I bought a packet of photos on ebay that were described as “Vintage Lot of 40 old black and white photographs/portraits Wichita, Kansas WOW”. I ended up being the winner, although that title is dubious in this case. Guess I was curious to see if I knew anyone in the photos. I just received them today, but only recognized a couple of people.
I’ll post a few of them to see if there is any recognition and if anyone wants one! Please! Some of them are press photos taken by LuVerne Paine. She was the first woman photographer at the Wichita Eagle. I’ve copied some text from an online remembrance of her — she died at the age of 91 in 2009.
The Eagle lost another alum this week. LuVerne Paine, the first woman to be hired on the Eagle’s photo staff died this week at age 91. I visited LuVerne last year on her 90th birthday and despite failing health at that time she still had fond memories of her many years spent at the Eagle.
Joan Rivers says that when she comes across an ugly baby and can’t think of what to say, she comments on how nice the crib is!
Here is some background in case you haven’t read my earlier posts. My older brother and I were both adopted from The Willows Maternity Sanitarium in Kansas City, Missouri. We aren’t related genetically, but grew up together and are close. As close as two complete recluses can be.
My brother is four years older. After my parents adopted him, they immediately set the wheels in motion to adopt another baby. Single child households were not common back in the late 1940’s – early 1950’s as these were the baby boom years after WWII.
In order to adopt another child, my older brother was taken to a child psychologist and interviewed. I’ve copied what the psychologist wrote about him.
And she was dead on about my brother. From an early age, he showed incredible mechanical genius. He was a mad inventor even as a little kid. My brother made rocket fuel in the basement. He created a mechanical witch that popped out of the clothes hamper in the bathroom to scare me when I got up in the middle of the night to pee. And on and on. Mom said that whenever she visited his elementary school unannounced, he was always standing out in the hall being punished for one thing or another. Honestly, he was just bored. A.A. Hyde Elementary School didn’t appreciate his aptitude and also didn’t know how to handle him with the exception of making him stand in the hall.
In 1951, my parents were given the opportunity to adopt a baby girl (me). One month after my birth, they drove to Kansas City to pick me up. As you can see, I was skinny, very red and hairy. My eyes appeared oversized, much too big for my face.
The state of Missouri has finally changed their laws on Sealed Adoption Records. If both biological parents are dead (and you can prove it), you can petition the Court to receive a copy of your adoption file. (I have written more on this subject in earlier posts)
I finally received a very thick manila envelope of paperwork from the Circuit Court of Jackson County. Inside were pychological evaluations of my parents, letters of reference, copies of receipts, etc.
Luckily for me, Mom didn’t see me through other people’s eyes. If she had known what the home visitor had written, that I was not pretty and not precocious, she would have driven to Kansas City and kicked her in the butt! Once they got us, Mom and Dad were the most loyal parents ever.
Below is copied from a letter that Mom wrote to the social worker in Kansas City. (a copy of her letter was in my big manila evelope)
Her hair is very dark for a tiny baby and her head is beautifully shaped. I have seen pretty babies, but none as pretty as Jan. Now, if we can just teach her all the things that must go with her being so beautiful.
I wish our pictures truly could show you how sweet our baby is, but some day we will be in Kansas City and we will bring her to see you.
Thanks Mom and Dad! R.I.P.
this is the blog I’ve been looking for! it is sad when people throw away family photos. here is a chance to reclaim them.
Mildred C. Burch, was a very studious looking 18 year old in 1931! She was born in Michigan in June of 1913 and lived her entire live in Canton, Wayne County, Michigan. She died there on May 13, 2006.
She was the youngest child of Elmer Burch and Catherine Kobbeman. The family consisted of brother Ralph (4 years older) and sister Henrietta (2 years older). Elmer was a farmer. He married Catherine, a much older woman, in 1908. Elmer was 26 and Catherine was 38 – at least according to 2 out of 3 census records. Catherine’s brother, Mildred’s uncle, lived with the family for many years.
According to her obituary, Mildred married Albert Foege and they had 3 children. She died in Canton where she has was born and raised and is buried in Riverside cemetery in Plymouth – probably not far from where this photo was taken. Find…
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Genetically, I’m almost completely from the British Isles — I’m Welsh, Irish, Scottish and English. And since I’ve lived in both England and Jamaica, I ask you, why wouldn’t I love pirate stories? This past year I’ve been on a pirate kick and have read four very different swashbuckling books. Two were nonfiction and two were fiction.
First, I read Michael Crichton’s fiction book, “Pirate Latitudes”. It was set in the Caribbean around 1665 and tells the tale of how English “privateers” went after the Spanish ships carrying gold from the New World back to Spain. Nothing new here. Most considered themselves patriots in that they fought a guerrilla war against Spain and the Spanish colonies.
Crichton being the genius that he was, R.I.P., adds enough historical facts to this story to make it a plausible tale. And of course he adds his own wild ideas, some humor, some sex, some rum and away we go! The captain of the Cassandra, Charles Hunter, is the very manly hero. When Hunter hears that a Spanish galleon full of gold has docked at a nearby island, he is quickly at work putting together a motley crew of characters in preparation for attack. I won’t spoil it, but it is worth the read. I would recommend it as a summer beach read, especially if you can hear the surf breaking against the shore.
Second, I read a fantastic nonfiction book titled, “Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean: How a Generation of Swashbuckling Jews Carved Out an Empire in the New World in their Quest for Treasure, Religious Freedom — and Revenge”, by Edward Kritzler.
Edward Kritzler spent a lot of time in Jamaica researching his book using historical documents preserved there in the national archives. A well known Jewish Jamaican, Ainsley Henriques, provided some of the funding for his research. Here is a link to “Pieces of the Past” from the “Jamaican Gleaner” (a Jamaican newspaper) about the Jews in Jamaica.
This article is a fascinating read by itself. I recommend reading it as it compliments the book, “Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean”.
After being expelled from Spain during the late 1400s (during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella), the Jews that were able to leave lost everything. Those that ventured to the New World found revenge in piracy against the Spanish by attacking the Spanish ships. This is a chapter of Jewish history that has been overlooked. The book also does a good job of explaining this period in Spanish history and the diaspora in general. Again, I am not going to copy the story, as Edward Kritzler does much a better job of it than I ever could.
“Jewish Pirates”, needs a bit more attention than you could give it at the beach. Still, it is wild and woolly enough to keep you engrossed. It is what I’d call a very fun history book.
Third I read, “If a Pirate I Must Be. . .The True Story of “Black Bart”, King of the Caribbean Pirates”, by Richard Sanders.
Again, this is nonfiction. Mr. Sanders goes way beyond the mere history of “Black Bart”, the pirate. The book does a great job of explaining shipping at that time, slaving ships, the Royal Navy, tropical disease and so much more. Again, it is a really fun history book. The book also deals with Black Bart’s sexuality and perhaps reveals the origination of the greeting, “hello, sailor!”
This could be a good read for a cruise, as the ocean as a backdrop would add so much ambiance. Just don’t lose yourself and start singing, “yo, ho, ho” at the bar or the other passengers may make you walk the plank.
Last, I reread, “Treasure Island”, by Robert Louis Stevenson. If you have a Kindle from amazon, you can download it for free (which I did). Thanks, amazon!
This book was so much better than I remembered. It’s a classic tale that has never lost its appeal. And, of course, the hero is the boy Jim Hawkins. The beauty is seeing how our Jim tricks and defeats the horrible Long John Silver. It is full of adventure, the silliness of adults, and lots of “pirate talk”.
Again, what a fun book to read at the beach! Or under the covers at night with a flashlight, like when you were a child.
So — that’s it for pirates for now. And, if you noticed, I never mentioned Johnny Depp even once. . .ooops.
We live near an antique mall that has a booth dedicated to old postcards, magazines and snapshots. I enjoy looking though the boxes and picking out a few photos or postcards when the mood strikes me. I only like the photos that have names on them. Some of the other photos are really great, but they aren’t any fun because I can’t find them on ancestry.com or google. The same booth also has a box of carte de visite — but again, just photos and no names. But the carte de visite are so wonderful that I may break down and buy a few. I’ve copied the information below from Wikipedia.
The carte de visite (abbreviated CdV or CDV, and also spelled carte-de-visite or erroneously referred to as carte de ville) was a type of small photograph which was patented in Paris, France by photographer André Adolphe Eugène Disdéri in 1854, although first used by Louis Dodero. It was usually made of an albumen print, which was a thin paper photograph mounted on a thicker paper card. The size of a carte de visite is 54.0 mm (2.125 in) × 89 mm (3.5 in) mounted on a card sized 64 mm (2.5 in) × 100 mm (4 in). In 1854, Disdéri had also patented a method of taking eight separate negatives on a single plate, which reduced production costs. The Carte de Visite was slow to gain widespead use until 1859, when Disdéri published Emperor Napoleon III‘s photos in this format. This made the format an overnight success, and the new invention was so popular it was known as “cardomania” and eventually spread throughout the world.
Each photograph was the size of a visiting card, and such photograph cards became enormously popular and were traded among friends and visitors. The immense popularity of these card photographs led to the publication and collection of photographs of prominent persons. “Cardomania” spread throughout Europe and then quickly to America. Albums for the collection and display of cards became a common fixture in Victorian parlors.
It’s a shame when people throw away photo albums. If you do a search on ebay, you can always find family memorabilia that you would think someone would want to hold onto.
Below is a photo of Bert and Mabel Kimball, taken on their silver wedding anniversary in 1932.
A quick search on ancestry.com places Bert and Mabel in Berwyn, Custer County, Nebraska in the 1940 census. Bert’s occupation is listed as “farmer”. I bet a few are wondering, “how do you know that is really true?” Ha! Because “Berwyn, NE” is written in tiny letters at about the level of Mabel’s hem.
This next photo is fun because the two gentlemen look a little bit like the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy. I don’t have enough information to do a quick search for them because the caption only says “Mr. Deweese and Friend”, Franklin, Indiana. The photo was taken around 1912. (over 100 years old!) Please note the resemblance between “Deweese & friend” and “Laurel and Hardy”.
Next is a cute photo of three children. There is a lot of information written on the front. Left to right is Paul Samuel Caton and Harold and Beulah Royce. The photo was taken at Dos Palos, California in 1912.
Paul is dressed in a Little Lord Fauntleroy style outfit. Harold looks full of mischief! (and a little like Alfred E. Newman from “Mad” magazine) A quick search of Paul Samuel Caton shows that he was born 1904 in Oklahoma and in the 1920 census, was living in Dos Palos, CA. And the California death index lists that Paul Samuel Caton, born 1904 in Oklahoma, died 1988 in Alameda, CA. What a lot one photo can tell you about a person.
There isn’t a clue on this photo as to who these people were. This is actually a postcard mailed to Mrs. Mary Nelson of Shenandoah, Iowa. The note is addressed to “Dear Ma” and it mentions that the chickens are hatching. The reason I bought it is because I live in jeans and t-shirts and can’t imagine having to wear such an incredible amount of clothing. And, probably, under the outer layer there is another layer of petticoats and whatever. The stamp on the postcard is a 1 cent green George Washington and a quick google lookup says that stamp was probably issued in 1908. The postmark on the card is too faint to read.
This is an unsigned, unsent photo postcard. I don’t have a clue who this man is, but he reminded me of Lurch from The Addams family. In a lot of these photos, the photographer poses the person next to a piece of furniture. In this case, a table. I have no reason why they did this — but it does show how tall this gentleman was.
I was born and adopted from The Willows Maternity Sanitarium in Kansas City, Missouri. During its heyday, the Willows advertised “Superior Babies for Adoption”. After searching for newspaper articles that made reference to The Willows, I came across a scandal that involved The Willows in 1924. (If you would like more background information on The Willows, please see my earlier posts)
Miss Lydia Locke appeared at the Willows Maternity Hospital in 1924 calling herself Mrs. Ira Johnson of Hannibal, Missouri. She had references in place and the Willows was satisfied enough with her story that she left with a newborn baby boy. Miss Locke allegedly “borrowed” that baby in order to receive an additional sum from her wealthy ex-husband, Arthur Hudson Marks. In the divorce decree she received $100,000 but was assured an additional $300,000 in case a child was born to her. (the amounts varied depending on the newspaper) She obtained a birth certificate from the family physician naming the baby boy “Arthur Hudson Marks, Jr.”
The Marks were divorced in September of 1923. Apparently Miss Locke was mathematically challenged or unaware of the average gestational period for humans, but in October of 1924 she appeared in New York with the baby. Miss Locke contacted her ex-husband and asked him to acknowledge the baby as his own.
Mr. Marks, not so biologically or mathematically challenged as Miss Locke, employed private detectives to learn how she obtained the baby. The poor little baby, now six weeks old, was ordered returned to the Willows Maternity Sanitarium. The articles don’t say what became of the infant. In any event, he was better off without the looney Miss Locke.
Before adoption became a compassionate process of placing children in healthy homes, it was more like the dog pound. Below is a clipping from 1906 for “The Willows” that reads like a “free to a good home” pet adoption ad.
I was searching for newspaper articles this afternoon (my most favorite hobby) when I saw that genealogybank.com had finally added the archives from The Kansas City Star, Kansas City, Missouri. I did a quick search for “Joseph J. Bernstein”, aka “Jack”, and several articles about his capture and release from the Japanese prisoner of war camp came up.
Without further ado, I will add them to tell the story of Jack. If you need any more background, please refer back to the post that I published on Nov. 11, 2012 about Jack Bernstein, in honor of Veteran’s Day.
And Jack and Florence marry. Love conquers all.
Before I get started, I need to say that these three died in the years 1922, 1935 and 1948. And that I didn’t know them. I only discovered how they died by reading newspaper clippings and ordering copies of their death certificates while researching my family tree.
To get into the mood for this post, I suggest you click on the link below and listen to Alfred Hitchcock’s album, “Music to be Murdered by”.
Don’t worry — this is a free site. Once you are on the site, click on the audio button and you can hear the entire album, once again, for free. Below is a list of the tracks, and I must add that it is quite humorous. But, I have a macabre sense of humor. Like they say, “what doesn’t kill you only postpones the inevitable”.
1. I’ll Never Smile Again
2. I Don’t Stand a Ghost of a Chance with You
3. After You’ve Gone
4. Alfred Hitchcock Television Theme
6. Body and Soul
7. Lover Come Back to Me
8. I’ll Walk Alone
9. The Hour of Parting
I’ve already written about Olivette Engle in an earlier post dated February 25, 2013. She was shot to death by her deranged husband who had been gassed during World War I. The cause of death on her death certificate is “perforating bullet, wound of chest and skull”. Olivette is from my paternal side of the family.
The other two ancestors who were killed were Roy Britt and his brother William C. Britt. The Britt brothers were the sons of John Franklin Britt and Margaret Jane Strain Britt of Eufaula, Alabama. And brothers to my maternal grandfather, John Mansel Britt. Roy was born in 1892 and William was born in 1894. Both had served in WWI just like Olivette Engle’s deranged husband. Roy and William are from my maternal side of the family.
These three Britt boys must have been quite the characters in Eufaula. My grandfather and Roy both left Alabama to work in New Jersey during and after WWI. John Mansel and Roy married girls from New Jersey, but ended up returning to Alabama without their wives. They never got divorced, but they also never got back together with their wives. As far as I can tell, William C. Britt never married.
I can only guess that the brothers had some status in Alabama and could rely on their father’s name whereas New Jersey was probably a very foreign environment. They ditched the North and returned to the South. Eufaula is a lovely town with beautiful antebellum homes and a nice slow pace.
William was killed first in 1935. I am going to post a newspaper clipping about his death, but first I need to add a disclaimer. It was written in the South in 1935 and I apologize for the article’s racist tone.
I don’t know where William’s gas station was in Eufaula, AL, but the photo above is an actual abandoned filling station in Eufaula. I found this photo in the Library of Congress Archives, and to give credit where credit is due, the web connection to this print is http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.08369
Roy was killed in 1948. He had lived in New Jersey for a short time and married Melda Zitzner. Melda Z. Britt stayed on in New Jersey and died in 1986. She never remarried even though Roy died years before.
I haven’t found out why Roy got into an argument or why it lead to his murder. But I have found some interesting information about soft drinks and the South.
The article below is copied from the Wikipedia article, “The Culture of the South”.
Many of the most popular American soft drinks today originated in the South (Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, Mountain Dew, Big Red, Royal Crown Cola and its related Nehi products and Dr Pepper). In many parts of Oklahoma, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Texas and other parts of the South, the term “soft drink” or “soda” is discarded in favor of “Coke”. Some people use the term “co-cola” when ordering a soft drink. In most restaurants, when someone orders “coke” or “co-cola”, it is understood to bring whatever brand of cola the establishment offers.
Reading old newspapers online is what I call great entertainment. Our newspapers now are very cautious about what they print due to our litigious society. The old newspapers were more like our modern day “Globe” or “Enquirer”, with the exception that Photo Shop hadn’t been invented yet.
The article below wouldn’t have made the newspaper now because no coroner would want to be labeled this inept.
Below is a bizarre rhyming obituary for a baby. Would any newspaper now print that little Jerry died from dysentery? Or old man Fancher died from cancer? There have been some improvements in the press.
The following would be a cheery addition to the “Weddings” section of the paper.
Below is An Honest Obituary from 1916.
And finally, some very unusual causes of death found in various old newspapers.
I can’t say enough about how much fun it is to read the obituaries. I am not talking about the euphemistic ones that say that “grandpa is now resting in the arms of Jesus”, but the brutally honest ones. The ones that you can’t believe were really published.
I’ve taken the liberty of copying some great obits off of the internet . . .