VINTAGE PHOTO PORTRAIT OF A BABY: SAD STORY OF MISS OTTILLIE HEDWIG BIAR

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austin-baby-1Meet Ottillie Hedwig Biar. This vintage photograph captures a cute baby bundled up in a gown and hat. The child is sitting on a wicker chair and is likely held there by a brace hidden under her clothing. The baby is holding a rattle. An inscription on the reverse of the photograph identifies the child as “Hedwig Biar”. Preliminary research revealed some biographical information concerning this little girl. Her full name is Miss Ottillie Hedwig Biar and she was born in 1906 in Thorndale, Texas. The town is forty miles northeast of Austin. Her parents were both native Texans. Her father was Otto Biar (1879-1956) and her mother was Lydia Moerbe (1885-1957). Otillie had five brothers and four sisters. Perhaps you noticed that Ottillie’s name is similar to her fathers name (Otto). Wikipedia reveals that Otillie is a given name stemming from the German boy’s name Otto. The name means “wealth” or “prosperity”. Unfortunately, poor Otillie didn’t prosper in life. In fact she lived a short life. After living in Houston for a year and a half working as a housekeeper, she succumbed to typhoid in 1927 at the age of twenty-one. She died in Houston’s Baptist Hospital and was buried in Thorndale.

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Published in: on October 31, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Comments (2)  
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ADORABLE AFRICAN AMERICAN BABY IN SEATTLE WASHINGTON

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This vintage photograph features an adorable African American baby posing for her portrait at an unidentified studio. The baby is so cute and appears uncertain but inquisitive about her visit to the photographer. The child is wearing a necklace and holding a rattle. The reverse of the image has an inscription. It appears that the baby lived at “182 Yale Avenue N.” in Seattle, Washington. It also appears that the baby’s name was “W. G. S——“. I can not decipher the name and would welcome any help that anyone can provide.  This photograph was purchased in Austin, Texas and was part of a collection of African American images that were originally found in San Antonio, Texas.

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Published in: on October 30, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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STUDIO PORTRAIT OF A CUTE HAPPY LITTLE GIRL AND HER BEAUTIFUL DOG

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This vintage real photo postcard an adorable little girl and her beautiful dog. The girl is flashing a smile and has a twinkle in her eyes. She is wearing a frilly cute dress and note her long stocking and tied high boots. She is also adorned with hair ribbons and a ring. I don’t recognize the dogs breed so it may be mixed. I certainly see some terrier in this noble looking canine. The postcard has a 1908 postmark and a German stamp. The postmark on the card is from Rawitsch (currently Poland). The postcard is addressed to someone in Berlin, Germany.

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Published in: on October 29, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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FANCY DOUBLE WEDDING IN ENGLAND

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This cabinet card image captures a wedding that appears to involve two couples. It is only a hypothesis but I believe the participants in this double wedding include two brides (seated), two grooms (seated), four members of the wedding party (standing). The men are all wearing top hats and tails. One of the seated grooms is wearing light colored pants with his dark jacket. All the men are wearing boutonnieres and smoking cigars. The brides are wearing white gowns and flowers in their hair. Interestingly, the two grooms are sitting very close to one of the brides while the second bride seems distant, almost an afterthought. It is notable that this wedding party portrait was taken outside. Although the location that this photograph was taken is unknown, the image was with a group of other photographs that were from England. Therefore, it is likely that this is an English cabinet card. This cabinet card was trimmed in order to fit into an album or frame. There is glue residue on the reverse of the image.

 

 

 

 

Published in: on October 28, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Comments (6)  
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THE POWELL STREET CABLE CAR (TROLLEY): BUSY STREET SCENE (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

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This vintage real photo postcard features the Powell Street Cable Car Trolley on it’s turn-table at Powell and Market Streets in San Francisco, California. This image offers a great look back at early San Francisco history. There is a lot happening in this photograph. Look carefully and you will see two conductors working to turn the trolley around. Actually one seems to be doing all the physical labor while the other checks out the action on the street. In addition to the pedestrians in the image, you can also see a woman and her child boarding the cable car as it turns around. It is also interesting to note the businesses that appear in the photograph. The Clinton Cafeteria and the Owl Drug Company are clearly seen. Preliminary research reveals that the Clinton Cafeteria was located at 18 Powell Street. The book, San Francisco Art Deco (2007) asserts that the restaurants basement dining room had marble floors and potted plants. From six to eight PM the restaurant offered self served diners live dinner music provided by a string orchestra. The second business in the photograph, The Owl Drug Company, was a drugstore chain headquartered in San Francisco. It was established in 1892 and was a subsidiary of Rexall. The photographer of this photograph is Alexander J. “Zan” Stark (1889-1967). He was born in Michigan and moved to California in his early twenties. Zan Stark was a postcard photographer. He worked out of his studio in Mill Valley.  He used the professional name of “Zan of Tamalpais” between the 1920’s and the early 1950’s. This postcard is credited to Zan (no. 316). The stamp box on this vintage postcard indicates that it was published on Eastman Kodak paper  sometime between 1939 and 1950.

 

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Published in: on October 27, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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STUDIO PORTRAIT OF A HANDSOME FRENCH SOLDIER IN GRENOBLE, FRANCE

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This vintage real photo postcard features a young French soldier posing for his portrait in a photography studio located in Grenoble, France. The soldier looks quite handsome in his crisp uniform. He is holding a pair of gloves. The photographer of this image has the last name of “Rambaud”. The postcard stock paper was manufactured in England.

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Published in: on October 26, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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EXQUISITE PORTRAIT OF A GERMAN COUPLE BY EMILIE BIEBER (CARTES DE VISITE 1870’s)

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Emilie Bieber is one of my favorite photographers of the Cartes de Visite/Cabinet Card era. The quality of her work soars above her contemporary photographers. View more of her images by clicking on the category “Photographer: Bieber” or just put her name in the search box. This CDV captures a lovely immaculately dressed couple posing in Bieber’s Hamburg studio. The woman’s hair is beautifully done. She is wearing a cross on a chain. The gentleman is wearing formal clothes and also is wearing a ring and pocket watch. Bieber had a second photo studio which was located in Berlin. Emilie Bieber ran her Hamburg studio for 1852 through 1872 when she was joied by her nephew, Leonard Berlin-Bieber. She died in 1884. This cdv likely dates back to the 1870’s. The reverse of the photograph lists prizes garnered by Bieber at various photo exhibitions including Berlin (1865), Paris (1870), London (1872), and Vienna (1873).

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THE BARMAID WITH THE BUNNY EARS

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This vintage real photo postcard features a young woman working as a bar maid. She seems to be enjoying herself judging by her wide smile. She is wearing a costume which includes bunny rabbit ears. The young woman is filling a beer mug at an outdoor pump. The AZO stamp box seen on the reverse of this postcard indicates that it was published sometime between 1904 and 1918.

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Published in: on October 24, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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PORTRAIT OF ACTRESS MISS ETHEL ERSKINE APPEARING IN “GIPSY LOVE” (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

 

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This vintage real photo postcard features theater actress Miss Ethel Erskine as she appeared in the role of Ilona in the production of “Gipsy Love”. Miss Erskine was a beautiful woman with dazzling and engaging eyes. Preliminary research discovered little about her biographical history. However, some information was found about the production of “Gipsy Love”. The show was a romantic operetta in three acts. The production played at the Carltheater in Vienna (1910), the Globe Theatre on Broadway (1911), and Daly’s Theatre in London (1912). This postcard was printed in Britain and produced by Rotary Photo as part of a series (11476 D).

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A PHOTO BOOTH PHOTOGRAPH OF A MIDDLE AGED AFRICAN AMERICAN MAN

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This photo booth photograph features a middle age African American man. He is wearing a white knit sweater and a driving cap. He is flashing what appears to be a pained smile at the camera. This photograph was part of a collection of African American images from San Antonio, Texas. Here is some history about photo booths. The first automated photo booth was patented by William Pope and Edward Poole of Baltim0re, Maryland. The first working model was exhibited at the World’s Fair in Paris in 1889. The first commercially successful photo machine was called the “Bosco” and it was patented in 1890. The modern concept of the photo booth was introduced by Anatol Josepho, a Russian immigrant who entered the US in 1923. The first photo booth was introduced on Broadway in New York City in 1925. Twenty-five cents would buy eight photos and the process took ten minutes. After six months time, the booth was used by 280,000 people. In 1927 a company paid Josepho one million dollars plus royalties for use of his invention nationwide.

 

 

 

Published in: on October 22, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment