Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sentimental Sunday - Women with Hats - Feathery Hat on Columbus, O. Woman 1880's (Victorian)

This very stylish young woman had her photograph taken by photographer Pfeifer in Columbus, O. in the late 1880's.  I am putting the date around 1888.  She is wearing a fashionable bustled dress with beautiful pearl-like trim.  One tiny drop earring is showing and a hoop bracelet appears on her right wrist.  She is also wearing a large corsage with white flowers to offset the darker color of the dress.  I wish I knew what color is was; possibly gray or brown?  Her hat is stunning of course with the large feathery plumes and I see a dark satin bow on the right side.

1888 Columbus, Ohio Woman
It's hard to tell from this scan, but this cabinet card has gold-gilt beveled edges which was one of my clues in dating the photograph.  The photographer was John A. Pfeifer of Columbus who had a photography business in Columbus for many years. I found him listed in the city directory up until 1887 at the address on the card.  In the 1889 directory he had moved his business to a different address. He was born about 1858 in Ohio to German immigrant parents. I also found him listed in the 1920 census living in a boarding house, a widower and still working as a photographer.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Sepia Saturday #256 - Fun Festivals and Fabulous Feathers

Possible themes for this week's Sepia Saturday include festivals, floats, feathers and fair maidens. Hmmm.  Well, after much consideration I think I can do the festivals and feathers.  I have lots of fair maidens but will save those for another day.

This first photo is a photo postcard of the downtown square of my hometown Mount Vernon, Illinois dated between 1904 and 1910.  I have no idea what the celebration was about and had quite a discussion on a Facebook group I belong to with fellow Mt. Vernon history buffs and no one came up with a definitive answer.  The women in white appear to belong to some organization, possibly like the Salvation Army and note the child in the middle carrying the American flag.  

One thing I love about this photo is that Mt. Vernon's main streets all used to be paved in brick, but with modernization those have sadly been paved over.  (Click on photos to enlarge).

Mt. Vernon, IL Square 1904 - 1910

This second photo postcard is Trenton, New Jersey from the same time period and depicts the 1909 Inter-State Fair.  Trenton is the birthplace of my husband's father and of many of his ancestors which is what drew me to it.

Trenton, NJ Inter-State Fair 1909

Well, that covers the for the feathers.  Two of my favorite birds are flamingos and peacocks and I just happen to have old Florida postcards of both.  The first one is of the famous flamingos of the Hialeah Park and Racing Casino.  This is a linen postcard ca. 1930's.  The flamingos were introduced into the park in 1934 from Cuba to inhabit the infield lake and have since become an iconic Florida image.  This particular postcard shows a breeding flock of flamingos with nests and five eggs.  

I myself have taken hundreds of photographs of them at Flamingo Gardens in Davie, FL including this one and never tire of looking at them.  Such beautiful birds!

And finally the majestic Peacock!  Another linen postcard from the 1930's or 40's from the Parrot Jungle in Miami, Florida.

I also photographed this beautiful peacock at Flamingo Gardens.  I chased the poor things all over the park in fact, trying to get one to open his tail feather to no avail.  I learned later that only the males open their plumes and only twice a year during mating rituals.  Just my luck!

Well, that's my entry for this week.  I urge every one to fly over to Sepia Saturday and check out all the wonderful photo's and stories.  You won't be disappointed!

Fashionable Friday - 1860's Brooklyn, New York Woman in Military Style Dress (Victorian)

This attractive young 1860’s woman is quite stylish in her military style dress. The military style dress was very popular in the Civil War era up to the early 1870’s and is recognizable by the geometric patterns on the sleeve and waist.  Although not seen in the photograph I would bet the hem of the skirt has similar patterns.  There are many things to discuss in this CDV.

First, in dating this CDV the thickness of the card tells me it was made between 1862 – 1869.  Usually when no border is present you can assume the date to be between 1862-1863, however; on inspection of the back, the revenue stamp gives us much information.  The stamp, which in itself dates the photo between 1864 and 1866, is also initialed by the photographer, E. M. Douglass, and he has added “Jan 6” which must mean Jan 1866.

The subject is identified as “Carrie Vanderveer Little.  I was very successful identifying her on  She was born as Caroline Vanderveer 31 August 1945 in Somerset, New Jersey to Philip Vanderveer and Aletta VanNest.  On 10 October 1867 she married Garret Quick Little in Somerset County, New Jersey and they had seven children. The Littles moved to Iowa sometime in the 1870’s and Carrie died there in 1915. Click here to see a photo of her later in life. According to her obituary she was a much loved woman. The photographer was E. M. Douglass of 324 Fulton St. Brooklyn, NY.

I am contacting a couple of people on who appear to be descendants to see if there is interest in receiving ownership of this photo.  I will keep my readers updated.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Those Places Thursday - 1860's Actress Ada Webb

For a very long time I've wanted to post this CDV photograph of a very beautiful and contemplative young woman.  This photo was taken by C. D. Fredericks of 587 Broadway, New York, 108 Calle de la Habana, Habana, and 31 Passage du Havre, Paris. My belief is that this was taken in New York City, due to information published by Benson John Lossing1. By looking at several things including the thin green border lines I can determine this the date of the photograph as between 1863 – 1864.

The subject is unidentified, but what is quite interesting is that while perusing Pinterest just the other night I came across this photograph of two sisters and the one on the left is most obviously my subject.  I tried to no avail to trace back to the original poster in the hopes of finding more information about that particular photograph – very frustrating indeed. 

UPDATE August 2018:  This is actress Ada Webb who often acted on the stage in the 1860's with her sister Emma Webb.

In researching the photographer, I identified him as Charles Deforest Fredericks born in 1823, died 1894.  He was born wealthy, taken to Cuba as a boy and when his father’s fortunes plummeted in the crash of 1837 he was unable to attend college.  He abandoned a finance career and sought his fortune in Venezuela.  Seeking something to fall back on he took up photography, taking lessons from Jeremiah Gurney.  After a serious misadventure in in Brazil he traveled to the United States before returning to South America.  He mastered his craft then crossed the Atlantic and using the glass negative conquered Paris.  Using the image enlarger developed by Snelling he created life size portraits and make a small fortune.

He returned to New York as a celebrity and established the successful Fredericks Studio on Broadway opposite the Metropolitan Hotel which was the largest and most stylish gallery in the city.  The studio was destroyed by fire in 1875 and relocated to 770 Broadway.  Fredericks died in 1894.

1History of New York City, (New York, Perine, 1884), 411-13.  Charles DeForest Fredericks, The Photographic Journal of America 31 (1894), 310.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wedding Wednesday - Exquisite 1920's (Art Deco Era) New York City Bride

What can say about this stunning 1920's New York City bride.  She is a vision of bridal perfection. Her dress is so beautiful and ethereal, but what is amazing is if you look closely, her dress is actually a short sleeved, light shift almost like a chemise. This seems to be a common theme in the 1920's and they were all so beautiful.  There is much more to the veil it seems than the dress.  The wrap-around headdress is magnificent with its pearl beading. She is also wearing a long pearl necklace and note her full length lacy gloves. 

Unfortunately, this beautiful bride is unidentified which is quite sad; she is probably someone's mother, grandmother or great-grandmother and I'm sure they would love to have this photograph.

The photographer was Speiss of 54 Second Avenue, New York.  His technique was excellent in the softness he applied to her face; she is truly a  bride for the ages.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tintype Tuesday - Seven 1890's (Victorian Era) Women Pose in Their Finest

This tintype of seven 1890's women is in poor shape, very dark, scratched and discolored.  I did what I could to make it easier to view, but after I brightened it up and removed some of the scratches I realized that either the photographer was not very good or the women were moving because there is some blur in the photo.  

These ladies are all dressed in their finest clothes and wearing hats. It is very easy to see from the style of their dress, especially the sleeves, that this is probably mid-1890's.  Tintypes began to lose favor towards the end of the nineteenth century.  They were often produced as souvenirs on boardwalks and at carnivals. I wonder who these ladies were and what was the circumstance for this shot.  We'll never know, but from the looks on their faces they weren't afraid to have fun!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Military Monday - WW1 Soldier and Cosmopolitan Friend

I came across this quirky and fun photo of a World War 1 soldier and a friend sitting on a bench.  It's a fun photo; the soldier has a slight smirk on his face and his companion appears to be reading an issue of Cosmopolitan magazine.  There is no clue to identification or date on the back and I had hoped to date it by finding the date of the magazine issue, but could not find this issue doing an Internet search.

Something about the soldier's face was familiar and then I remembered a post I did from a couple of years ago:  Military Monday - Unknown WW1 Soldier.  The photos in that post were dated 1917 on the back and this is quite obviously the same person.  These photos are all small snapshots measuring 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches and are in a large envelope I have marked "Michigan Family" and which I purchased some time ago off eBay.  I searched through all the photographs again hoping for a clue to this soldiers identity but alas with no luck.  It is my belief that this was spring 1917 before this young man shipped off to war; I can only hope he returned from war and lived a long and happy life.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sentimental Sunday - Women with Hats - Stylish Nebraska Woman

I have very little information about this week’s Woman with Hats subject.  This unidentified woman from Lynch, Nebraska was most likely photographed in the late 1890’s or very possibly early 1900’s.  Her hat is quite a treat to behold and note the pin at the base of the front just above her hairline.  Her high-necked dress has a lacy insert and the sleeves are just a bit poufy which leads me to believe this is late 1890’s.

This photograph was quite intriguing as the photographer was a woman which was not the norm.  I am quite frustrated as I cannot make out her name.  I have tried numerous Internet and searches in hopes of finding her but to no avail. It appears to be Mabel C. Co____ or Mabel G. Go____.  I’m hoping someone can provide me with some insight to her identity. Regardless of her identity the subject creates quite a lovely picture.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sepia Saturday - Turn of the Century Woman in Silhouette (Edwardian Era)

This past week I made my reentry into publishing blog entries after nearly a year and a half away.  It felt like meeting up with an old friend, one you haven’t seen in a long time, but fall right back into where you left off.  Today I return to another old friend, Sepia Saturday, who I have also greatly missed, and the wonderful people who post each week.

This week the subject is based around making silhouettes.  I had the perfect photos in mind, but of course, cannot find them.  A year ago my computer crashed (part of the reason I've been away so long) and when my son was helping purchase and set up my new equipment he insisted on putting all my carefully cataloged photos on an external hard drive while saying, “Mother, who keeps 40,000 photos on her C drive?”  Well, me of course.  The photos are now jumbled in a giant mess and I have neither the energy nor the expertise to efficiently organize them.

I finally decided on this photo of a very interesting "turn of the century" young woman in silhouette pose.  She is wearing a high-necked white blouse quite typical for the time and I love the poofy, flowery bow in her hair.  What really drew me to purchase this photograph was her spectacles – they help make her face so interesting.

The photographer was Elmer M. Enlow born in Lee Township, Athens County, Ohio on September 17, 1867 according to Jeffrey Weidman in his book, Artists in Ohio, 1787 - 1900:  A Biographical Dictionary.  According to Weidman, Enlow bought his studio from John C. Brannan in 1898 and was still active as of 1905.

I urge all my readers to click this link, Sepia Saturday, for more great photos and fascinating stories.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tintype Tuesday - Stylish Young 1880's (Victorian Era) Woman with Hat

I love this tintype of a stylish young 1870's woman wearing bustled dress and hat.  She is leaning on a photographer's fake stone prop and is holding a handkerchief in her hand. Her dress has the typical fitted bodice and front buttons of the time and she is wearing a dark colored boater-type hat with what appears to be feathers on the top.  I love the not so typical bangs of her hairstyle.  She is quite lovely and I can't help wondering what she was thinking.

Update:  This one has been bothering me and I am changing the timeline to 1880's!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sentimental Sunday - Women with Hats - Edwardian Era Michigan Woman with Felt Hat

I have been shamefully absent from my blog for a very long time for multiple reasons.  These include a new job, spousal health problems and just plain burnout, but it has been calling to me lately so today I return with this young woman from the turn of the century.

Anna Budd

I am estimating this photograph, which was taken in Portland, Michigan, to have been taken circa 1900. The young woman is identified on the back as Anna Budd.  She looks quite serious in her dark starched dress with white neckscarf.  She is wearing some type of pin on the scarf and her hat is tam style with a small pom on the top.  Underneath her hairstyle appears to be the fashionable for the time Gibson Girl style.  I found a few Anna Budds on, but was not able to conclusively identify her.

The photographer was F. B. Rhodes of Portland, Michigan, most likely Frank Bartlett Rhodes who was born about 1865 in Michigan and died 10 November 1921 in Gaylord, MI.  He had several studios in the state including one in Portland in this time frame.

Portland, MI City Directory 1903

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