Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sepia Saturday #132 - Love, Set, Match - Two Little German Boys

This week's Sepia Saturday theme centers around tennis, in fact the photograph on their blog site is from 1971 taken in Fort Lauderdale, FL of Dinah Shore and Burt Bacharach most likely at a celebrity tournament.  This is most interesting to me because I was a teenager growing up in Fort Lauderdale at that very time.  I spent many hours hanging out with my friends at Holiday Park where the famous Chris Evert practiced tennis on a daily basis with her father before she became a world class champion.  I myself could never hit a tennis ball worth a darn - I spent more time chasing the ball all over the court than actually hitting it!  Holiday Park is a large, very popular park with tennis courts, ball diamonds, basketball courts, playgrounds, a theater, etc.  My father coached Little League baseball for my brothers' teams and our family spent many nights at that park.  Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of this time, but it brought back a lot of fond memories. 

However, I do have this CDV photograph of two very cute Hamburg, Germany boys in "matching" suits that I thought I would share.    It comes with an interesting story about the photographer.  In this photo the boys are holding toy tennis rackets and standing next to a toy rocking horse. They are wearing the most adorable outfits; I'm not sure how to describe them, they almost resemble sailor suits.  The photographer is Waarenhaus Hermann Tietz (department store).  On the back of the card it says, "Waarenhaus" which means "a site where mass products are sold" or "department store". According to Wikipedia, Herman Tietz was a German merchant of Jewish origin who was born on 29 Apr 1837 in Birnbaum an der Warthe  near Posen (today Miedzych√≥d, Poland) and died in Berlin 3 May 1907.

He was the first to create the idea of a department store in Germany and founded the chain store which would become known as "Hertie".  His first store was opened in 1882 in Gera (Thuringia, Germany) by his nephew Oskar Tietz.  After successful stores were established in smaller towns like Bamberg, Erfurt, Rostock, Stralsund and Wismar, Tietz opened his department store in Berlin.  In 1900 he opened a store in Leipziger StraBe, in 1904 Alexanderplatz, Hamburg in 1912.  By 1927 the Tietz chain had ten stores and 13,000 employees.

In the Third Reich, all businesses of the Tietz family were "Aryanized" (seized and given to new owners) and the family members emigrated.  In 1933, Georg Karg, the new owner, changed the company's name to the less Jewish-sounding "Hertie Department Stores" as an abbreviation of Hermann Tietz.

I'm not entirely sure how to date this Cartes de Visite.  The card is slightly larger than most CDVs and is quite thick which would usually lead one to think it dated between 1880 and 1890.  CDV's were rarely seen after 1890.  Since it has been reported that Tietz did not open his Hamburg store until 1912 I am at a loss to explain or give a good date for this photo.  Perhaps one of my readers can offer some insight.


1.  Wikipedia
2.  Shoah Resource Center, 

Please drop by Sepia Saturday to check out the other "love"ly entries for this week's tennis theme.


  1. Wht an endearing pair in the CDV and clever of you to find the tennis picture. You get double points this week for the Fort Lauderdal econnection too!

  2. That is a good story about the photographer. Was his studio in the department store? If so, Sears and J C Penney can say, "Thank-you!"

  3. I spent a lot of time studying this photo and comparing it to one that I have. The boys resemble my husbands grandfather and grand uncle who were born in the 1890s in Germany.
    The photo I have was taken in about 1898 and the boots are identical so maybe that helps date the photo?

  4. Great CDV photo; I searched for one but had no luck.

  5. What a lot of very interesting history ... the boys are cute; too bad that it was so easy to steal people's businesses that they had worked so hard to make successful.

    I enjoyed your memories of Holiday Park too.

    Kathy M.

  6. Wonderful picture and interesting story!

  7. What a great story and such a cool photo!

  8. Very cute and very German. But the small curly headed boy does not have a tennis racket but a whip or riding crop to go with his rocking horse of course. I know a German website which has thousands of German/Austrian cdvs and cabinet cards sorted out with photographers names and dates, but my computer is currently broken so I can't find the bookmark. However there are lots of great images in Flickr under "German antique cdvs" and many are dated.

    I posted a similar sailor suit boy on an 1890-1900 cdv from the Adolf Jandorf department store which was bought by the Hertie or Tietz Co in the 1920s and then became the celebrated KaDeWe department store.

    I would imagine that the success of German department stores along with quality of German cameras produced a lot of skilled family photographers. They may have continued the cdv format longer than in other countries.

  9. It is a very cute image, the boys clothing are probably called sporting costumes or something like that. There were tennis costumes, bicycle costumes, swimming costumes, etc.

  10. Very interesting history. And those little guys are so cute! So very sad though about their department store being seized.

  11. That's a cute picture and interesting story.

    Sailor suits were so popular for boys that they were made with many variations, and not all looked like the ones real sailors wore.

  12. I have one from photographer Tietz also. It is here.


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