Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ted Fio-Rito

Two dates. I'm impressed.  It must have been the uniform.

It's been awhile since I've posted one of these souvenir photo folders.  Unlike the others I have, this one is more about the artist, rather than the venue.  Ted Fio-Rito was born in 1900 in Newark, New Jersey as Teodorico Salvatore Fiorito and had his first job as a professional musician in 1919 for the Columbia recording studios in New York City as a keyboardist.  He would work with a number of bands and also began composing.  In 1921 he moved to Chicago and joined the Dan Russo Orchestra.  A year latter, he was the co-leader of  Russo and Fio-Rito's Oriole Orchestra.  In 1924, they became the house band of Chicago's Edgewater Beach Hotel.  Russo left in 1928, and the band would eventually be known as Ted Fio-Rito and his Orchestra.  In the 1930s, Fio-Rito was a major presence on American radio.  In 1934, he had two number one hits.  My Little Grass Shack in Kealakekua, Hawaii, and I'll String Along With You.  By the 1940s, the group had lost a lot of it's popularity but still did well enough to stay in business.  Eventually, Fio-Rito would abandon the big band for small combos, and had a second bout of success in Las Vegas.  He died in 1971.  There is a lot more info on Fio-Rito out there, for anyone willing to comb the web, including some YouTube videos.  And if you're like me and own a 78 rpm turntable, with a bit of effort, one can find plenty of recordings.  I own a couple.

The Sacramento Memorial Auditorium opened in 1927 and is still going strong.  It's on the National Registry of Historical Places.

Printed on the back of the folder,  "Additional prints are $1.25 each.  Address: Capital Enterprises,  Photographic Dept., 921 K Street, Sacramento, 14 Calif.

Describe picture thoroughly, mentioning number of people in photo, all points of identification possible and date or name of Band featured."

I'll bet a lot of people had trouble getting their prints without some sort of number.  Dated "DEC 16, 1944"

Click on night clubs or souvenir photo in the labels section to bring up a number of other photos, including one from The Edgewater Beach Hotel.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Nurses of 1954

Interesting story in last Sunday's Los Angeles Times.  A woman goes into a Long Beach hospital for a CT scan of her abdomen and pelvis.  The bill, $6,707.  Her insurance company pays $4,371, leaving her on the hook for $2,336.  Good deal?  Had she paid cash, and not involved her insurance company, the total bill would have been $1,054.  So, if you're lucky enough to have health insurance, (I don't.) but unlucky enough to have a high deductible, ask about paying cash.  It may be cheaper.

Written on the back of the top photo, "Surgery staff, Feb. 1954."  On the second picture, "Spring 1954 Nursery SJGH, Frances Albee, Norma, Mrs. Juanitas."  Picked these up in California, so best guess, San Jose General Hospital.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Shipping Out

"Well mama I am leaving this camp to day which are Mon. 5 1918.  I am sent to a ship. but mama dont you worry about me.  I will write when ever I can.  I aint got time to write but a few words four I have got to go now so good by mother and all the rest.  W. M. Davis"

Adressed to "Mrs. Fannie Davis, Buffalo Junction Va.  R.F.D. #1"

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Two Views of the Point

As anyone from Pittsburgh, PA can tell you, the point is where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers come together to form the Ohio River.  These two views of the point are quiet a few years apart.  The top image shows the original Point Bridge.  It opened in 1877, crossed the Monongahela and connected the south side with downtown.  In 1927, the second Point Bridge was built right beside the original, which was dismantled after it's replacement opened.  In 1959, it happened again, but this time the new bridge was named the Fort Pitt Bridge, which can be seen on the right of the second image.   The first and second bridges ended in an industrial area, but now, the point area is a state park.  The land was taken, using eminent domain, in the fifties, but the park wasn't completed until the point fountain was completed in 1974.

The top card is postmarked, "PITTSBURG, PA SEPT. 25  7:30 P.M. 1908" and addressed to Mrs. W. W. Van Cleve, 289 So-18th-St, Newark, N.J."  And yes, Pittsburg is correct.  For some odd reason, the "H" was dropped for a number of years from the city name.

The second card isn't a very good picture, it's damaged, and looks as if someone stepped on it.  I bought it because I really liked the message on the back.  "Hi Jim!  Arrived here Nov. 23, 1954 and have been enjoying this wonderful metropolis and it's inhabitants ever since. Maybe you'll come see me sometime.  I think I'm going to stay here for awhile.  Latter, Eileen."  It's addressed to "Jimmy Daschbach, 1315 Wood St., Pgh., PA 15221"  So, the Point State Park Fountain can be seen in the photo, so Eileen has been in the city for at least twenty years, and is sending a card to Jimmy, also living in Pittsburgh, like he's some sort of distant friend.  I've always thought that a middle aged Eileen was trying to set something up with Jimmy.  And now that I'm well into my fifties, I like the idea of a tryst between a couple of aging Pittsburghers.  It gives me hope.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Roy at the Piano

Well, that's what is says on the card and I'm going with it.  Is it just me, or does this guy look like Derek Jeter?

Friday, May 18, 2012

How Green Are We

Expressed as  grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per passenger kilometer traveled (What ever that means) a bicycle's carbon footprint is rated at 21, an electric bike, 22, a bus 101, and an automobile 271.  So, get out the bike, get it all tuned up, put on the helmet (If so inclined.) and shave those legs (If so inclined) and hit the road.  Figures from the European Cyclists Union.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Eva, Frank, and Frances Engle

Without a date or location, it's impossible to dig up any information on a name like Engle.  It's just not rare enough.  What's interesting is that little Frances is bigger than her mother, but is still dressed as an infant.  Common practice when this picture was taken, or just a very weird family?  Maybe Frances was a very, very big girl.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Allright, we've a got a couple of medical types, and seven other men in some sort of uniform.  They might be soldiers, convicts or staff.  I like to think they're lunatics at an asylum.  I've had a few of those in my family.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Nurses and Nazis

Well, there is a certain amount of guess work on this one, so if anyone wants to make a correction, feel free to leave a comment.

This photo was printed on Agfa Lupex paper, manufactured with an identifying logo, in Germany, from 1935 through the end of the war.  With it's German origins, I decided to start a search of web sites, looking for images of German uniforms, from the period.  And did those Germans love their uniforms!  It seems that everyone from school children to politicians were in some sort of outfit with brass buttons, epaulets and braid.  My best guess is that the two men in this image are wearing SS uniforms.  The man with the soup spoon, the general field uniform of the Waffen-SS, and the other man in the Waffen -SS uniform of the protection squad.  Since the SS had it's own hospitals, it would make sense that these two men, even though they would be from different units, would be at the same place, hanging out with the pretty nurses.

The SS was formed in 1920 as the saal-schutz, as hall protection.  Basically, they protected speakers from attack at party meetings, and beat the crap out of any hecklers that might show up.   Under the command of Heinrich Himmler from 1929-1945, the organization became the Schutzstaffel, the protection squad or defence corps,  providing security for party meetings and personnel.. During the war, the SS fielded military divisions, fighting along side the regular army, but not under it's command.  And of course, the SS had responsibility for carrying out the final solution.  For those who don't know what that means, the final solution was the  elimination of Jews and other threats to race purity.  It's quite possible that the two men in this photograph are war criminals, a nice phrase for genocidal mass murderer.

The famous black uniform with the death's head logo, often seen in movies, was the uniform of the Allgemeine-SS, the political arm of the group.  The SS, unlike the SA, and the regular military, took an oath of allegiance to Hitler, rather than to the German state.  A sorry example of humanity.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Mother's Day Proclamation

Arise, then, women of this day!

Arise, all women who have hearts, Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!

Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies, Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.  Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.  We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own.  It says: "Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."  Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war, Let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great an earnest day of counsel.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.  Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means Whereby the human family can live in peace, Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, But of God.

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask That a general congress of woman without limit of nationality May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient And at the earliest period consistent with its objects, To promote the alliance of the different nationalities, The amicable settlement of international questions,

The great and general interests of peace.

Julia Ward Howe, today, is best remembered as the lyricist of The Battle Hymn of the Republic.  Howe, an abolitionist, after the Civil War, embraced the women's suffrage movement and pacifism.  In 1870 in reaction to the carnage of the Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War, she suggested that June second should be commemorated as an international Mother's Day.  But not, as a day to honor motherhood but as a day when the mothers of the world would gather together and work for an end to war.  She also wrote The Mother's Day Proclamation to publicize her movement.  The modern version of Mother's Day, was proposed by Anna Jarvis in 1908.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Apprentice

No, not the TV show hosted by America's first narcissist, Donald Trump.

When I was in junior high, the entire seventh grade class (There was only about forty of us.) were forced on  buses for a field trip to Lenape Tech.  Lenape was a county run, trades high school.  The morning sessions were devoted to all the usual classes, math, history, English, while the afternoons were devoted to learning a trade.  I remember that we were divided by sex.  The boys were shown the auto shop, welding, television repair lab, while the girls were taken to the beauty and cooking classes.  I don't know what would have happened if one of the boys had asked about being a hair dresser or one of the girls had wanted to take a run at a welding career.  Oh, how things have changed.

Before trade schools, there were apprenticeships.   Young boys (mostly) would be sent off to learn a trade from a master craftsman.  In exchange for a decade or so of free labor, the young man would be taught cabinet making, or watch repair, or some other useful profession.  Anyone who has ever read Dickens would know that apprenticeships were also offered for business careers.   Keeping those books balanced isn't easy, and in a world where almost no one went to college, a job that didn't involve manual labor, like accounting, was learned by doing.

This is a fairly old picture. But how old?  Is this young man taking a shop class or has he begun his working life as an apprentice?  One thing is for sure.  He's not a recent college grad, working for free as an intern, so that some business can avoid adding an extra pay check to the books.  No wonder recent grads can't find paid employment when so  many of them are willing to work for nothing.  My rant of the day...internships are a scam!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Women at Work

I've made this point before and I'm making it again; the theory that women were not a large part of the work force before the sixties is wrong.  Women of the upper middle classes and above rarely worked, but women of lower classes have always been part of the working world.  They were farm hands, servants, and as shown on this stereo view, factory hands.

Printed on the back, "20-(22070)  INSPECTING PAPER, HOLYOKE, MASS.

Paper making machines are large affairs.  Sometimes they weigh as much as 400 tons each.  But they handle each sheet as carefully as if they had a fine sense of touch.  These machines take the stock, press it into paper, and cut it into the desired size of sheet.

You see here a battery of paper machines performing the last act in paper manufacture.  The finger bars, mad of flat strips of wood, receive the cut paper, and turn the sheets out on a receiving table.  At this table stands an inspector.  She is an expert in her work.  Each sheet of paper undergoes her careful scrutiny.  If it is  defective in anyway the sheet is thrown out; for nothing but first-class material is produced in this factory.  Sometimes a sheet will have a flaw in coloring, or in texture: or it may have been torn slightly in it's many handlings.  The sheets that are approved are stacked up, and are ready for further folding or cutting if needs be.

You will observe certain things in this factory that are necessary both for the health of the workers and for the work.  The place is  well lighted by side windows.  The inspectors do not have to face a bright glare.  Nor do they have to work under artificial light.  They are seated so do not tire so quickly at their exacting work.  The machines have iron guards to reduce danger of accidents.  All this is very much in contrast with the factory of several years ago, when employees were looked upon merely as a part of the machinery.

Of what things is paper made?  Name some of the processes in paper making?  How does our supply of paper depend on forests?  Account for the shortage of paper during the Great European War.  From what is pulp made?

Copyright by The Keystone View Company."

Monday, May 7, 2012

Men at Work

No, not the Australian rock band.  Why are there fewer pictures of people working than, pictures of people at the beach?  After all, most of us will spend far more hours working than at the beach.  Is it because we hate our jobs?  I've been working since I was ten years old, and I've only had a few jobs that I really liked.  That doesn't mean that I hated the other jobs.  It just means that those jobs were a means to an end.  I don't know what these men are doing.  It looks like some kind of machine shop.  If they were skilled craftsmen, they probably made, comparatively, a good wage for the time.  But how many of them looked forward to work, and how many of them looked forward to a weekend doing something else?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Bare Legs in the Snow

Written on the back of the top image, "Lassen Park Pat & Margret," the second, "Elaine B. Lassen."

It might have been quite warm the day these pictures were taken.  Mount Lassen Volcanic National Park is one of the snowiest places in California and it's not uncommon, even in these days of climate change, for there to be a blanket of snow well into the summer.  So, let's not make fun of Margret for choosing fashion over warmth.  I've hiked Lassen, in summer, in snow, in shorts and a tee shirt, and been very comfortable.  Climbing the peak, mid-day, in the sun, even in snow can be sweaty work.  Again, I know this from experience.

Mount Lassen is the southernmost active volcano in the continental United States.  It's part of the Cascade Range.  After thousands of years of dormancy, a series of eruptions began in 1914 and lasted until 1921.  On August 9, 1916, congress created Mount Lassen Volcanic National Park to preserve the landscape and it's devastation.  Compare that to Mount St. Helens after it's eruption,  where the creation of a new national park was blocked by timber interests that wanted to remove the downed trees, and those opposed to the parks movement on general principle. Yes, it is possible to go backwards.  Those interested in the U.S. National Parks system can go to

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Party Party

Nothing written on the back of this photo, but I'm guessing the fifties and somewhere in Europe.  Take a look at the table top, and you'll see a pack of TAT cigarettes.  Now, I hate smoking.  My European mother was a smoker, and every time she lit up, I got a bad headache.  But, because of her habit, I have a working knowledge of American tobacco brands, and I've never heard of TAT.  Love the parasol.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Bad Decision on the Beach

Who thought this photo was a good idea?  Well, that's one of the nice things about film.  Our momentary lapses in judgement don't go away with the press of a delete button.  So here it is, for all to see.  A young woman allowing herself to be ridden on the beach.