henry Chung

A magic lantern slide or glass transparency, take your pick.  Labeled on the front, "Made by Committee on Conservation and Advance, 740 Rush St., Chicago, Ills."  And on the back, "Neg. 89658 Slide 56  Leet. X-Hermit  Dr. Henry Chung"

A search for Dr. Henry Chung didn't get me much.  There are a lot of Dr. Henry Chungs out there.  And that's just in the United States.  A search for Committee on Conservation and Advance, on the other hand, was a bit more fruitful.  The Committee was a branch of the Methodist Episcopal Church  that was active in Korea from 1908 to 1922 and was very successful in converting Koreans to Christianity.  The Methodists, and other Christian church missionaries, were so successful that Korea is one of the most Christianised countries in Asia.  

But the real find was at, The Reverend Corwin and Nellie Taylor Collection, a group of glass slides documenting the Committee on Conservation and Advance's activities in Korea.  It's part of the Korean Heritage Collection at the University of Southern California.  It's easy to access and well worth a look.  The only problem I had with it was that it made me want to find all the images in the collection and that's a daunting task.  And one more bit of information.  I found this slide in the USC collection.  Dr. Chung is listed as the author of The Case of Korea.  Don't know whether that's a book or a pamphlet; whether it's about Korea's political situation or about Christianity.  Whatever it is, it doesn't have an internet presence.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The North Texas State Normal College Album 10

Well, they are double sided pages, which makes it easier to do two posts at once.  I had to blow up the second image before I realized that the smaller child was on a tricycle.  Click on NTSNC in the labels section to bring up the whole lot.

The North Texas State Normal College Album 9

Time for a few more pages from The North Texas State Normal College Album.  The studio portrait of the two kids was taped in while the other photos are glued on the page, so I'm guessing that it was added after the other ones.  But how long after?  They look unhappy to be at the photographers.  As always, click on NTSNC in the labels section to bring up the whole album.