Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Swimming at the Creek

If you grew up in a small rural town like I did,  you'd know that a creek lies somewhere betwixt and between a river and a brook.  Of course, how that's perceived varies with where you're from.  In western Pennsylvania, where I'm grew up, rivers mean the Allegheny or the Ohio and this stream would fall into the creek category.  In Nevada, people would probably see it as a good sized river.  In any case, it looks like a good place to cool off on a hot summers day.  I used to swim in Roaring Run and Crooked Creek.  And sometimes, I'd just wade in Hilty's Hollow.

No names, dates or location on the print.  There is a processor's mark, "Fox Tone Print, FOX CO. SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS"  That doesn't mean much.  Fox was a regional lab with a large mail order business.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Long Dresses on Long Beach

I've noticed a tendency of blogger to cut off  the right side of images, so hopefully this slightly wider scan will give a fuller view.  And if not, well, so it goes.

Another hand colored postcard that no doubt started out as a black & white photo.  Imagine going to the beach wearing those long dresses and wool suits.  And wool swimsuits!  I don't see how they stayed afloat.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Happy People Before the War

I'm always fascinated by pictures of people taken just before a war.  The top photo is dated 1914, and the second two are dated 1915, and in those years many, perhaps even most, Americans viewed the war in Europe as being an imperial struggle, a battle for power and colonies.  (For the record, I agree.)  President Woodrow Wilson promised to keep us out of war, but between the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915 and the Zimmerman telegram of 1917, that promise wouldn't be kept.  In 1917, the United States declared war on the central powers.  The man in the picture looks like he was in the right age range for service.  Who knows if he survived.  But in 1914 and perhaps even in 1915, he was probably blind to the future.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Another Mystery Locale

Interesting things in both the right and left backgrounds.  On the left, there is a lady who looks like she's holding a Bible, so I'm guessing a church.  On the right, a woman who appears to be native American.  Maybe Mexico or the U.S. southwest.  If anyone recognizes the ornate doorway and can name a city, please leaven a comment.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Good Lookin'

No date, no name, no location, no information at all.  I bought these because I thought she was good looking.  My best guess, late forties through early fifties.

Monday, July 23, 2012

I Yearn For You

This one has been a bit of a trial. Translating a language that is unknown, where the context, the way natives use words, where the poetry of structure is a mystery, is  an almost impossible task.  I went to Google translate and started typing, clicked on find language, and up popped Estonian.  But a word for word translation isn't as simple as it might seem.  Kui has a different meaning depending on context.  It can mean as, if, than, when, how, that, and while.  Au can mean honor, glory, credit, dignity, and reputation.  And then there is the way people write cursive.  I tried habad, halad, nabad, nalad, and a number of other combinations for word number three on the back of the photo.  The only one that was in the Google translator, in Estonian, was nabad.  And it's meaning; navel or umbilical cord.  The first sentence, when I put in all the words together, "So is the threat to the honor of navels."  It might make sense to someone from Estonia, but to me...well, I can't help but think there is something wrong there.

The second sentence gets into the realm of the poetry of language.  Word for word, "You, my, place the dishes, looking for".  How about,  "I look for you where I place my dishes."  A simple invocation of home life?  I like to think so.

And in the next sentence, "I yearn for you."  At least I think that's how I think  it should read.   If anyone from Estonia can correct my poor efforts, leave a comment.

Added July 26.....We have a translation.  It's from an anonymous Estonian poem.  Click on comments and read Oliver's contribution.  Nothing about dishes, I'm disappointed.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Number 750, Men In Skirts

 I don't know why 750 is a significant number.  I get the whole three quarters to 1000 thing, but why is it better than, say 800, 8/10s to 1000?  Anyway, going on tradition, it's time for another visit to the lightly visited early days of The New Found Photography in honor of post number 750!

As I've mentioned more than a few times, I spent decades as a professional black & white printer.  In all those years, I printed thousands of negatives of men wearing women's clothes.  Some were like these two guys, fooling around for the camera.  Some were guys who went all out, with not just clothes, but wigs and make-up.  And some were so good, that if I hadn't been told, I would have assumed they were actual women.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


This is it.  The last of my nautically themed images...at least for awhile.

No, this postcard was not mailed from Nagasaki by a happy passenger making a first visit to Japan.  It was mailed from the New York offices of The Hamburg-Amerika Linie to the Reading Eagle in Reading, Pennsylvania.  It's a press release.  Pre-printed on the back of the card....

"New York, April 12, 1930

The "Resolute" arrived on time this morning at Nagasaki, as reported by radio-gram.  On the way there were Travel Lectures and a Bridge Tournament.

At Nagasaki, on the Island of Kyushu, Western Japan, the "Resolute" was greeted by the mayor and all other city Authorities, who gave our passengers a Luncheon with an address of welcome and Geisha Dances under the Cherry Blossoms.  This delightful reception was in Suwa Park, where is the Bronze Horse Temple, overlooking beautiful Nagasaki Harbor.

This is the place where resided if fictionally Puccini's Madame Butterfly and Pierre Loti's Madame Chrysantheme and their creators could not have chosen a more charming spot as the locale of their tragic romances.

Here every lover of the romantic and beautiful has felt a responsive thrill.


Printed in Germany."

I'm sure it would be possible to find out if the Resolute actually docked when this card said it did, and whether or not the entire city leadership showed up to celebrate it's arrival or not, but it is a pre-printed card, so I have my doubts.

Hamburg Amerikanische Paketfahrt Actien-Gesellschaft, (I'm glad I won't by typing that again) or in English, Hamburg American Packet Shipping Joint Stock Company,  was founded in 1847 to do one thing...make money from European emigrants headed to the United States.  As it's profits grew, the Hamburg-America Line expanded service to all  continents, excluding Antarctica. It became  the largest shipping company in Europe, and at times, the largest in the world.  In both World War 1 and World War 2, most of it's fleet was wiped out, but the company managed to survive both times.  In 1970, Hamburg-America  merged with Bremen based North German Lloyd to form HAPAG-Lloyd, still one of the world's largest shipping companies.  

Hamburg-America had a number of famous ships in it's fleet.  In 1939, The St. Louis, named for the French saint, not the city,   had a passenger list made up almost entirely of Jewish refugees.  After being denied entry into Cuba, the United States and finally Canada, it's captain refused to return the ship to German ports until he had found nations willing to accept his passengers.  Eventually he manged to get entry visas in a number of  European countries.   All except  England would be over run by the Nazis just a few years latter.

A far less famous ship, but one with an interesting history was The Amerika.  It first saw headlines in 1912.  While making a crossing from Hamburg to New York, it encountered heavy pack ice.  Its captain ordered his ship to come to a full stop, and also ordered a general advisory broadcast on the new Marconi wireless system.  With one exception, the Titanic, ship captains in the area either ordered a halt or slowed their ships to a crawl until daybreak. In 1914, The Amerka was at company docks in Boston when war was declared between Germany and Great Britain.  Realizing that it would be almost impossible for the ship to get back to its home port without being either captured or sunk, The Hamburg-America Line ordered the ship to stay in port.  When the United States entered the war, The Amerika was still in Boston and was immediately seized by the United States Shipping Board for use as a troop transport.  During the war, with its name Anglicised to The America, it carried troops to Europe as part of the navy.  After the war it brought them home as part of the army.  Returned to the U.S. Shipping board, in 1920, it was assigned to The United States Mail Steamship Company and after that companies demise, it was transferred to the United States Lines.  The America was a passenger liner on the north Atlantic run until 1931, when it was decommissioned and placed in mothballs.  With American entry into World War 2, it returned to service as a troop transport for the army with a new name,  The Edmund B. Alexander.  The ship survived the war undamaged, and continued in service ferrying troops,  and their dependents home, until 1949.  Returned to mothballs, it was scrapped in 1957.  I'm sure that the ship's designer saw his handiwork as an elegant and comfortable  way for passengers with a certain amount of money to get from Europe to the United States and back  Instead, his ship spent a large part of its life as a troop transport, dodging torpedoes in the north Atlantic.

Now, take one last look at this postcard.  In 1945, Nagasaki became the second city  (so far) to be destroyed be an atomic weapon.  Old photographs and postcards are a way of seeing a world that has disappeared or, sadly, been destroyed by one of the many wars of the past 100 years.  I don't think we're an admirable species.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Grace Arrives Safely

Postmarked, "NORFOLK, VA MAY 11, 12:30 PM 1931"  Addressed to "Mrs. Mattie Richardson, 4 Judson St., Haverhill, Mass."  And the message, "Mon. 7-45 A.M.  Dear Sister & Barbara, Just arriving at Norfolk.  Have had a nice trip.  A little rough & foggy.  Have been able to eat 3 meals a day which is more than most can say.  Grace"  Sounds like an adventure.

The Merchants & Miners Transportation Company was founded in 1852 providing passenger service between Boston and Baltimore.  Eventually, it would push routes south, beginning service to Miami in the twentieth century.  In 1926, the company bought three sister ships from the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company.  I've found a photograph, on the net,  of the particular ship design and it matches the illustration at the top of the card.  The Fairfax, The Chatham, and The Dorchester were used for the Florida run, they carried 314 passengers and 90 crew.  A few automobiles could be carried in the ship's hold for an extra charge.

With American entry into World War 2, the entire fleet of the Merchants & Miners was taken for use as troop transports by the U.S. Army.  The Fairfax survived the war, and after the war's end was sold to a Chinese company and  renamed the Chung Hsing.  The Chatham was torpedoed and sunk of Belle Isle Point, South Carolina,  in 1942.   It was the sinking of The Dorchester that made the news.  On the night of February 3, 1942, the ship was hit by a German torpedo 100 miles from Nassarssauk, Greenland. 675 people out of 906 on board died.

Among the dead were four army chaplains, Father John Washington (Catholic), Reverend Clark Poling (Dutch Reformed), Rabbi Alexander Goode (Jewish) and Rev. George Fox (Methodist).  The four chaplains gave up their life vests to others, and linked arms as the ship slid beneath the surface.  The captain also died.

After the war, the company didn't have enough capital to buy back or replace lost ships.  In 1948 they began liquidating assets and went out of business in 1952, 100 years after the founding of the company.

Because this card is a half tone, lots of little dots, I was unable to get a usable scan with out using the de-screen setting on the scanner.  That's why the images are a bit out of focus.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Little Gerhard In New York

As a rule I don't like to publish the backs of postcards, but my German is just too week to try and translate this message myself.  Limited to one term in college, almost forty years ago, I can make out Dear Mother and Dear Father, something left behind in Hamburg(?), the Zeppelin seen flying over New York.  If any actual German speakers would like to leave a reliable translation in the comments section, have at it.

I was able to find Gerhard Hansen's obituary in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.  He was born September 30, 1921 in Flensburg, Germany.  His parents were Hans and Frieda Hansen.  He arrived in the United States when he was five years old, so 1926 or 1927.   He would have been fourteen when he sent this postcard to his parents in Wickliffe, Ohio.  After his military service, presumably in World War 2, he became a math teacher, married and fathered several children.  He died on May 10, 2011.

Scant information on a life that lasted 89 years.  I'd love to know why Hans and Frieda took their young son to the United States in the mid twenties.  After World War 1, Germany went through a period of economic disruption, including a period of hyper-inflation.  And of course,  that led to the rise of a number of fringe political parties including the Nazi party.  Were Hans and Frieda just looking for a better life, or were they political and saw the hand writing on the wall, and got out while it was still possible?  Perhaps they were right wingers who flirted with the German American Bund.  I'd love to know.  And what about Gerhard himself?  Had he made a visit back to Germany? Was he returning through New York?  If so, was he happy to be back in the USA, or did he long for the Germany of his early childhood?  And what about his military service? As a German speaker, he could have been in military intelligence, translating documents and interrogating prisoners, or he could have been just another grunt.  I'd love to know.

The RMS Queen Mary made her first voyage in 1936, the year this post card was mailed.  She was built at the John Brown & Company ship yard in Clydebank, Scotland.  Her first captain was Edgar Britten, seen on the  card.  Her owners were The Cunard White Star Line.  In 1940, The Queen Mary was requisitioned by the British government for use as a troop transport.  She was returned to her owners in 1946, and resumed the north Atlantic run in 1947.  By the late 1950s, few people were using ocean liners to cross the Atlantic. Jet airliners had become the favored means of travel between the United States and Europe.  The Queen Mary's last voyage was in 1967.  Put up for sale, the city of Long Beach, California outbid a scrap yard.  The ship has been used as a floating hotel and tourist attraction ever since.  In her final few years of service, the crew would often out number the passengers.

Interesting story about how the Queen Mary got it's name.  The ship's owners wanted to name it the Victoria.  As a courtesy, they approached King George V to ask his permission.  "Your majesty, we'd like your permission to name our newest liner after England's greatest queen."  "My wife," he replied, "would be delighted."   I have no idea whether the story is true or not, but it's a good one.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lloyd Fisher

This one's from the grab bag of photos, a sealed envelope of 100 + photos that I picked up a few months ago.  It's also the first of a series of nautically themed posts.  Other than a name, "Lloyd Fisher," there's nothing written on the back of the photo.  Below decks, is Lloyd in the navy or the merchant marine?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

In The Field

File this one under mystery locale.  Had it been taken in the United States, I would think, any field maneuvers would have been on an army base and the local population would have been kept apart from the soldiers.  So where was it shot?  Central America, the Caribbean,  the south Pacific?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Bikes From the Early Days of the New Found Photography

It's time for another visit to the lightly visited early days of The New Found Photography.  So why this image?  Very simple, I went out on my bike this morning and was hit by a car.  I spent a rather unpleasant day at a local hospital and got some good news.  It's going to hurt, a lot, and I'm going to be pretty stiff for a week or so, but nothing broken, nothing torn, nothing permanent.  Except for the bike.

So drivers....You can't loop around a cyclist and make a sharp right turn right in front of them.  You can't make a sharp  left turn in front of a cyclist.  That's what happened to me.  A driver got an opening in traffic and scooted through the gap, and that's where I was.  Drivers, you need to give at least two feet to a cyclist, better yet three, when passing.  Please, don't kill a cyclist.  It's not nice.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Wizard of Menlo Park

The guy on the left looks a little like Thomas Edison.  I doubt it's him, but I'll bet he scammed a few beers on the resemblance.

Friday, July 6, 2012

France, 1940

Written on the back, "Aout 1940 au Bosquet Ales"  Translated from French, "August 1940, the grove, Ales."  Ales is a town in the Languedoc-Roussillion region of southern France.

One of the things I've learned is that life goes on. By August 1940 France had been conquered by the Germans.  The country had been divided between the occupied north, including Paris, and free France in the south, a fascist dominated government more concerned with pleasing Nazi Germany than the welfare of it's own citizens.  Despite that, there was time for these two ladies to stroll in a garden and pose for a picture.  Life goes on.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


I love this image.  It's from a time when powered flight was still a dangerous and mysterious thing.

At Home and On Occupation

There's a famous story.  Douglas MacArthur,  newly appointed military governor of Japan, arrives at his post, sees the devastation and sends a telegram to President Harry Truman:  "Send food or send guns."

As we've found in the last decade, winning the war is one thing, winning the peace another.  After World War 2,  the United States, Great Britain, and France took an enlightened approach to winning the peace.  First, there was the deNazification program.  While the out right war criminals and major government figures found themselves in the dock, we decided that the minor officials, cultural figures, teachers, and members of the working classes, no matter how enthusiastic they were in their party activities, were dupes, and were allowed to go on with their lives.  And then there was the Marshall Plan, America's commitment to rebuild Europe, no matter the cost.  Any threat of a resistance movement ended, and our post war occupation went smoothly.

The occupation of Germany began right after the war.  Germany was originally divided into four zones of occupation.  The Soviet, British, French and American zones of occupation.  In 1947, the British and American zones were merged, quickly followed by a merger with the French zone.  In 1949, the first post war German government was formed, and the military governors were replaced with a Civilian High Commissioner.  Technically, the Commissioner had governance powers and could over rule the new German parliament, but, by and large, the Germans were allowed to run their own affairs.  On May 5, 1955, the occupation of Germany officially ended.  There are still American military bases in Germany.  

The first four pictures in the column are not labeled in any way, but appear to show our subject through his military training.  The fifth photograph is labeled, "Camp Kilmer, N. J. April 1951."  Camp Kilmer, named for the poet killed in World War 1, was never used as a training camp, but as a mustering point for troops being shipped from the port of New York to Europe.  It opened in June 1942, and closed in the 1990s.  Note that our subject is standing by a car with a Tennessee license plate. Could be coincidence, or could be his home state. The next picture, "Tompkins Barracks, April 1952, Swetzingen, Germany."  This is a misspelling.  Tompkins barracks is outside the town of Schwetzingen, and is scheduled to close in 2015.  The color photo is labeled, Fike Park in Wiesbaden, Germany."  It's also stamped, "THIS IS A KODACOLOR PRINT MADE BY EASTMAN KODAK COMPANY T.M. REGIS. U. S. PAT. OFF. Week of June 2, 1952."  Was their a photo lab on base for the troops?  Too, I think Fike Park might be mislabeled.  I've run a search for public parks in Wiesbaden, and nothing by that name came up.  And the last picture, "Wurzburg-Germany  Bahnhof-train station.  July 3, 1952."  I  wish there were some people's names listed. It's nice to have place names and dates, but being able to identify a person by name is always special.

I wonder what was going through the mind of this soldier.  Was he living the great adventure of his life, using his leave time to explore Europe?  Did he take trips to Paris, the Alps, Berlin, Basel, Switzerland?  (Go back  one post to see a ticket stub from the tramways of Basel sold to American service men on leave.)  Did he learn German or French? Or did he stay close to base, home sick, just putting in time until the end of his service, and a ship's berth back home?  I hope he saw it as an adventure and not a duty to be endured.

The American zone of occupation included Bavaria, Bremen, Hesse, and Wurtemberg-Baden.