Monday, January 30, 2012

Mystery Monday - Columbus, O Woman - Lillie McMullen Blair?

Lillie McMullen Late 1890's?
I bought a group of old photographs a while back on eBay and there were two of the same beautiful woman from Columbus, O (Ohio). This first one is identified on the back as "Lillie McMullen." The photographer is W. H. Wells of 262 1/2 S. High St., Columbus, O.  

The second picture I posted recently in my "Women with Hats" series.  She's on the right identified as "Lillie Blair" and an unknown friend or relative on the left.  The photographer is also Wells.  I think she looks older in the second photo so am guessing her maiden name is McMullen and married name Blair.  I found several Lillie McMullens and Lillie Blairs on  The only one that seems to fit the timeline was born 1873 to Alex & Eliza McMullen in Columbus, Ohio.  I did not find much else to substantiate her identity.  In the same lot of pictures I also have a picture of a little girl Muriel Blair but cannot match her up with Lillie an any way.  Such a mystery!

Lillie McMullen Blair (r) late 1890's?

The photographer was a successful and talented African-American photographer.  I found a mention of him in a book written by Diane VanSkiver Gagel, "Ohio Photographers 1839-1900. She listed him as W. H. Wells, Columbus, 276 S. High, 1895-98, 262 South High, 1899.  In I found him in the Columbus, Ohio city directory still at the 262 South High address in 1914 and then in 1928 at the address of 1220 Mt. Vernon Avenue.  I also found him in the 1930 Columbus census listed as William H. Wells, negro, age 63, married 19 years, born Ohio, wife Sadie age 60 years, one daughter Artura age 17 years.  He owned his own home worth $3000.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sentimental Sunday - Women with Hats - Schenectady, NY

This unidentified lovely lady with the feathery hat from Schenectady, NY had her photo taken by A. M. Powers. She appears to be weating a coat and notice the large cross around her neck.  This cabinet portrait with a dark maroon color was produced sometime between 1884 to 1895.

The photographer Alfred M. Powers was born  in New York, probably West Troy, Albany about 1853 to Nelson and Sarah Powers.  He was one of nine children, his father was an attorney.  In the 1870 West Troy, Albany, NY census at age seventeen, Alfred was already calling himself a photographer.  In the 1880 Schenectady, Schenectady, NY census we find Alfred, age twenty-seven. married to Maria F. Powers, age twenty-six,  with sons John L. age four and Leland W. age seven months and  listing his occupation as photographer. In the book, The History of the County of Schenectady, NY from 1662 to 1886 a brief bio on A. M. Powers said, "he has resided in Schenectady since 1873.  In 1879 he opened a photography gallery at 225 State street where he has built up a large and lucrative business."  I also found Alfred in the Schenectady City Directorys from 1885 to 1905 listed as a photographer.  I could not find any listing for him in any census after the 1880 census.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sepia Saturday #110 - Trent Theatre, Trenton, New Jersey

Trent Theatre postmarked 1906
This week's theme at Sepia Saturday is theatre and this postcard from Trenton, New Jersey depicts the Trent Theatre located at 17 North Warren in Trenton.  The theatre which had 1,139 seats opened on December 7, 1903 and was successful beyond all expectations for its Board of Directors including William S. Hancock and Harry C. Taylor, of the Taylor Opera House who undertook its construction.  The architect was Herman Probst, and the general contractor was James Rourke.  The manager  was Edward Rentor who came with considerable experience from the Ringling Brothers' Circus.  

5 Dec 1903 Trenton Times

By 1921, Walter Reade was made a partner and the theatre was known as "Reade's Trent." For most of New Jersey there were "blue laws" that forbid any merriment on Sundays such as music, singing or dancing which meant that theatres must be closed on that day . On Sunday, August 28, 1921, Reade and other Trenton theatre owners opened their theatres in defiance of the law. The theatre owners had petitioned the City Commission to open on Sunday but were met with much opposition. The theatre owners moved forward with opening that Sunday and 18,000 people attended the performances that day. The next Sunday, General C. Edward Murray gave deputy's badges to the sixty-five members of the Inter-Church Federation League. After the theatres opened they sent the audiences home and arrested the managers, cashiers and owners including Reade. Fines were paid and all agreed to stay closed on Sundays. By 1933, Trenton opted out of the state's blue laws. 

Trenton Times 1921

Ownership changed hands a couple more times and the theatre closed in 1972.  It was demolished in 1976 and replaced with a parking lot.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Those Places Thursday - Indiana -Civil War Era Mother & Child

This CDV photograph of a mother and child taken in Bristol, Indiana does not identify the subjects, but from the stamp on the back we know it was taken between 1864 and 1866.  The photographer was L. H. Maffit.  Mom looks a little stunned.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sentimental Sunday - Women with Hats! Out for a Stroll

This week's Women with Hats shows a photo postcard of a woman in a tailored walking suit.  The coat is hip length, notched at the lapel and has three buttons.  There seems to be a button or other decoration at the waist of the coat.  The skirt also has buttons that appear to match the jacket.  The blouse is beautiful, somewhat sheer with a necktie and standing collar.  She is wearing white kid gloves and carrying a small, beaded purse with a chain handle.  She is also wearing eyeglasses.  Her hair seems to be pulled up into a bun on the top of her head as was popular for the era.  I believe this photo to be dated between 1909 and 1914 although I am unsure about the hat.  She is not identified and there is no photographer named as well.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sepia Saturday #109 - Duh! Dolls Dammit!

Please forgive my title, I promise this post is not going to be vulgar, but it got your attention didn't it?  You will just have to read further to understand.  This week's theme at Sepia Saturday is dolls and at first I kind of drew a blank. I don't know a lot about dolls, I was an unusual little girl, more of a tomboy and animal lover and I didn't really play with dolls much when I was kid.  So now I was worrying about where I was going to find a picture that fit the theme and then I started thinking and well, DUH! As you will see once I did start thinking I came up with a number of things.  I couldn't just pick one or two so I hope I don't bore you with all of these.

This first photo is a little girl holding her doll and toy horse - her name written on the back is Muriel Blair, no further information is known and she appears to be about two or three years old - isn't she sweet? Love the curls on the doll and look at the mane on that horse!  I don't know the year, but from the type of photo I am guessing 1920 's or 1930's:

The second photo is one that I forgot that I had posted previously and how could I have?  She is the most adorable little thing in her bonnet and holding her dolly.  I have no information on this little doll or her doll, but click here to read my original post which has information about the photographer George Dresser, from Winfield, Kansas.

Next, I was browsing around in an antique shop a couple of years ago and found an old cardboard box marked "Mother's Dolls" with over one hundred pieces of Victorian paper dolls produced by Lion Coffee and a number of what I believe are Dollie Dingle paper dolls.  I normally would never have bought something like this (please don't tell my husband), but for some reason I just had to and so added them to my ever-growing ephemera collection.  At the time I had no idea what on earth I would ever do with them -  perhaps I was thinking to use them on scrapbook pages, but at least this is the perfect reason to use them.  I thought this one was particularly fitting as it pertains to photography:

Lion Coffee Paper Dolls circa 1895 "Photographer's Studio"

Here is a cute, what I think is a "Dollie Dingle" paper doll, holding her dolly.  Dollie Dingle was created by Grace Dayton an illustrator in the Edwardian age.  In 1904 she created Dollie Dingle for Campbell Soup and continued doing so until 1933.  She died in 1934.

And finally, this is a picture of a doll my aunt bought me some years back when I was going through a rough spell.  Now I'm not one much for cursing, but it's called a "dammit doll" and when you're mad you take the doll and hit something with it like your desk (no people or pets, please) and say "dammit!"  I think it works pretty well. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wedding Wednesday - Stylish 1880's Couple

This portrait of a very handsome couple I believe to be their wedding portrait based on the flowers in her hair, the small corsage on her chest and his small boutonniere, as well as the fact that he appears to be wearing a long coat.  The photographer's mark on the back is not much help, S. A. Thomas, with no city listed.  I believe this picture to be dated 1875 - 1885.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Travel Tuesday - Family Outing by Horse & Buggy

They say times were much simpler one hundred years ago.    I guess in many ways they were - I'm sure there were not many traffic jams commuting.  Of course, there were muddy roads with jagged holes, broken wagon wheels, bad weather, and numerous other road hazards with no cell phones to call "Road Rangers." However, in today's picture, this family looks quite ready for whatever outing they are about to embark on, perhaps  a picnic or a visit to another family member's home.  I notice one woman with a fan to keep cool and the young boy in the rear with an umbrella to keep the sun off his head.  This picture postcard appears to have been taken around 1910 and in France according to the back.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Military Monday - Two Young Men Off to War - WWI?

This picture of two young men in uniform has no identification either for the subjects or the photographer.  I suspect it is WWI but I know nothing of uniforms so cannot be sure, however they are very young so could be cadets in a military school, etc.  They are certainly handsome - wish I knew more about them.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sentimental Sunday - Women with Hats - Catharine & Bessie Rice

These pictures were in a small lot I bought and although at first I thought these two beautiful young women might be actresses, after some research I discovered them to be sisters born a year apart.  Their appearance is very close with Bessie having very angular features and Catharine's more rounded.  Bessie Ellison Rice was born January 1880 in Wilmington, New Castle, Delaware to Edward Luff Rice, Jr. and Mary Ellison Rice.    Catharine was born in Dec 1878 so these girls were born thirteen months apart to a very young mother.  Edward and Mary were married on 23 Feb 1878, Edward was an architect and fifteen years older than Mary.  In the 1880 census of Wilmington, Mary, age 19 was living with parents, James M. and Jane Ellison along with her brother and sister and her two children, Catharine P. Rice age 1 and Bessie E. Rice age 5 months.  I found her husband Edward, age 34 living in Denver, Arapaho, Colorado working as an architect.  Both listed their marital status as married.  One has to wonder why they were separated and living so far apart, perhaps Edward was getting his start as an architect.

Bessie Ellison Rice April 1898
The back of this picture & one of Catharine's are dedicated to Mr. J. William Goodman, Jr. - I could not find out who he was.  There may be an interesting story here.

Catharine P. Rice 1898
In 1900 Edward and Mary are living together in Wilmington, Delaware with Catharine age 21, Bessie age 20, mother-in-law, Sarah J. Ellison, her companion Ida Bacon, two nephews Edward A. Ryon and E. Francis Ellison and one servant Rachel Kenton.  There were two Edward Luff Rices in Wilmington in this time period, my subject was born on 5 Dec 1848 and the other one born 16 Sep 1846.  I suspect they were cousins with the same grandfather.  My subject was the son of Edward Luff Rice Sr and Mary Ann (Robinson) Rice according to his application for membership into the Sons of the American Revolution in 1921.
Catharine P. Rice 1897

Catharine & Bessie Rice 1901

In the 1910 Wilmington census Catharine age 27 and Bessie age 26 are both still living with their parents Edward and Mary.  After that I could not find a trace of either of them again. I found their parents in the 1920 and 1930 censuses, Edward still listed as an architect even at age 81.  A death certificate was filed for Edward listing his death date as 28 Jan 1933.  The informant was Elsie Patterson - I'm not sure who this was but Patterson appears to be Catharine's middle name so probably a close relative.  All in all this was an interesting story and a fun project, and I really wish I knew what happened to Catharine and Bessie.

**Photographer information:  The photographer was Harry E. Bucher, born 16 Feb 1864 in Delaware to Emile Bucher and Lucy C. (Jaquet) Bucher both born either in Germany (as listed on Harry's death certificate) or France as listed on the censuses.  Harry was still living with his parents in 1900 at age 36 and working as a photographer.  According to numerous Wilmington City directories, he had a studio at 720 Market Street.  In the 1882 - 1885 city directory his father was also listed as either owning or working at a saloon.  On 14 Dec 1901 Harry married Emily J. Burns daughter of Robert A. and Anna Burns.  I did not find him in the 1910 or 1920 census, but in 1930 I found him divorced, living with his sister Louisa G. Mills and occupation listed as retired photographer.  According to a Delaware State Certificate of Death he died 10 Mar 1932 in Wilmington, the informant was Louise Mills (sister).

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sepia Saturday #108 - Hats, Hats & More Hats!

I write a post each Sunday called Women with Hats and I recently came across another blog called Sepia Saturday in which you post old pictures with a different theme each Saturday.  This is my first Saturday answering their blog call and this week the topic is hats!  Here is my entry:

This first picture is a tintype of a woman in a flowery, feathery hat.  She's wearing a fitted dress with a bustle and I believe this to have been taken in the 1880's.  I welcome any help narrowing down more definite dates.

This next picture is a very small one measuring just 7/8" by 1 1/4" and it is glued to a beige background with a border.  Her hat appears to be made out of satin and I've never seen anything quite like it.  I'm taking a stab in the dark here that this is from 1900 - 1910.

This woman in my last picture is wearing a hat with feathers and some other type of decoration in the middle.  Again, I am guessing at the date, maybe 1910 - 1920.

None of the women or the photographers in these pictures were identified. Thanks for looking and I look forward to more Sepia Saturdays!

Sports Center Saturday - Man & Dog on the Hunt

Here's a great cabinet card photo of a man with his hunting rifle and his faithful dog looking adoringly up at him.  According to the handwriting at the bottom his name was William Stump. On the back it says "Harry and his dog,"  The card is on very plain sepia cardstock (front) and off-white color on the back.  There is no photographer's mark.  The only thing about this card which gives me any clues about the date are the edges.  If you look closely you may notice that they are slightly beveled with gold gilting. According to beveled edges were found during the years of 1892- 1900.  I tried to search for him on but there were too many William Stumps in too many states.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Workday Wednesday - Five Butchers Cleaving?

Out of all my old photographs, this is one of my favorites, definitely in the top five.  Pictured here are what appears to be five young butchers from the Ashland, WI area.  There is nothing on the back of the photograph to identify any of the men.  The picture is a little faded but the man in the middle appears to be holding a pig on the table.  The man on the front left is reading a newspaper which when enlarged looks to be either "Pouce" or "Douce" Gazette.

The photographer is Bailey - in doing a Google search I didn't find much, but did find a couple of other pictures posted by Bailey or Bailey Studios which were obviously by the same person.  I tried searching on and found an Art Bailey in the 1905 Wisconsin State Census age age 30, occupation photographer.  He was born in Michigan to parents born in England.  He was married to Lilosa age 24 and with son Samuel? age 1.  I had no luck finding him in earlier or later censuses.  I am guessing this photo to have been taken around 1900 give or take five years either way.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Military Monday - Unknown WW1 Soldier

These two small snapshots are of a WWI soldier who looks quite happy and proud.  The back of the pictures are marked in pencil "1917."  There is nothing else to identify him or the location.  The pictures each measure 2 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches.  There is a large house in the background and by the foliage it appears to be summer or very early fall.  I don't know anything about WWI uniforms so have no idea what division of service he served in.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sentimental Sunday - Women with Hats

This is a wonderful cabinet card photo of two lovely ladies in Columbus, Ohio.  By the style of their hats I suspect this picture to be dated around 1905.  Both hats are very elaborate with feathers, satin and pins.  They are both wearing some type of fur coat or neck topping.  On the back of the photograph it indicates the woman on the right is Lillie Blair.  The photographer is Wells located at 262 1/2 S. High Street, Columbus, O (Ohio).

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Sympathy Saturday - 1860's Woman in Mourning

Here is a great CDV photograph of a woman wearing mourning.  She is wearing a black dress and black head covering/scarf.  She appears to be holding a handkerchief in her right hand and something unkown in her left.  In my blog "Rogers Family History" last year I wrote a post titled How to Wear Mourning based on an article I found in the Trenton (NJ) Evening Times.  The rules were certainly much different then!

The photo was taken in Terre Haute, Indiana by Elsam 328 Main Street between 3d and 4th.  I Googled Elsam and found in the 1900 census for Laconia, Belknap, New Hampshire an Edwin A. Elsam, photographer, born in Indiana in 1840, married to Mary Elsam birthplace New Hampshire, both age 60.  I also found a marriage date for a Edwin Elsam, photographer, born in Bombay, India to William and Sarah (Hudson) Elsam, and  his bride Mary Houghton, residence Laconia, NH in May 1889.  Assuming this is the same person, he probably came from Indiana to New Hampshire before 1889 which would date this photo before that time, probably between 1860 and 1889.  Whew!!  However, I believe this CDV to have been taken in the 1860's.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wedding Wednesday - Unknown Philadelphia Couple

Here is a picture of a newly married couple taken in Philadelphia, PA, probably between 1900 and 1910 I'm guessing based on the style of her dress (I'm still working on my photo dating skills).  She is holding a lovely basket of roses and note her eyeglasses.  He is very dapper in his dark suit, wearing white gloves and I particularly like his handlebar mustache.  I could not find any information about the photographer,  "The Sommer Studio, 210 N. Eighth St., Opp. Bijou Theatre, Phila."

Monday, January 2, 2012

Mystery Monday - Trenton Tartan Girl - Who is She?

Love this picture of this young girl in a plaid dress with a sash and matching hat with bow.  She appears to be about ten years old and I estimate the picture to have been taken around the late 1880's. This picture is a double mystery; the girl is unidentified and I had no luck finding any information about the photographer, J. E. North of 31 Centre Street, Trenton, NJ.  

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