Friday, June 3, 2011

Oh, the Automobile!

When cars first became available they were still out of reach for many. But if you couldn't buy your own automobile, you could at least pose in one for a studio photograph.


Here are the backs of the cards in the same order.

 The card above was sent to Mrs. Minnie Freese in the small town of Veazie, Maine in 1911.  The people sending the card from Seattle, Washington don't seem to know her personally, but they plan to meet her at the train from her cross-country journey. From the writing style, it would appear that C.N. Babcock is accustomed to writing telegrams.

Mrs. Freese
We received letter. We meet you at train Mrs. Mortin live in town I know where lives  I probly will see here to day I am writing this on my purs so exquse my writing if you should not find us ther fret we will be there  I will give you my phone (sunSet) phone queen Ann 2964 
C.N. Babcock



Motor on over to Sepia Saturday for more old photos.

21 comments:

  1. Brilliant idea for studio portrait. This practice should be brought back in. We could all pose on the terraces of stately homes . . . and driving Bentleys.

    Lucy

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  2. I found it odd that it is the woman's hands on the steering wheel in the two photos. Somebody told her to do that.

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  3. I posed for a photo in an old car with my family at a museum when I was young. There probably are still places where you can do that.

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  4. The idea still holds for me -- when out and traveling i often photograph things rather than buying them - and the photo is my souvenir.

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  5. Ahhhh, so much better than a Tweet.

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  6. These are spectacular postcards Christine. I am very jealous.

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  7. I would be surprised if a studio photographer would spend as much money as that on a mere prop. I'm wondering whether these portraits weren't perhaps taken by an intinerant or travelling photographer, who used his own car as a prop, perhaps housed inside a tent. The second shot certainly does look as though it's inside a tent. Spectacular images indeed (I agree with Howard), provoking some thought, thank you Christine.

    As far as the woman with her hands on the wheel is concerned, I'll bite my tongue.

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  8. Great postcards, particularly the first one. Check out their expressions....I show more enthusiasm when I get x-ray pics taken!

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  9. Brett is absolutely right. I use the term studio too loosely. these pictures were generally only taken at fairs and Expositions.

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  10. These cards are great fun. The first one looks like the couple "ain't never see'd a machine like this here", the second like the group is ready for another drink, and the third like the bank is right around the corner and they are about to rob the joint! As a note, the first card does say 'Electric Studio' on the back with a Seattle address, which suggests it was indeed a studio with a permanent address rather than a traveling attraction.

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  11. Christine, these are awesome. It was fun to read the literal translation. I was wondering why the handwriting was so large on such a small card; glad she told us that she was writing on her purse.

    Thanks so much for stopping by to visit,

    Kathy M.

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  12. These are just so wonderful and make me think back on the cardboard "car" cutout they used to have at Santa Cruz on the boardwalk. I have a picture of myself and two friends. My friend who is driving has her eyes partially closed giving it more than a goo possibility that she'd have gotten pulled over for a DUI. We were 12 at the time.

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  13. Nice collage of a time when the automobile was still a novelty. Too many now. Could C.N. Babcock on the first card be a caretaker/hotel owner writing to a summer client? The postcard and telegram could be almost as fast in communicating as a phone and they would have to be used for rural areas without phones.

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  14. I like the way the writing spirals around the edge, not to waste paper!

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  15. Women Drivers!!!!(re: the first postcard)

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  16. Great pictures. What an odd little message in rather stlted style; you could be right about the telegrams!

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  17. This is my first acquaintance with car photographs such as these, Christine. They are really interesting and fun. It's interesting that in the 2nd one, the woman is at the wheel. I don't know the history of driving but just because of the customs of the time, I wonder if driving was generally limited to men. Thanks for sharing these.

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  18. i-just-love how the ladies made sure to keep an hand on the wheel...
    ;)~
    HUGZ

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  19. That man in the first postcard looks like a terrible backseat driver (lol).
    Christine

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  20. I have one of these, a father and daughter (I think) posing in a car c. 1910s. The photo was in a beautiful cardboard folder from Coney Island.

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  21. Interesting photos - I agree about the enthusiasm - my teeth x-rays have better smiles. These are the first auto posed pictures I've seen! thanks for sharing

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