Saturday, September 29, 2012

Summer Camp

A postcard, and the caption, "CAMP NOTRE DAME, Lake Spofford, Spofford, New Hampshire An interior view of a typical cabin."

I'm not going to write much about the whole summer camp experience. I came from small town, rural poverty and  never went to summer camp.  I had a shot at church camp one year, but the whole atheism thing shot that one down real fast.  Anyway, no first hand knowledge and since most people are aware that summer camps were where city folks shipped the kids for a bit of rural, summer fun....Well, I'll leave it at that.

I went to Google and ran a search for Camp Notre Dame.  I didn't find a website, so I'm guessing that this particular summer camp went belly up.  I did find a listing for a populated place, government speak for a community too small for town status, so the old cabins might still be there, just no longer being used by happy campers.  I also searched the names carved in the cabin rafters.  The only real hit was for Conrad Ambrette, a lawyer from Darrien, Connecticut, born in New York City in 1947.  It might not be him, but the age is about right.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Summer House

This photograph reminds me of a John Cheever story.  Not a specific story, but one of the ones where somewhat unhappy New Yorkers go off to the New England summer house and work hard to avoid an inevitable confrontation.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The North Texas State Normal College Album 4

Which photograph doesn't fit?  Most of these images have a nineteenth century feel.  One can imagine the subjects going to the tin typist and being told to stand absolutely still.  But the last photo is of people used to photography.  People who know what a camera can and can't do and how to play for the photographer.

Click on NTSNC in the labels section to bring the whole collection up.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Rabbit Ears

There's always a joker in the crowd.  Stamped on the back, "van Leaucourt"   Leaucourt is a small village in Belgium.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Miniature Golf

I like to think that this little girl is a kindred spirit.  I like to think that her parents told her that if she'd put on her nice clothes, go to church and behave, they'd take her out for ice cream and a game of miniature golf.  My mother didn't try and bribe me into religion.  It was accept god's love or the back of the hand.  It was a lousy choice.  I asked for the slap and still was forced into the pew.  Eventually, my mother gave up and accepted that I was going to Hell.  Oh well.

On another note, I'm 57 years old and I've never played miniature golf, shuffle board or been bowling.  Is that weird?

Dated, "SEP 69"

Friday, September 21, 2012

Two Stylish Ladies

Written on the back, "Modilta & Kate"  Best guess, from the thirties.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Los Angeles Proof Sheet

What I'd do to own these negatives!

This is what I imagine when I see these four images.  A young couple drive their old jalopy across country to seek a good life in southern California.  The  first thing they do is  drive around the city and take pictures of all the things they've  dreamed about.  I did the same thing about forty-five years or so after these photos were taken.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

But What Are They Building?

When I first picked up this postcard, I thought they were building a factory.  But then I pulled out the magnifying glass and saw what looks like decorative window frames and thought church.  Another mystery in an old photograph.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


This is a very small print and was probably cut from a longer strip.  At least I've run across some other strip images that have about six or seven frames.  I'm told that they were made in a camera, specially made to make multiple images on a glass plate negative.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Big Prediction

Time for a prediction.  The Pittsburgh Steelers will win the Super Bowl.  Now it's true that I grew up 50 miles from Pittsburgh and always pick the Steelers.  It's also true I've been right 6 out of 46 times.  Cleveland Browns fans can't say that!  Wave that Terrible Towel!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Strange Career of Otto Sarony

Take a close look at this photograph and see a credit for O. Sarony.  There are tens of thousands of photographs credited to Otto Sarony, and he didn't take one of them.

Otto Sarony, 1859-1903, was the privileged son of famous photographer Napoleon Sarony.  The elder Sarony was born in Canada, but made his fortune in New York City.  A society photographer, Napoleon Sarony came up with an interesting business model.  Rather than waiting in his studio for the rich and famous to show up for a portrait, he paid sitting fees to his clients in exchange for the right to reproduce and sell their images.  Napoleon Sarony dressed flamboyantly, attended the parties given by the New York theatrical community and became every bit as well known as his celebrity sitters.  His studio sold cartes de visite, cabinet cards, and latter postcards of 19th century stage stars to anyone with a few pennies in their pocket.  Despite his public image, Napoleon was a hard working, successful businessman who made a lot of money.

 Raised by his father to take over the business, working as a studio assistant, Otto didn't share his father's enthusiasm for the photographic business.  It wasn't that Otto wanted to follow another profession.  He preferred yachts, gambling and parties.  Perhaps that's why Napoleon's will required Otto to run the business for at least fifteen years, and limited his weekly wages to $75.  To put it mildly, Otto was unhappy.  In 1898, two years after his father's death, Otto sold the studio to William F. Burrow, but remained as the public face of The Sarony Studios.  In 1901, Otto Sarony wanted even more money, so he sold rights to his name to Col. Theodore Marceau.  So, there were two competing studios in New York City producing photographs credited to Otto Sarony.  In 1903, Otto Sarony died of pneumonia.  For the next decade a series of law suits were filed as William F. Burrow and Theodore Marceau fought over who had the right to use the Sarony name.  Marceau managed to use the Sarony name into the 1910s.  Burrow's Sarony Studios closed in 1930.

Robert Edeson was a successful stage actor in New York and latter a well respected character actor in silent movies.  He was in a favorite silent movie of mine, The Clinging Vine, starring Leatrice Joy.  Highly recommended.  Edeson's career survived into the sound era.  He died in 1931.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sperry Glacier

I've been to Sperry Glacier, and I suspect that's why I wanted this postcard.  It's on the north slope of Gunsight Mountain in Glacier National Park in Montana. It's not a short hike, but it is doable as a day trip.  The last time I was in Glacier was at least 15 years ago, and Sperry was a lot smaller than it is in this photograph, and if predictions hold true, it will be gone, along with the other surviving glaciers in the park, by 2020.

This card is postmarked "ANACONDA MONTANA, JUL 18, 2-P.M. 1916"  It's addressed to "Miss Marg Bryan, 2732 Renick St., St. Joe, Mo."  No message, though.  Glacier National Park was established in 1910.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The North Texas State Normal College Album 3

I'm assuming that the owner of this album was a student at North Texas State Normal College in Denton, Texas.  But, I can't know that for certain.  Perhaps the owner wasn' a student, but just someone passing through town who liked the album cover.  In any case, that's a lot of people posing in front of that barn.

Click on NTSNC in the labels section to bring up the whole collection.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The North Texas State Normal College Album 2

I'd love to know what kind of time span this album covers.  A normal college's primary purpose was the training of teachers.  Is the first picture a photo of students standing in front of their college or is it newly graduated teachers getting ready to face a school room full of ten year olds?  I'm thinking the former, and the children in the second photo are siblings left behind at home.

Click on NTSNC in the labels section to bring up the whole collection.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Frank Brewer at Camp Gordon

Because of it's proportions, you'll really need to click on the image and bring it up in a bigger window to see it well.

The stamp box on the back is in the middle of the card, so I'm fairly certain that it was designed to be folded in half.  But, while there is a message on the back, there is no post mark and no indication that the card was ever stamped.  I'd bet that Frank Brewer, the author, folded the card in half and put it in an envelope for mailing.

"Dear Mother & Dad,  Yesterday there was 6 of us transfered frome the 24 Co to the 157 Depot Brigade.  Here we get good grub and all we want of it.  The rest of are 24 Co. has gone on a hike with rifel and full pack on.

I had to turn in my rifel and pack.  At this camp we have a snap.

I will write what we half to dew latter.  But I am liber to be transfered in any time in site of 3 months.  Cannot tell.

Tell Atkins my new adress.  I was at the rifel range and done some shuting and they put me down as a good shot. Ther are sending some Co to France in 4 weeks time.

If you write to B.B., C.B. or T.B. tell them my new adress.

Your Sun, Frank.

P.S. Did you get my inshurance papers yet."

In a separate section, Frank wrote his address.

"Mr Frank A. Brewer
31st Co. 8 Training Battalion
157 Depot Brigade
Camp Gordon, Ga."

I always love it when I find someone who spells worse than I do.  Interesting card.  Being sent to France?  But World War 1 or World War 2?  It's almost certain that this card was from the first World War.  Being sent to France was how soldiers described being sent to the trenches of World War 1.  Too, I've also found a web site about a young soldier,  serving at Camp Gordon, in the 157 Depot Brigade, in 1918.

Camp Gordon was opened in July 1917, at Chamblee, Georgia, near Atlanta.  It closed after World War 1, and was reopened in 1940.  It became Fort Gordon in 1957 and now trains more soldiers than any other military facility in the United States.

Stone Mountain may not be the largest rock in the world, as noted on the front of the card, but it is pretty big.  The mile from base to summit notation refers to a trail, not the elevation.  Today, Stone Mountain is the site of the world's largest bas relief, depicting  Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis.  The Daughters of the Confederacy and the Ku Klux Klan worked for years to establish the  confederate monument at Stone Mountain, but it wasn't until the 1960s, in reaction to the civil rights movement, after Stone Mountain had become state property,  that the project got off the ground.  In 1915, the Klan was reestablished, and an  easement form the owner was granted that allowed Stone Mountain to be used, in perpetuity, as a Klan rallying point.

And the caption on the back: "STONE MOUNTAIN, 16 MILES FROM ATLANTA, GA.  The steep side of Stone Mountain has been dedicated to the Confederacy by the U.D.C., and thereon will be carved in relief a stupendous monument of Lee and Jackson at the head of the Confederate Hosts.  Each figure will be approximately 30 feet in height: the horses, cannon, etc. as true to life as possible to be made.  Stone Mountain will stand through the ages an everlasting monument to the Boys of the Confederacy.  (Atlanta Convention Bureau.)"

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

That's Not Writing, That's Typing

I was thumbing through the photo grab bag collection, (100+ photos purchased in a sealed envelope, sight unseen.) and found another image with a typed label that should have been part of  the I Love Lucy post from the second of this month. When I put up that one I was thinking, a cold, overly analytical type who labeled everything with his typewriter, and then filed, cross referenced, making things easy to find.  Now I'm going with middle aged, mid western romeo who had his collection of conquests and had to keep things organized just in case the ladies of 1938 ran into the ladies of 1941.  Typed on the back, "Helen Aug-1938"

Bonus points for whoever gets the title reference.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day

Child labor?

Hard as it is to believe, Labor Day didn't start out as an end of summer three day get away.  In 1897, President Grover Cleveland signed a law creating a holiday celebrating American labor.  Of course, the law was passed in panic.  Federal troops and U.S. Marshals had just gunned down a number of strikers at the Pullman rail car plant in Illinois, and the country was worried about the possibility of a violent,  labor rebellion.

The American labor movement fought for the eight hour workday, the forty hour week, minimum wage laws, better wages and safe working conditions.  Labor also fought for better schools, the expansion of state college systems, infrastructure, safe drinking water, old age pensions, health insurance, and sewer socialism, the movement to improve cities and towns through government spending. And with each labor victory, the business community warned that the economy would collapse and small businesses would fail.  Sound familiar?

So is this photograph an example of child labor?  Probably not.  Labor also pushed for the end of child labor in the United States, and for vocational training where young people could learn a trade while still at school.

I grew up in a small coal mining town in western Pennsylvania.  A lot of the seniors in my home town were missing fingers.  They told stories of being five year old breaker boys at the mine.  Rather than going to school, they would sit at a conveyor belt and sort coal by size.  It was a rare child that made it to ten without loosing a finger or two.  Their greatest fear as children was they would loose too many fingers, and be unable to grip a shovel when they were old enough to go into the mines.  That meant being turned out of the company towns and destitution.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

I Love Lucy

Another low angle shot, though nowhere as interesting as the last post.  Is this woman a relative or a sweetheart?  Whatever the relationship to the photographer, I find it strange that the caption on the back isn't hand written, but typed.  It just seems cold.  "Lucille, Turkey Run State Park, Ind. 7/40"

Turkey Run State Park opened in 1916, and was the second state park in Indiana.