Sunday, June 30, 2013

Just Another Cabinet Card

I've had this one for awhile, and it's time to put it up.  There's no studio mark on the borders or on the back, so I haven't a clue where it's from.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Down On the Farm

Ah, for the good old days when horses were working animals rather than pets, and there were no corporate farms.  Written on the back, "Milford Iowa"  According to Milford's website, Milford is a city in the great lakes region of Iowa.  But, with a population of 2,998 as of the 2010 census, I think most of us would say small town instead.  It's impossible to say with any certainty when this photo was taken, but just for reference,  Milford's population in 1920 was 908, 1930, 1062, and 1940, 1202.  The Iowa great lakes are three glacial lakes, and the largest natural lakes in Iowa.  Spirit Lake, at 5,684 acres is the largest of the three.  West and East Okaboji are the other two.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Good Germans

This one's almost certainly from Germany, after World War 2.  There's an Agfa watermark on the back of the print that dates from the mid forties through the fifties.  Too, look at the background, and see what appears to be the bombed out ruins of a building.

I've never been a big believer in the idea of blaming children for the sins of their parents.  Any German that was born after the mid thirties has no responsibility for what happened during the war.  Even if a German child joined the Hitler Youth or parroted the party line of their elders, well I figure they were too young to understand their actions.

But when I see pictures of German adults, taken after the war, I always wonder, what was their responsibility.  Did they break windows on Kristallnacht? Did they burn books? Paint yellow stars on buildings?  Did they rally to the Nazi cause?  At least some of the people in this photo must have.  And how did they live with themselves after the war?  Were they true believers whose only regret was loosing?  Or did they embrace the German myth: our country was taken over by a handful of fanatics and we had to obey orders to survive?  I'm going to recommend a book.  Hitler's Willing Executioners by Daniel Goldhagen.  

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Insect Love

I've read a lot of strange messages on the backs of old postcards, and this one's right up there on the weird scale.  "Eddie Pease & Nellie Rice, one had fleas and one had lice.  I have a checker board.  L. B. Spaulding."  Alright, I get the whole attempt at humor.  A couple, plagued by insects, and a somewhat disparaging note.  But the checker board reference?  That I don't get.  It just doesn't fit.  Mailed to "D. Burbank, No. Pomfret, VT."  It was mailed, but the postmark is so faded that I can't make it out.  No publisher's mark.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Party Polaroids

Okay, okay.  I know.  The last Polaroid isn't from a party, but it's the same woman as in pictures two and four so it gets included.  I wonder if she told her husband that one doesn't take a camera to a white tie affair?  The funny thing, Polaroids were never a cheap system.  Even the lower priced models weren't good for the photographer on a budget, because the film was so expensive.  Just a guess, but I'm thinking that these were taken with one of the early Polaroid Model 80s, and that puts these images in the mid to late fifties.  The camera would have cost what an average blue collar worker made in a week, and the film, that required peeling from a paper backing and a wipe with a fixer brush to keep the image from fading wasn't cheap either.

And for those interested, a company in Europe is making film packs that fit the SX-70 and Model 600 cameras.  They're marketed under the name "The Impossible Project".  I've been meaning to buy some and try it out, but, like the actual Polaroid film packs, it costs an arm and a leg.

Friday, June 21, 2013


....and the livin' is easy.  Not really.  I suspect that summertime in L.A. is going to be unpleasantly hot this year.  But, at least we have a beach, crowded though it may be.  

Thursday, June 20, 2013

More Bad Tint Jobs

A few months ago, I purchased an envelope of hand tinted photographs.  These two are the dregs of that collection.  They're so bad, they've crossed a line from mere incompetence to a strange, surreal beauty.  If they weren't so small, I'd consider framing them.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The North Texas State Normal College Album 27, The Loose Ones

There are still plenty of these to go, but after this lot I'm going to take a break on this particular collection for at least a couple of weeks.  The top photo is another real photo postcard, and despite the inscription, it's labeled, on the back, as "Ethel."  The only other photo with any info on the back is the bottom image, "Denny age 11."  Love that tie.

As usual, click on NTSNC in the labels section at the bottom of the post to bring up the whole lot.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The North Texas State Normal College Album 26, The Loose Ones

Now that the album portion of this collection has been posted, it's time to start dealing with all the loose photos that were stuffed between the pages.  I'm not going to put them up in any particular order.  Just pulling them out of the box at random.

The top photo is a real photo postcard.  The young boy, in black & white, with the crew cut, written on the back, "Rodney L. Wallace. Age 6 yr. 11 mo. Best year in school 1963."  I've long thought that the owner of this album was a school teacher, and that message is more evidence for that assumption.  The bottom photo is also printed on postcard stock, but it's been trimmed down.  Written on the back, "Lots of love, Lorna."

As usual, click on NTSNC in the labels section at the bottom of the post to bring up the whole collection.

The North Texas State Normal College Album 25

Well, it's time to wrap up the album portion of this series.  (There are about fifty or sixty loose bits to go.)  We've got a couple of names, Miss Cypert and Mrs. S. W. Ruths.  Probably one of those two women owned the album, but which one...My guess is Miss Cypert, but unless someone out there in blog world recognizes the album we'll never know.

The last couple of pages were damaged, and it looks like someone pasted the Three Kings back cover as a repair.

As usual, click on NTSNC in the labels section at the bottom of the post to bring up the whole lot.  Start with post number one, and it will be a bit like going through the album in order.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Auntie Belle

Yesterday I put up a photo of a man dressed as a woman.  Well, maybe.  I'm still not 100% sure.  No questions today, though.  Without a doubt, a woman dressed as a man.  Written on the back in a faded pencil, "Mrs. Cullum, Belle, & Frank."  Written in ink, "Grandmother, Auntie Belle, Dad."

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Dr. A. L. Kalin Optometrist

To refresh memories out there, about a year or so ago, I bought the grab bag of photos, a sealed envelope with 100 plus snapshots.  Anyway, I was going through the unpublished left-overs, looking for something worth posting, when this one caught my eye. There was something about the profile, the shoulders, the kind of straight down body shape.  I think I may have found another photograph of a man dressed as a woman.

Perhaps it was Halloween, and Dr. Kalin told his staff to come in costume.  Finally, a chance to go out in public.  Then again, it might be a woman who looks kind of manly.  I guess we'll never know.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Crazy Ostrich People

America has always had it's fair share of crazy dreamers willing to pursue their mad ideas.  Most fail, but occasionally one succeeds.

In 1885, Edwin Cawston of South Pasadena, California chartered a ship and headed off to South Africa in search of the finest ostriches he could find.  He ended up buying fifty birds, and sailed to Galveston, Texas with his flock.  Between the voyage to North America and the cross country train trip, Cawston's dream almost died.  Out of fifty birds, only eighteen survived.  Still, Cawston persevered, and in 1886 he opened his ostrich farm in South Pasadena, just five miles north of downtown Los Angeles.  In time, Cawston expanded his flock to over 100 birds, he sold meat, ostrich hides, and feathered hats, boas, and fans.  He also supplemented his income by turning the farm into a tourist attraction.  One could ride on the back of an ostrich or drive an ostrich pulled cart.  Eventually, changes in fashion and the great depression ended the Cawston Ostrich Farm.  It closed in 1935.

But, the story isn't over.  The factory building where Cawston made the hats survived.  It's at 1010 Sycamore Ave. in South Pas, and has been converted into lofts.  Got $299,000 and you can buy one.  Prefer to rent and it's a lot more affordable.  Only $2200 a month for a small, furnished space.  Unfurnished, $2000.  And if you're willing to live on the second floor in the back, $1500.  Actually, in the L.A. area rental market, that's not all that bad.

This image is printed on postcard stock.

Friday, June 7, 2013

He Didn't Miss the Train

This one's got a great message on the back, "Well Myrtle didn't succeed in getting Russell to miss the train.  Edwin F."  It was addressed to "Miss Rebecca V. Evans, Newport, PA."  It was postmarked, "LOYSVILLE, PA.  SEP. 23, 6 AM, 1907"  Loysville and Newport are both in Perry County, near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

This is another one of the postcards from the flirtation collection.  All the ones that are either photographs or based on photos will be published here, but the few cards that are pure illustration will be on my other blog,  "Flirtation" will appear in the labels section from any image in the collection, on both blogs.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Old Folks In California

This one is another photo from an ongoing series of pictures I've been finding at an antique mall that may or may not be related.  To see the others I've found, click on SGV family in the labels section at the bottom of the post.

California has always been a state that has attracted lots of newcomers.  Whether it's the ocean, desert, or mountains; cheap farm land or mine claims; a chance to leave the past behind and go to a place where no one cares what happened back east, California has been the great hope and refuge for the restless.  It's true that these four old gentlemen might have been Californians born and bread, but I'm guessing they were all part of the influx into the golden state.  But, if these guys are from the same family that has been showing up at the antique mall, I'm also guessing that it was the younger people in this series that were the true seekers of the California dream, and it was the old folks that got dragged along.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A California Kid

So, here's the story.  Every so often, I visit a favorite antique mall and go through a tray of old photos.  The dealer keeps replenishing it with new images.  I've been finding a series of old prints, the same format, same weight paper, all from the same era.  Some have a printers stamp, "PRINTED BY MERICK REYNOLDS, JR.  222 SO. BROADWAY, LOS ANGELES, CAL."  Most have no markings at all.  So far, I haven't found any that are labeled.  I think it probable that all these photos are from the same family, although I can't be sure.  As I find new images, they go up on the blog.  I'm putting SGV Family in the labels section at the bottom of the post so that anyone interested in seeing the whole lot can pull them up and see them together.  Enjoy.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Helen & Curly

Two photographs, same format, same hand writing in the margins.  "Helen" in the classic see my dress pose, and "Curly-1948" with a mouth full of dog slobber, waiting for his chance.