Monday, October 29, 2012

Road Trip!

I hate driving in cities, but I love road trips, and this picture looks to have been from a great one.  I put my best magnifying glass on the cars license plate and it's from Pennsylvania in 1928.  And where did she go; Watkins Glen in New York, on Seneca lake in the finger lakes district.  Au Sable, New York on the Au Sable River, near Lake Champlain.  And on Lake Champlain, Rouses Point, a mile south of the Canadian border and during prohibition a great place to meet alcohol smugglers from Canada.  And of course, everyone should know about Montreal and Toronto.  I imagine this lady and her travelling companion(s) circled Lake Ontario, returning through Niagara Falls.  So, Watkins Glen State Park, the Adirondacks, beautiful lakes, smuggled Canadian whiskey,  French speakers, and shredded wheat.  (Shredded wheat is made in Niagara Falls, New York.)  And with no four lane highways, and probably more than a few miles on dirt routes, it must have taken at least a month.  Now that's a trip.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The North Texas State Normal College Album 8

It lacks a bit in execution, but I love the picture of the girls.  And it looks like moving day.  Click on NTSNC in the labels section to bring up the whole collection.

The North Texas State Normal College Album 7

More from the North Texas State Normal College photo album.  The airplane, a true symbol of 20th century modernity makes it's return, along side a one room school house, a true symbol of  19th century rural America.  Click on NTSNC in the labels section to see the whole collection.

Friday, October 26, 2012

More From the Brewers

More from the Brewers of Ohio.  This is the third postcard I've found from this traveling family.  This one is addressed to "F.A. Brewer, 623 N. St. Clair, Painsville, Ohio"  I've managed to confirm that F.A. Brewer is Frank A. Brewer, born in Painsville, Ohio on May 30, 1891.  There were quite a few Brewers born at about the same time.  But who sent this postcard?  The message, "Feeling fine.  Had good milk. Children good, not tired, getting in Chicago.  Will write soon.  C.B."  And added latter, "10 P.M. getting on train in Chicago."  Not exactly florid prose.  C.B. could be Frank's sister Carrie  or perhaps Frank's wife.  Impossible to tell.  The card was postmarked "CHICAGO ILL OCT 9 1928"  If C.B. and the kids were on their way to Painsville, did they beat the postcard?

Click on Brewer in the labels section to bring up the other cards.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Bold Portrait

It's always tricky trying to read personality into an old photograph.  For all I know this woman was shy, retiring, and looked at the floor when talking to someone.  But when I look at this picture I see confidence, a keep up with me if you can look.  As has been noted on many a vintage photo blog, we'll never know.  

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Older Women

Two more from the packet of studio portraits I've been posting.  Unlike the last two entries, these haven't been cut from a photo album.  Montgomery's, written on the bottom of the two images, is probably a photographers name but there's no way to be sure.

Friday, October 19, 2012

More Destroyed Photo Albums

I'm not 100% certain, but my guess is that this album fragment was cut from the same source as the last post.   I wish that the parade picture hadn't been destroyed.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Destroying Photo Albums

Every so often, I feel the need to complain about the wanton destruction of photo albums and the breaking up of collections by antique dealers.   I understand that they're trying to increase their profits by selling individual images, but come on, there's history to think about.  It's true that the average person thinks of war, elections, and famous people when they hear the word history,  but there is a whole other historical past out there; the past of the ordinary, they way people lived, the day by day that's every bit as important as who won the election of  1884.

The dealer who sold me these images, as well as some others that may or may not have come from the same source, saw the two studio portraits as his profit.  When those photos wouldn't pull off the page, out came the razor blade and goodbye photo album.  Now, I admit that they are lovely images, but when I turned them over...all I could think of  was how much more interesting they would have been if I could have put her life into some sort of context.  And if the dealer hadn't cut things up, I might have been able to do that.  The funny thing is, I bought these two photos plus five other images in an envelope, for five dollars.  I would have paid more for a single page of the album, with both sides intact, and even more for the whole album.

Embossed on the second photo, "BAUGH WINFIELD, KANS"  I couldn't find anything about the photographer.  Winfield, Kansas is a town in southern Kansas, current population, 12,000+.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cycling In 1955

The focus on this photo, dated "1955" is a bit shaky, but I love the old style bike,  the price was right, so I had to have it.

I got my first bicycle ten years after this picture was taken.  I desperately wanted a Schwinn.  My father, who always had an eye for a bargain,  got me a very heavy, chromed behemoth of a Huffy instead.  The house we lived in had a basement garage that was kept open all summer to help with the heat.  One day, someone walked through the open garage door, into the basement and took the Huffy.  My parents were very, very angry.  But they weren't angry with the thief.  They were angry with me.  A couple of months after the Huffy was stolen, my father showed up on one of his occasional visits, climbed into the back of his pickup truck and tossed out an old, used bike as a replacement.  It was an English made Raleigh, far lighter than the Huffy,  with a three speed Sturmy-Archer hub.

I grew up in a river valley in western Pennsylvania, and the Huffy was far too heavy to get up the hill and out of town.  The Raleigh, lighter and with gears,  didn't have that problem.  I've been an avid cyclist ever since.  The best bike isn't the newest or shiniest, it's that one that's ridden.  The Huffy, because of it's weight, had a tendency to stay in the basement, the Raleigh,  well worn, was always on the go.  I even rode it in winter, in the snow.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The North Texas State Normal College Album 6

Love the cow.  Why is that man sneaking up behind the woman?  Click on NTSNC in the labels section to bring up the whole collection.

The North Texas State Normal College Album 5

The end of World War 1 put a lot of planes on the market, and many of those planes were bought by out of work vets who made a living putting on air shows and giving rides to anyone with a few dollars in their pocket.  I like the ladies weird hairdo.  Click on NTSNC in the labels section to bring up the whole collection.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Poor Fisherman's Luck

The last of my super cheap, cheesy stereo cards.  I'm not quite sure what to make of this one.  I'm sure it must be a battle of the sexes thing.  But did they catch their man, or are they throwing him back?  Of course there's a third interpretation.  They're dumping the body.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Aerial Photography

Yet another poorly made, no name stereo card.  This one commemorating aerial photography in World War 1.  Aviation in what was once called the Great war didn't begin with life and death dogfights.  The first military aviators were spotters, gathering information on troop movements.  They were successful enough that shooting them down became a military necessity.  And so was born the dogfight, the synchronized machine gun and eventually the bombing raid.  I always knew that photography could be dangerous.

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Girl From the Golden West

This one is a bit interesting.  The card isn't well made and there are no company names or logos on the back.  It also looks to be a movie tie in.  In 1915, Cecil B. DeMille directed a movie called The Girl of the Golden West.  Close to the title of this card, but just a bit off.  The star of the film was Mabel Van Buren, and the woman on this card looks a lot like her.  Most people think that the movies ended up in Los Angeles because of all the sunny weather.  I'm sure that helped, but the reality is a bit more shady.  Inventor Thomas Edison, the patent holder for early motion picture equipment insisted on being paid for every foot of movie film shot, processed or projected.  To enforce those patents, he hired a goon squad who busted up the film productions that weren't in compliance.  The movies ended up in Hollywood because it was far away form Edison's strong hold in New Jersey.  I like the idea that some low end stereoview company was ripping off Cecil B. DeMille; that they left their company name off the back of the card to make it difficult for DeMille's agents to find them.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Army Ball

The playoffs have started, and once again my Pittsburgh Pirates are on the outside looking in.  In the American League I'm rooting for the Oakland A's.  I like the idea of a World Series champ that's also the team with the second lowest payroll in the game.  In the National League, I'm sort of pulling for the St. Louis Cardinals.  The Pirates may never be a contender because of free agency.  The Cards lost their best player, Albert Pujols, to the far richer Los Angeles Angel, and  it would give me hope if the Cards could get another championship.  I'm torn about the Washington Nationals.  On one hand, I wouldn't mind seeing them win it all because the team has never won anything.  On the other hand, I liked them when they were the Montreal Expos and I hated to see them leave Canada.

No date, names, or location on the photograph, but the third baseman looks to be in a military uniform, so it's another bored soldiers having  fun picture.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

War Is Dull

Watch a war movie and you'd think World War 2 was non stop hell.  The reality was that most members of the military were support personnel and for them the conflict was more boredom than terror.   My father was a ninth grade drop out who could do complex mathematical computations in his head.  That skill got him four years in a darkened room breaking codes.  He was stationed in England so he was able to get out and about, but he still spent  most of his time on base.  In the Pacific, the island campaigns were about capturing islands with airfields.  The marines would land, fight for a few days, a few weeks, or a few months.  After  the island was taken, the air corp would move in.  For the air crews, there were missions over Japan.  For the ground crew, it was servicing the planes and waiting for the war to end.  If they were lucky a USO show might come through.  If not, they had to amuse themselves.  It looks like these guys decided to put on a show, and in the all male environment of a Pacific island air base, someone had to play the girl.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Another Brewer Postcard

On September 6,  I published a postcard written by Frank Brewer while he was at Camp Gordon, probably during World War 1.  Like the earlier postcard, this card isn't stamped or  addressed but does  have a  written message. So, each may have been sent in an envelope.   Signed "Brewer" the hand writing on this card seems similar but has enough differences that it might have been written by a different Brewer family member.  Too, the earlier card was full of misspellings, and this one isn't.

The message,

"Dear Friend,

 I am going to make a move in a day or so.  Over to the gulf coast somewhere.  Will let you know my new address when I get there.

This place is fine but I want to look around some.

As ever,


If nothing else, the Brewers get around.  Click on Brewer in the labels section to see both postcards.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Thinking Of Snow

It was 105 today (In Los Angeles.) and I'm tired of the heat.  I'd love to play in the snow.  Dated 1932.