Thursday, November 29, 2012
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
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
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
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 digitallibrary.usc.edu/search/controller/collection/kda-m7.html, 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
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.
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.
Monday, November 19, 2012
I went over 80,000 page views a couple of days ago and thought it was a good time to revisit some images from the early days of The New Found Photography. Nothing was written on any of these, but I was able to date them from the midget show visible in the background of the second photo. A bit of digging and I was able to place it at the 1939 New York World's Fair. Click on Worlds Fair in the labels section to bring up the original post if curious. And yes, I bought these photos because the lady is good looking. Hey, I've bought things for worse reasons.
Friday, November 16, 2012
The streak is probably a light leak in the camera. Hey, I used to work in a photo lab and I notice these things. What can I say. A group of bathers hanging out on an upturned boat. Probably from the twenties. I don't know why I equate the sea wall with Europe, but I do. Are these people part of Gertrude Stein's lost generation, living in Europe, running from the wall street, and the roaring twenties?
Thursday, November 15, 2012
I didn't buy this photograph for the people. I bought it for the background. The posters are a wonderful bit of history. Right behind the people are advertisements for a Dwight L. Elmendorf lecture, and a People's Symphony Concert. To the left, a benefit for German and Austro-Hungarian prisoners of war in Siberia. To the right the New York Symphony Orchestra.
I found a lot of info about Dwight L. Elmendorf on line, but no actual biography. But are all those bits and pieces about the same man? The earliest mention of that name was linked to the murder of Maximilian Eglau, an artist and teacher at the Institution for the Improved Instruction of Deaf-Mutes in New York. A Dwight L. Elmendorf was the last known person to see Eglau alive. He also provided an alibi for the Fitzgerald brothers, the prime suspects. Dwight, also an instructor at the school, was dismissed from his position under cloudy circumstances. That was in 1896. Jump ahead to the Spanish-American war were Dwight L. Elmendorf was a photo-journalist. And then from the early part of the twentieth century through the 1920s Dwight L. Elmendorf made his living as a travel writer and lecturer. I would say it's a good guess that Dwight the photo-journalist and Dwight the travel writer were one and the same, but Dwight the teacher of the deaf?
The People's Symphony Concert Series started in New York in 1900. But it wasn't an uptown, for the upper crust,sort of thing. The whole idea of the People's Concerts was to bring classical music to young people and workers. The People's Symphony is still in business. As a matter of fact, if you've got $37 to spare and can get to Washington Irving High School in New York City, you can buy tickets right now. I don't know whether they're still trying to sell tickets to factory workers, but they're still going after the young.
The New York Symphony poster advertises an appearance by opera singer Alma Gluck. That was a name that jumped out at me. Gluck was born Reba Feinsohn in Bucharest, Romania, but emigrated to the United States, with her family, at an early age. She became one of the best known operatic sopranos of her age. I have some 12 inch, one sided, 78 rpm records she made in my collection. Listen to the Mockingbird, and Carry Me Back to Old Virginey, the first million selling recording in history. She was married to concert violinist, Efrem Zimbalist, Sr., and the mother of actor, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. She retired in 1925.
The poster that really fascinates me is the benefit poster for war prisoners, sponsored by the Austrian Society of New York City, with a performance date of Monday, October 30. It's obviously from World War 1, and by checking a calendar I was able to date it to 1916. The United States entered the war in April of 1917, and since Germany and Austria-Hungary became our enemies...well, I doubt there were too many benefits for enemy prisoners after that.
One of the listed performers was Ernestine Schumann-Heink. Schumann-Heink was born in Austria, which explains her willingness to lend her services. She became a citizen before the war, in 1905, and spent April 1917 to the end of the war giving free concerts to American troops. When she died in 1936, Schumann-Heink was buried with full military honors. She spent the last years of her life at her farm in San Diego County, but died in Hollywood.
And finally, the posters look like they're all from Carnegie Hall, so we even have a location.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
When I look at these three photos I assume that the men are doctors and the women are nurses. That's not necessarily true. American medical schools have been graduating women, in much smaller numbers than today, since the nineteenth century. I'm not 100% sure, but I think the tall building in the bottom picture is New York Presbyterian Hospital.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
I've said it before and I'm saying it again. Americans are too patriotic. It's far too easy to stampede us into stupid, pointless conflicts. Don't get me wrong. I'm not a pacifist. Give me a reason to fight that makes sense and I'll support war. World War 2 being a good example. But, the fact is that many of our wars have been in the foolish category. Vietnam, Grenada, the second Iraq War, to name a few from my lifetime, were nothing more than a waste of money and lives. That doesn't mean we should be callous towards our veterans. That means, in the future, we shouldn't send so many of them to die for no real reason.
The title of the post is what's written on the back. The 31st infantry was formed at Fort McKinley in the Philippines and has the distinction of spending more time in overseas postings than in the United States. Postings include the Philippines, Siberia, China, Korea and Vietnam.
Friday, November 9, 2012
Winter is coming and it's time to think about winter sports. Why is it that only one person acknowledges the camera? Are the others just unaware or are they too hip to smile and say cheese? I'm guessing hip detachment, and the lady mugging for the camera is the only fun one of the lot.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Yet another linen postcard of downtown Los Angeles. Take a close look at the the very tall building, the Los Angeles City Hall. The original photograph was in black & white and it looks like it had some separation problems. The tower is white and against a sunny sky, white objects in black & white photos have a tendency to merge into the background. One way to solve that problem is to draw in an edge line. Click on the image to bring it up in a larger window and it's obvious that the person who added color to the image also drew a black line around the building.
The Los Angeles City Hall was designed by John Parkinson, (The designer of the Rosslyn Hotel from the previous post.) Albert C. Martin, and John C. Austin. It opened in 1928 and at the time, at 32 floors and 457 feet, was the tallest building in L.A. Until the late 1950's the L.A. City Charter limited building to 150 feet, excluding decorative towers. City Hall was the tallest building in the city until 1964. Today, the 73 story U.S. Bank Tower, at 1018 feet, is the tallest building in Los Angeles City, Los Angeles County, and the state of California.
The message on the back, "Well, here journey's end where to go from here? Arrived here 7:00 A.M. Wed. still raring to go, don't want to stop anyplace. Spent a day in Frisco, had to leave, too cold. George" Mailed to "Bob R. Sudnick, 52 Piquette St., Detroit, Michigan" And the postmark, "10 LOS ANGELES CALIF, AUG 6 12 P.M. 1941"
What a date. The middle of 1941 meant one thing to American men and women. The last few months of peace before Pearl Harbor. George was enjoying his trip. Who knows. It might have been his first chance to travel. Six months latter and he was probably off to a military base and then Europe or the south Pacific. When I read the messages on these old postcards I always wonder if the writer survived the next five years.
Monday, November 5, 2012
I went back and forth about this postcard. I try and limit things on The New Found Photography to actual photographs or images based on photos. At first I couldn't make up my mind. Was this postcard a drawing or was it a hand colored and heavily manipulated photograph converted to a card. In the end, after looking close with my best magnifying glass, I decided that all the fine detail that can be seen on the building's facades indicated photo, so here it is.
Finding the history of The Hotel Rosslyn was a bit tougher than I expected. In separate articles, I found dates of 1911, 1912, and 1913 for the main building's opening. 1913 was the only date that I could find that was mentioned multiple times, so I'm going with '13. The annex opened in 1923. (At least there was agreement on that date.) I also found mention of an addition that burned down in the early 1940's. Both the main building and the annex were designed by architect John Parkinson.
When the Rosslyn was built, Fifth and Main was the financial center of Los Angeles. After World War 2, the banking and business hub of downtown L.A. moved west and north and the former banking district slowly went into decline and eventually became a haven for the down and outers, drunks, and drug users, prostitutes, hustlers, and petty criminals. In 1959, the main hotel closed. It reopened in 1979 with a different name, The Frontier, but the new owners either couldn't afford,or didn't care enough, to change the outside signs. A good thing, since one of the great things about both buildings are the large roof top neon signs. Watch enough television, and some cop show will have a fight scene on the roof, with the sign framework in the background. It must have been confusing having a Frontier Hotel signed Hotel Rosslyn right across the street from the actual Hotel Rosslyn, that was originally the Hotel Rosslyn Annex.
This card was postmarked "LONG BEACH, CALIF, FEB 4, 1:30 PM, 1935" Judging by the message, the Rosslyn's decline was still in the future. "Dear Donna, This is where mother and Esther stayed last night. We have the grandest time here. Love, Mother." Addressed to, "Donna Wilson, 2946 Russell Ave. No., Minneapolis, Minn." And somehow or another it made it's way back to L.A.
And now for my own remembrance of the Rosslyn. When I was in my mid twenties, and first arrived in Los Angeles, I spent a couple of nights at the hotel. It was an experience. I can remember getting out of bed when I heard a lady weeping in the hallway outside my room. I took a quick look and saw a woman leaning against the wall, shabbily dressed, with a platinum blond wig, crying. A few hours latter, another woman knocked on my door and asked if I wanted to party. And she'd only charge me twenty bucks! The second night of my stay, water started coming through the ceiling. I found out, the next morning, that my upstairs neighbor had died of a drug overdose while filling the bathtub. Two nights were enough for me.
Today the main building has been converted into lofts. Micro lofts starting at $789 per month. The annex is still a hotel.
Saturday, November 3, 2012
Find an old photograph with nothing written on it and it's only natural to wonder who they are, what were their names, where did they live. Sometimes, the question is what were they? My first thought was doctors and nurses, but then I began to wonder. Waiters and waitresses? Scientists? Butchers, bakers, candle stick makers? One thing's for sure. They liked dogs.