Wow! I stumbled across this vintage photograph in an antique store in the Texas hill country. This great image features two men, who appear to be of Hispanic origin, playing a tune together. These country musicians are playing brass instruments. My best guess is that one of the men is playing a trumpet while the other is playing a tuba. The trumpet player looks quite intense while the tuba player appears to be “groovin”. The men are sharing sheet music which rests on a music stand. The sheet music is titled “The Witmark Folio”. The M Witmark and Sons company was a leading publisher of sheet music for the American “Tin Pan Alley” music industry. The firm was established in New York City in 1886. Marcus Witmark was legally the head of the company but it was actually run by his sons (Isidore, Julius, and Jay). The three sons were aged 14 to 17 when the company was established. The company published the music of many leading composers including George M. Cohan and Victor Herbert. M. Witmark and Sons was purchased by Warner Brothers in 1929. This vintage photograph measures about 6 1/4″ x 5 1/2″.



Published in: on December 8, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , ,


rayneThis cabinet card portrait features stage actress Eveleen (Evelyn) Rayne. She became titled when she married George Fitzwilliam in 1888. She died in 1925. The Elliott & Fry studio produced this image. This Victorian photographic studio and photographic film manufacturer was founded in 1863 by Joseph John Elliott and Clarence Edmund Fry. For an entire century the studio took and published images of leading Victorian luminaries from the fields of science, public service, art, politics as well as celebrities of the day. To view other photographs by this studio click on the category “Photographer: Elliott & Fry”.


Published in: on December 7, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,



This carte de visite portrait features a pretty teenage girl who seems to be pursing her lips to hold back a smile. She has less success hiding her “smiling eyes”. The teenager is wearing jet earrings and a jet necklace. Her hairstyle includes a braided pony tail and curly bangs. The photographer of this image is the Bigelow studio in Detroit, Michigan. The reverse of this cdv advertises that Mr Edwin Burnham Bigelow (1838-1916) was a medal winner in a number of photography exhibitions. These medals were awarded in 1872 and 1876 which obviously lets us know that this cdv was produced in or shortly after 1876. A photo of Mr. Bigelow can be seen below. He is listed in the Detroit Business Directory (1879)  as being a photographer at the same Woodward Avenue address as listed on this cdv. At the time of the directory entry he had a partner (Elmer Taylor) in the ownership of his studio. Bigelow was a civil war veteran. He served with the 5th Michigan Cavalry (Company B). He enlisted as a Sergeant and served between 1862 and 1865. He was captured by the Confederates at the Battle of Buckland Mills (Virginia). He was a prisoner for about nine months. An interesting side note is the lettering “NPA” seen on the center bottom of the cdv. NPA is the abbreviation the “National Photographic Association” which was a photographers fraternal organization that convened for the first time in Boston in the year 1869. The organization was involved in arranging exhibitions, education, and lobbying for laws that would protect their profession. In the 1870’s the organization had more than 1,000 members. The organization dissolved in 1876 due to internal disputes. In 1880 a new version of the association was born in the form of the “Photogaphers Association of America” (PAA). This Carte de Visite is the first one that I’ve seen with the “NPA” initials and I have seen many Carte de Visites.






This vintage real photo postcard features a man and his horse and his partially covered wagon. Judging by the man’s clothing; he is a working man. Perhaps he is a delivery man of some sort. He is wearing a white shirt, bow tie and smock. I believe that he is wearing long heavy gloves. The gloves probably pertain to his occupation. The stamp box on the reverse of this postcard indicates that when it was published, the postcard postal rate was 1 cent. The one cent rate was in effect until World War I when it was raised to 2 cents on a temporary basis (1917-1919). The rate was again raised between 1925 and 1928. The rate became permanantly two cents in 1951. As a result, the stamp box in this case, is not helpful in establishing the date that this postcard was produced. However, the style of the front of this postcard indicates that it was produced not long after the 1900’s or 1910’s.


Published in: on December 5, 2016 at 8:37 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: ,



Beautiful stage actress Johan Wittman posed for this publicity photograph for her appearance  in “The Perfect Fool”, a play that appeared at the George M. Cohan Theatre” in New York City (Broadway). Ed Wynn provided the book, lyrics, and music. The revue played in 1921 and 1922 and ran for 275 performances. Miss Wittman looks elegant in her “to the floor” beaded dress. The previous owner of this photograph hypothesized that the dress was modeled after a peacock feather. I agree with his observation. Miss Wittman is holding a feather fan behind her head. She truly is representative of the flapper era. According to Broadwayworld.com, Miss Wittman’s Broadway experience was confined to her role in “The Perfect Fool”. The photographer of this lovely portrait was Ira Daniel Schwarz (1878-1946) who was based on West 48th Street in New York City. Schwarz was a Brooklynite and one of the first New York portrait artists to work in the movie industry. He began his career as a pictorialist art photographer and during World War I he went to work for Screencraft Pictures (located in New York) as Cinematographer and Stillman. He displayed a lot of talent as a Stillman and in 1919 became the chief portrait photographer for the company. The website “Broadway Photographs” reports that Schwarz was fascinated with shade and that his images were often recognized for their “plummy blacks”. In 1924 he left Photocraft and established his own studio. In regard to his skill as a portrait photographer “Broadway Photographs” assert that Schwarz was considered “a photographic psychologist” by his colleagues because he was excellent at “capturing the mentality of his sitter”. During World War II he closed his studio due to the silver shortage.




This cabinet card portrait features an older gentleman with long grey hair and and grey mustache and beard. His hair is unusually long. He is handsome and has a very kind face. The gentleman has piercing eyes. He is formally dressed. This studio photograph was taken at the Essery studio in St. Paul, Minnesota. Robert W. Essery (1845-1886) was born in Prince Edward Island, Canada. He operated studios in St. Paul between at least 1873 and 1885. His business was located at the 211 East Seventh St address seen on the front of this photograph between 1883 and 1885. At one point his studio was known as Sun Beam Gallery (partnered with Charles W. Stiff). After Essery’s death, his wife Ida ran the Essery Photograph Gallery.





Published in: on December 2, 2016 at 12:05 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: ,



This vintage real photo postcard features European film star Liane Haid (1895-2000). She poses holding a tennis racket and wearing a hair band to keep her hair out of her eyes. She is quite beautiful but how can we interpret her facial expression. To me, it looks like she is rolling her eyes as if she is bothered by something. Who is Liane Haid? She was born in Vienna, Austria and received training in both dance and singing. She gained the nickname of “Sweet Viennese Girl”. Haid was a prima ballerina, dancer, singer and stage actress. She worked in Budapest and Vienna as a dancer. Her stage career was mostly in Berlin and Vienna. She became a popular pin-up star through the 1920’s and 1930’s. Her first movie role was in a World War I propaganda film. She was employed by UFA and appeared in a number of comedy films  alongside other movie stars including Willi Forst, Bruno Kastner, and Georg Alexander. UFA was a major German Film producer and distributor that operated between 1917 through the end of World War II. Liane Haid refused a number of Hollywood offers but in 1942, she escaped Nazi Germany and went to Switzerland according to Wikipedia, “because of the regime, because everything was bombed, and because all the good directors had left”. Soon thereafter she got married and retired from films. She was married three times. The IMDB web site states that she has 92 film credits from 1915 through 1953. Notable films include “Lady Hamilton” (1921), “Lucrezia Borgia” (1926), and “The Song is Ended” (1930). The photographer of this terrific image was Alexander Binder (1888-1929). He had the largest photo studio in Europe during the late 1920’s and the 1930’s. Many of his entertainment star portraits appear on Ross Verlag postards. It is thought that Binder was of Swiss origin. He was of the Jewish faith. He studied engineering but did not complete his studies. From 1908 to 1910 he studied photography at a school in Munich, Germany. After the completion of his photography studies, he went to Berlin and in 1913 opened his first photography studio. Before long, he became one of the premier photographers in Berlin.  He primarily focussed on fashion and celebrity photography. Since Berlin was the capital of the European film industry, Binder photographed all the stars of the European film industry including, Lilian Harvey, Conrad Veidt, and Lya De Putti. Many of his images were used in popular film portrait postcards. His photographs could be seen in postcards published by Ross Verlag and Photochemie. Binder died in 1929 but new photo cards bearing his signature continued to be published until 1937. It is thought that the real photographer of these new postcards was Hubs Floeter (1910-1974) who was employed at the studio as an operator. The studio continued to be owned by Binder’s widow, Mrs. Binder Alleman and their two daughters. The studio was managed by the Jewish Elisabeth Baroness Von Stengel who was later deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp. In 1938 the Nazi’s closed Binder’s studio and it was later taken over by an Aryan photographer, Karl Ludwig Haenchen . Haenchen continued to produce celebrity portraits for postcards. His publishers included Film-Foto-Verlag. After World War II the studio was taken over by the Hasse und Wiese company. 




This cabinet card photograph features a portrait of a southern gentleman. He is finely dressed and holding his hat in his hand. He is wearing a stylish beard and mustache. His facial expression communicates arrogance. The photography studio that produced this image is the Johns & Faught studio of Lexington, Kentucky. The cabinet card gallery has other photographs by this studio and they can be seen by clicking the category “Photographer: Johns & Faught” or by placing the studio’s name in the search box. If you view the other photographs you will note that this studio does an outstanding job with their portrait photography. In the book “History of Fayette County, Kentucky” (1882) it is stated that W. E. Johns was born in Lexington in 1843. He began his photography business in Lexington in 1870 and by 1876 opened a new studio at the address (56 East Main Street) where he photographed this cabinet card. By at least 1886, James Faught worked for Johns as an operator in his studio. At a later date, the pair became partners in the business.


Published in: on November 29, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , ,



This wonderful Carte de Visite features two adorable children wearing traditional clothing posing for their portrait at the Banque & Kindermann studio in Hamburg, Germany. The boys outfit has an abundance of buttons and he is wearing a top hat. The little girl is holding a basket of pretty flowers and is wearing a hat that resembles a “frying pan”. On each side of the children are potted plants. The image is actually a lovely photograph. The reverse of the photograph has print that advertises the fact that the studio won medals at an 1887 exhibition in Stuttgart, Germany. This photograph was likely taken shortly after that contest. “The Photographic Times” (1897) tells the story of photographer Conrad Kindermann. He was born in Lubeck, Germany in 1842. He apprenticed in a cloth house in Riza, Russia for five years and worked there another year. He then was introduced to working as a photographer by his brother who had a studio in Hamburg. In 1863 he opened a studio in Lubeck. The ceilings in this studio were so low that they prohibited photographing adults when they were standing. The resourceful Kindermann decided to specialize in photographing children. It is very interesting to note that the word “kinder” means “children”. He was truly a Kindermann. In 1869 he met photographer Herr Benque. They becamse fast friends and were soon partners in a studio in Hamburg. The studio encountered financial problems so Benque left and soon the studio became very successful and Kindermann became known as one of the best photographers of children in the country. A review of the era’s photography journals demonstrate that he was often cited or the subject of articles. Another fascinating fact is that Darwin used three of Kindermann’s photographs in his book “The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals” (1872).





These vintage real photo postcards feature actress Bebe Daniels (1901-1971). The top postcard was published by Cinemagazine (Paris Edition) and is part of a series (no. 121?). Miss Daniels is absolutely beautiful. She is nicely dressed and her outfit includes furs. She is wearing a large ring and a necklace with a cross. Bebe Daniels was an American actress, singer, dancer, writer and producer. She was born in Dallas, Texas to show business parents. Her father was a theater manager and her mother was a stage actress. She started her career in Hollywood as a silent film child actress. She became a star in musicals such as “42nd Street”. She worked opposite Harold Lloyd and was under contract with Cecil B. DeMille.  She later became a popular radio and television actress in Great Britain. In he 1920’s she was under contract with Paramount Pictures and made the transition to adult roles. In 1924 she played opposite to Rudolph Valentino in “Monsieur Bearcaire”. She also recorded songs for RCA Victor. When talkies began, she was hired by RKO. While with RKO her movies included a number of musicals such as “Dixiana” (1930) and  “Love Comes Along” (1930). Over the course of her career, she appeared in 230 films. She retired from Hollywood in 1935. After World War II she was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Truman for her service during the war. An interesting story concerning Miss Daniels is that while appearing in a Chicago hotel, several thousand dollars worth of her jewelry was stolen from her hotel room. Al Capone, the notorious gangster, was a longtime Daniels fan and put out an order that the thief had just 24 hours to return it “or else”. The jewelry was returned the following day.The second postcard of Miss Daniels was published by Iris Verlag for Paramount Films (Fanamet). Fanamet was an Austrian film distribution company. The postcard was part of a series (no. 977). This profile portrait also displays the beauty and appeal of Miss Daniels.Iris Verlag was the most important Austrian publisher of film star postcards. It operated from Vienna during the 1920’s and 1930’s. Iris Verlag was a different company than Germany’s Ross Verlag. Iris cards restricted itself to one postcard format and did not publish scene card series popularized by Ross. The early Iris cards had a sepia brown tone while the cards from the 1930’s were closer to “black and white”.