Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Harry Starr's Magnificent Scrapbook

I wonder if it was typical for little boys to keep scrapbooks like this in the 1880s. Harry Starr seems to have lived in Baltimore, Maryland, based on the advertising cards in his scrapbook.
The front of the album is both ornate and exotic.

Harry's name and the date (January 31st, 1884) are written neatly on the first page, probably by his mother.

Harry has glued an assortment of images, religious messages,  and advertisements on the album's twenty pages, which are now very brittle with age.

I was able to scan these pages because they have come loose and are no longer attached to the binding. The rest of the pages are still attached, and scanning them would compromise the already delicate condition of the binding.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tram Tuesday - Milan, Italy

This is a phantom streetcar. Board at your own risk, because you never know where it could take you. It reminds me of the title of Buñuel's movie, Illusion Travels by Streetcar.

I am not an expert on perspective, but logic tells me that the man on the left is farther away than the streetcar, therefore he should appear smaller than the people riding it--the ones that are so tiny you can't even see them. Maybe he's walking away dejected because the conductor told him he was too big to board. More likely it's a case of turn-of the century photo editing. The image probably seemed a little dull, but nothing the addition of a streetcar wouldn't fix!

It doesn't look similar to the other streetcars in the background either, but it could be that there were different kinds operating at the same time. Still, the numbering of trams wasn't introduced until 1910, and I have a feeling the base image is earlier than that.

Trams have been operating continuously since 1876 in Milan, with transitions from horse-drawn to steam-powered, and then electric. Although there were also post WWII cuts that persisted through the 1970s, the system survived. As in a number of other cities, trams have managed to regain favor in Milan resulting in a revival of tram service.

The second card shows a seemingly congested center terminus in front of the magnificent Piazza del Duomo in Milan. There was no photo editing here. They didn't even remove the wire or cable that crosses the image diagonally.

Here's the ultimate edited postcard image, showing Berlin's Nollendorfer Platz. My guess is that the street was empty on the original image. I like the final result though.

Here's the back of the card.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Lake Oquaga, New York

When you walk into Scott's Oquaga Lake House in the Catskills of upstate New York, you might just as well have stepped out of a time machine in the 1940s or 50s. In fact, I'm guessing it wasn't all that different in the teens/early1920s when Grace Shapley was there.

I have a folder of negatives and prints that belonged to Grace, showing Binghamton and surrounding areas, including Oquaga Lake, Russel Sage College, as well as Syracuse University and Scranton, Pennsylvania. Grace was born in Binghamton in1903. In the 1920 Census her father is listed as proprietor of an iron foundry, presumably Shapley and Wells, which manufactured steam engines.

The young woman on the right is standing a little too close to the edge for my comfort. I don't know who any of the people are, but I really like the clothing, including these boys' shoes.


I think I have a clear sense of what it must have been like to spend time at the relaxed family resort, because it just doesn't seem to have changed that much. The resort has been there since 1869. We stopped by for lunch on October 7, 2007.

Here's a copy of the menu.

This is a sign on the outside of one of the buildings; it looks like it's been there for awhile too.

You can take dancing lessons in Scott's Playhouse or canoeing lessons out on the lake. There's also shuffleboard and a golf course where Grace took a few pictures.

Here's a photo of the Scott's bus and a couple of guys who may have been slightly damaged on their voyage in the time machine.

Friday, October 26, 2012

More Photo Sleuthing

Remember the Hendersons from yesterday's post? Well, I unearthed some more photos from the family and discovered that I had also posted something on one of them in 2010...and forgotten all about it. And that photo was from a different box of photographs. It just goes to show you how things can get mixed up. It was another one of those Aha! moments.

The first carte de visite photo is labeled James and Hanna Henderson. The 1850 Census shows them both born in about 1806. They had 10 children. One of those, Ezra, was the father of all Hendersons from yesterday's post. This photograph was probably taken around between 1865 and 1870.

James and Hanna Henderson
Then there's this carte de visite, which is hard to stop looking at! It must be linked to the Anna Henderson Nesbitt in some way, but I couldn't tell you how. Isn't it the oddest thing? Is he a giant? Is she a midget? The writing on the back says this is Eliza Nesbitt and father, and the imprint on the back shows that it was taken at A. Hickox Gallery of Art in Binghamton, New York.

Eliza Nesbitt and father
This post is really about Anna Eliza Henderson (1868-1950) who married William S. Nesbitt Jr. (1852-1931). This is the lovely photo from yesterday of Anna with William and their son George Earl Nesbitt, who went by the name Earl (born 1895).

William, Anna, and Earl Nesbitt

And here's another photo of Earl, relaxing in an ornate wicker chair. The photo was taken by S.S. Cornell of Stamford, New York.

Earl Nesbitt
But Anna and William had another child, Lillian, who was born in 1890 and is not shown in the family photograph, because she died at the age of six when Earl was only one year old. The writing on the back of the card says Lillian Nesbitt, Earl's sister.

Lillian Nesbitt
10/31/12 Update. I just found another photo labeled Anna Nesbitt and daughter Lillian., so I'm adding it. 

Finally, here's the photo I posted in 2010 that I had forgotten about. It shows Anna and William Nesbitt at the Los Angeles Ostrich farm in California. The back of the card is labeled Anna Nesbitt Boggs. Why Boggs? Because she remarried.  But we can see that this is clearly her first husband, William Nesbitt in the photograph.

Anna Nesbitt Boggs
The second husband, William Sidney Boggs (1868-1957), was still listed as widowed in the 1940 Census, and Anna Henderson Nesbitt died in 1950, so it must have been a brief marriage when they were both in their 70s. As the previous post of Anna Nesbitt Boggs at the Ostrich Farm will tell you (the one I forgot about!), Anna is buried next to her first husband in the Valley Views Cemetery in Stamford, New York.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Photo Sleuthing

So, I get this big box of unsorted photographs that belonged to my father-in-law. Who knows where he got them. Photographs from different sources ended up in the same box--cabinet cards, tin types, cartes de visite, slides, glass negatives. But the minute you start separating them you are potentially discarding the clues that could tell you who these people are. It turns out that many of them are actually connected.

Here's an example. I find a number of photographs with the last name Henderson on them.  The Census provides me with basic clues, but some of the siblings have already left home and married by 1900. I can't find anything in the 1880 Census, but there are some useful newspaper articles. At the turn of the century and even into the 1940s, local newspapers would often let you know that Mr. and Mrs. So and So were hosting her sister Mrs. Everett Squires and the name of the town she was from. This it what brings it all together.

The writing on the back of this photograph, taken in Stamford, New York, tells us that this is Mary Henderson when she was 18 years old. The 1910 Census shows that she was born in 1881 and lived in Neversink, Sullivan County, New York with her husband, George Muhlig (more on them in a future post.)

Mary Jane Henderson

Then there's a photo labeled Hannah Thompson. I would have missed the connection, despite the resemblance, if I hadn't found a newspaper article that identified them as sisters. She was born Hanna Henderson in 1877 and the 1910 Census shows her living in Middletown, New York with her Husband, Andrew Thompson. Just in case I had any doubts about her last name, the Census shows that her aunt, Nancy Henderson, lived with them.

Hannah Thompson
10/31/13: I just found a photo of the aunt, Nancy Henderson, so I'm adding that. I'm sure she was a lot friendlier than she appears.

There's a photo labeled Will Nesbitt and family, with a woman looking very similar to these two. Sure enough, she turns out to be Anna Eliza Henderson, born in 1868. The 1910 Census shows her living with her husband, William Nesbitt and their 5-year-old son, George Earl.

Will Nesbitt and family
There's another photo with the name Elizabeth Squires written on the back. I would have missed the connection here if it hadn't been for the newspaper article that referred to one of the sisters as Mrs. Everett Squires. Elizabeth Henderson was born in 1885 and is show in the 1900 Census living in Middletown, New York with her parents and brothers James and John.

Elizabeth Squires

This photo is labeled John Henderson, Grandma's brother.  John was born in 1887.

John Henderson
And then there are the photo postcards with Jay Johnson written on the back of them. This must be James, born in 1883.

There are probably other photographs in this box that are related to these in ways I will never know. But at least I know to keep these together. More on the Nesbitts and the Muhligs coming soon.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Just Peachy

I finally got around to scanning an envelope of slides that was just labeled Kodachrome slides.  I had no idea who they were, so I thought I'd post them as Anonymous Family slides.   

Anonymous Family slides have played an important role in slide shows around here. The architect who steals my covers loves to take pictures when he travels and he used to invite friends to see slide shows from these trips. The problem is that he tends to only take pictures of buildings; human subjects are few and far between. To keep the audience from falling asleep, he would insert slides of the Anonymous Family in between every dozen or so building images. We still don't know who that Anonymous Family was, but they went on lots of trips to national parks and wore a lot of plaid--and they were popular with the slide viewing audiences. The image below reminded me very much of those slides.

Elizabeth with Mom and brother
It didn't take me long to realize that this was not an anonymous family though. These slides are from Elizabeth Brady Cabot Winslow's family. (See previous post on Elizabeth and on her father Hugh.) I thought I recognized her, but the photo with her brother and father is very recognizable. These are all from the mid/late 1940s.

Elizabeth with Dad and brother
Elizabeth with Mom and brother in front of peach tree

Maybe someone they knew was in the car ahead? Otherwise I can't imagine the reason for this photo.

Included in these slides are a good number of images with a finger across the top. Makes you grateful for digital cameras, doesn't it? At least you don't have to pay to have them developed.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tram Tuesday - Frankfurt, Germany

Trams have been operating in Frankfurt since 1872.  The tram system is alive and well and integrated with light rail (U-Bahn), suburban rail (S-Bahn) and the bus system. According to Wikipedia,  two new sections have been added to the streetcar system in the past few years and additional service will be added to serve neighborhoods with medium transit needs. The reason cited is that "trams are more attractive to the traveling public than buses and cheaper to build than underground railways." It's interesting to see trams replacing bus service, a reversal of trends in the mid 20th century.

Here are some postcards showing early views of Frankfurt with streetcars. The first two are both from about 1910, showing the same church from different angles.

The next two cards both show views of Zeil, Frankfurt's vibrant shopping street. The first one was sent in 1898, at a time when there were still horse-drawn trams, as well as steam-powered and electric ones. I can't tell which kind this one is, because it's tiny and there are some carriage horses in front of it.

On the next one, sent in 1903, you can see the overhead wires.

The last card shows an electric tram in front of the magnificent Circus Schumann, which was destroyed by Allied bombs in World War II. According to Circopedia, the U.S. Army used what was left of the building (the facade, foyer, and restaurants right behind it) until 1958.  The remains of the building were demolished in 1960.

That white object in the sky to the right of the building is a highly-stylized cloud, probably the strangest one I've seen, added by the person who tinted the card. This tinting process was also used to obscure unsightly things like overhead streetcar wires.

I love it when people write dates and document other happenings on the back of cards.  If we had been around 100 years ago, we too could have celebrated Otto's birthday at Circus Schumann.

The back of the first card looks just like the one above, but with no writing, so I won't post it. Here are the backs of cards 2, 3, and 4.


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