Wonderful Old Photos of People I’ve Never Met and Never Will . . . .

Mr. and Mrs. Maxwell, Robinson, Illinois  Photo taken 1932

Mr. and Mrs. Maxwell, Robinson, Illinois Photo taken 1932

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.[1][2] 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.[3] This made the format an overnight success, and the new invention was so popular it was known as “cardomania”[4] 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.

Bert and Mabel Kimball, silver wedding anniversary, 1932

Bert and Mabel Kimball, silver wedding anniversary, 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”.

Mr. Deweese and friend, Franklin, Indiana, abt. 1912.

Mr. Deweese and friend, Franklin, Indiana, abt. 1912.

Laurel and Hardy

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 Samuel Caton (left) and Harold and Beaulah Royce, 1912, Dos Palos, CA

Paul Samuel Caton (left) and Harold and Beaulah Royce, 1912, Dos Palos, CA

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.

Little Lord Fauntleroy Style of Dress for Young Boys

Little Lord Fauntleroy Style of Dress for Young Boys


Alfred E. Newman

Alfred E. Newman

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.

Women with Many Layers of Clothing taken around 1908

Women with Many Layers of Clothing

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.

Unknown Man

Unknown Man

Lurch dancing with Gomez Addams (Lurch is on the right)

Lurch dancing with Gomez Addams (Lurch is on the right)

3 responses

  1. Wonderful post Jan! It gets very addicting researching these old photos – but oh so fun!
    Jodi

    1. I am addicted also. I have a stack of old photos and love to look them up on ancestry or google to try and find out who they were.

  2. Great post. Only yesterday I did a post about old photographs- but the ones that you never know who the people in them are. And how this absence of knowledge-resolution I called it, haunts me. The not knowing what became of these people.
    And yes-Laurel and Hardy and Lurch-loved them!!

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