PRETTY YOUNG WOMAN MAKES A FASHION STATEMENT: “ITS A HAT BUT IT DON’T LOOK LIKE ONE”

“I’ll tell you what that thing is on my head. It’s a hat, but it don’t look like one”. The young lady in this postcard portrait is  unhappy about the appearance of her hat and she shares her feelings with the addressee, Cecilia Knapik. The hat is made of feathers (ostrich?) and closely resembles a bird’s nest. Note the hat pin sticking out of the hat. Cecilia was born in California in 1898. In 1910, she was living with her father, a farmer, in Idaho. She was married to Eddie Whitten in Moscow (1919). The 1930 US census finds Cecilia living in Tumalo, Oregon, with Eddie, who worked as a farmer. The photographer of this photograph is Halvor P. Eggan. He operated a studio in Moscow, Idaho between 1901 and 1903. He then continued his photography career in Washington and Oregon. The imprint from his Moscow studio can be seen below. Eggan was born in Norway in 1856 and arrived in the United States in 1876. His wife joined him in the US ten years later. While in Moscow he established the Eggan Opera House. A guide to photographers,  lists both Halvor Eggan and James P. Eggan (1873-?) as working as photographers in Moscow between 1909 and 1910. James and Halvor were likely brothers. At one point, Halvor was a partner in the Eggan Brothers studio, which was located on the West Coast. This postcard portrait was most likely taken in 1909 or 1910.

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Published in: on April 18, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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BEAUTIFUL ANGLO-GERMAN FILM ACTRESS LILLIAN HARVEY

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POSTCARD 1

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POSTCARD 2

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POSTCARD 3

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                                                                        POSTCARD 4

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POSTCARD 5

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This vintage real photo postcard (postcard 1) features Anglo-German actress and singer, Lillian Harvey (1906-1968). Her acting base was in Germany. Harvey was born in Hornsey, England to an English mother and a German father. During World War I her family was “trapped” in Magdeburg, Germany and Harvey was sent to live with her Swiss aunt. After the war she finished school in Berlin and than studied voice and dance at the Berlin State Opera. In 1924 she earned a role as a revue dancer in Vienna. This was followed by her first movie role which was in an Austrian film named “The Curse”. Thereafter, she starred in multiple silent films. Her first leading role was in “The Passion” (1925). Because of her voice training, Harvey was able to make the transition into “talkies”. She and actor Willy Fritsch became the “dream couple” of German movies. The pair acted together in eleven movies. In the 1930’s Harvey’s films appeared in both German and English and she became popular outside of Germany. She went to Hollywood and made four movies for the Fox Film Corporation (this postcard is from that period). In 1935, Harvey returned to Germany. She appeared in several more films and soon she was under the watchful eye of the Gestapo. Harvey had many Jewish friends in the film industry  and she was supportive of them. By 1939, Miss Harvey was forced to leave Germany, leaving behind valuable real estate holdings. She went to France where, in 1940, she made two movies for director Jean Boyer. In 1943 she was stripped of her German citizenship because she had performed for French troops. When southern France was occupied by the Nazis in 1942, she emigrated to the United States. During the war she did some theatre acting and also worked as a homeside volunteer nurse. After the war, Harvey relocated to Paris. She went on a world tour as a singer and in 1949 made appearances in West Germany. She spent her retirement on the French Riviera (Antibes) where she had a souvenir shop and raised snails for escargot. Harvey was married one time. Her four year marriage to theater director Hartvig Valeur-Larsen ended in divorce. Eventually she settled down with her female partner Else Pitty Wirth (1907-2007). Interestingly, the two women are buried together in Antibes. The imdb gives Harvey 54 acting credits between 1925 and 1940. Interestingly, Lillian Harvey’s name is mentioned in Quentin Tarantino’s film  “Inglorious Bastards” (2009). One of her songs is played on a phonograph and in addition one of the characters in the film mentions liking Harvey’s performance in a film and Joseph Goebbels becomes angry and insists her name never be mentioned in his presence. Click on the link below to hear the Lillian Harvey/Willy Fritsch duet used in the Tarantino movie. The 1936 song is titled “Ich Wollt Ich War Ein Huhn” (I Wish I Was A Chicken). Now would be a good time to discuss this postcard portrait of Miss Harvey. She is looking quite decorated in this photograph. She is wearing a garland of leaves in her hair, a very ornate necklace, a number of large bracelets, two giant rings, and a jeweled clasp on her dress near her cleavage. Note her very notable eye lashes. She is wearing a somewhat provocative dress and it is clear that the aim of the photographer is to emphasize Miss Harvey’s sexiness. The photographer and Miss Harvey succeeded in accomplishing this goal. The postcard was published by the German firm Ross Verlag and was part of a series (no. 8679/1). The postcard credits Fox films.

The second postcard (postcard 2) features Miss Harvey in a risque costume. She is showing a “lot of leg” which is quite provocative for her time. It is likely that this image captures her in one of her film roles. The postcard was published by Argenta, which was located in Munich, Bavaria.

The third postcard (postcard 3) presents Miss Harvey is a sexy pose. Note her dark gloves and large hoop earrings. The postcard was published by Ross Verlag and is part of a series (no. 4288/1). Note the advertising logo for the German film company UFA, located on the bottom right hand corner of the image.

The fourth postcard (postcard 4) showcases Lillian Harvey’s beautiful smile. Miss Harvey’s not quite plunging neckline was clearly aimed to add a bit of a risque element to the photograph. This postcard was published by Ross Verlag (Berlin) and is part of a series (no. 1019/2). This portrait was taken by the talented photographer, Alex Binder. 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. 

The fifth real photo postcard (postcard 5) features Miss Harvey wearing a bathing suit and sitting in a beach chair. Her shoes and stockings don’t seem very appropriate for the beach so it is a good thing that she is actually in a photographer’s studio and sitting in front of a beach backdrop. Obviously, the mission of the photographer was not to convince viewers that Miss Harvey was at the beach. The intent of photographer Alexander Binder was to present Lilian Harvey in a provocative and sexy pose. Mr. Binder certainly succeeded in accomplishing his goal. This photo postcard was published by Ross Verlag.

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                                                               POSTCARD 2
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  POSTCARD 3
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OSSI OSWALDA: BEAUTIFUL GERMAN SILENT FILM STAR

The beautiful actress seen in this vintage real photo postcard is named Ossi Oswalda (1897-1947). She was born in Germany and appeared predominately in silent films. She was a leading lady, popular comedienne,  dancer, and singer. Due to her popularity, she  was known as “the German Mary Pickford”. Ossi began her career as a ballerina and she danced in a chorus line for a theater in Berlin. She made her film debute in “Night of Horrors” (1916) and was noticed by actor/screenwriter Hanns Kraly, who introduced her to director Ernst Lubitsch. Oswalda’s early career began with appearances in several Lubitsch films. In 1921, she and her husband started a film production company that produced four films over four years, all starring Miss Oswalda. After 1925, she was under contract to UFA, a German film company. After the transition to “talkies”, Oswalda joined the ranks of actresses and actors, who’s career took a nose dive. She only acted in two sound films. Her final screen appearance was in “The Star of Valencia”. She then began acting on the stage. She appeared in operettas in Germany and Vienna. When the National Socialists took power in Germany, she emigrated to Prague with her “Jewish life partner”, Julius Aubenberg. In 1943, she wrote a story for a Czechoslovakian film. In summarizing Ossi’s career, the IMDb credits her with 51 film appearances,  producing 5 films, and 1 screen writing credit. It is reported that she frequently played child-like spoiled women. She appeared in drag in at least one film. Oswalda’s first marriage (1919-1925) was to a Hungarian baron. After her divorce, the actress began a highly publicized romantic relationship with Crown Prince Willhelm (1882-1951). Simultaneously, the actress Lily Damita, was having an affair with the Prince’s son. The royal family put a kibosh to both “inappropriate” relationships. In 1947, she died in Prague at age 48, bankrupt and suffering from multiple health problems. This German real photo postcard is published by Ross Verlag soemetime between 1919 and 1924. The photograph of Miss Oswalda was taken by Becker & Maass of Berlin. Note her pretty hat and fan. Hopefully, she wasn’t allergic to feathers. Oswalda was young when this photograph was taken. She was beautiful and no older than 27 years of age. The YouTube clip below features Ossie Oswalda in the “The Doll” (1919), directed by Ernst Lubitsch.

 

GORGEOUS WEDDING PORTRAIT OF JEWISH COUPLE IN BUCHAREST, ROMANIA (JUDAICA)

Finding vintage real photo postcards that feature wedding couples is not all that challenging. However, this particular photo postcard is exceptionally special. First of all, the wedding portrait is gorgeous. The bride looks absolutely beautiful in her wedding gown and veil. The bride holds a giant bouquet of flowers. She shows great poise. The handsome groom is dressed to the nines in his tuxedo and top hat. The second factor that distinguishes this photograph is that there is some known history attached to it. The postcard is from an album belonging to a Jewish family in Romania. The front of the postcard is embossed with the name and location of the studio that took this photo. The studio was located in Bucharest, Romania. The name of the photographer is difficult to decipher. I believe that this postcard is from the 1920’s. This vintage real photo postcard is in very good condition (see scans).

Published in: on April 9, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Comments (3)  
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PRETTY WOMAN WEARING NEGLIGEE APPLIES LIPSTICK IN FRONT OF A MIRROR (FRENCH BOUDOIR POSTCARD)

This vintage real photo postcard features a pretty woman applying lipstick in front of a large mirror. The woman is wearing a negligee. It is uncertain whether she is getting ready to go to bed with a lover, or if she is just getting dressed and applying make-up upon rising. This risque photograph was taken by Julian Mandel (1872-1935). He was one of the most famous photographers of female nudes during the early twentieth century. He worked in Paris, France and his photographs became well known in the 1910’s through the 1930’s. His images were published by such firms as Alfred Noyer, Les Studios, P-C Paris, and the Neue Photographische Gesellschaft (NPG). Mandel produced many erotic postcards. He photographed his models indoors as well as outdoors. He often posed his models in classical poses and he was a master at utilizing toning and soft lighting. It is reported that Mandel participated in the German avant-garde (new age outdoor) movement. Mandel, as well as other photographers of nude models, produced photographs that were postcard sized, but never meant to be sent through the mail. In fact, it was illegal to post these nude images. These nude photographs tended to be privately collected. Although Mandel listed his name on his nude photographs, most photographers chose to remain anonymous. Experts compare Mandel’s work to that of photographer Julian Walery, another avant-garde artist who was known for his deco style nudes produced in the 1920’s. A photograph of Mandel can be seen below. This postcard was published by well known photographer Alfred Noyer. The celebrated photographer supervised a large photo studio in Paris. The Noyer Studio operated from 1910 until the 1940’s. Many of the postcards he produced of women were nudes or risque images. Some of his postcards list his name, while others are simply marked “AN”.

PRETTY YOUNG WOMAN READING BY THE LIGHT OF A FIREPLACE

This vintage real photo postcard features an attractive young woman sitting in a chair by a fireplace. She is reading a magazine by the light of the fire. The young lady is adorned with a lot of jewelry (two bracelets, a necklace, and a ring). She is wearing a pretty dress and a pretty smile.  The postcard was published by Rotophot Berlin (RPH). It is part of a series (no.3677/2). Rotophot made it’s debut in Berlin, Germany around the turn of the century (1900). The company had other European offices including London and Budapest. They published many different postcard topics including stage stars. Many of their early postcards were tinted. Eventually Rotophot morphed into “Ross Verlag”, a postcard company that collectors know for the many postcards they produced featuring actors and actresses. This postcard has a French stamp.

Published in: on April 4, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Comments (5)  
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PORTRAIT OF A PRETTY SEMI NUDE WOMAN ADMIRING SELF IN THE MIRROR

This vintage real photo postcard features a beautiful semi-nude woman sitting on a stool and admiring herself in a mirror. This risque postcard is tastefully done. The postcard was published by a French firm known as “P.C.” from Paris. The P. C. logo is an abbreviation for Papeteries de Levallois-Clichy. The firm published a variety of real photo postcard topics including portraits of women, nudes, views, and holiday cards. The company was active in the 1920’s.

Published in: on March 30, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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PORTRAIT OF COLGATE UNIVERSITY FRATERNITY MEMBERS IN FRONT OF THEIR FRAT HOUSE (1906)

This vintage real photo postcard features a photograph of fraternity brothers posing in front of their fraternity house. I have been unable to identify the specific fraternity that these boys represent. There are some clues that might help another researcher to uncover the name of the fraternity. The banner held by a boy in the second row identifies the university as Colgate, located in Hamilton, New York. There are four pillows that may be revealing. The pillow on the end, reports the year as 1906. The other three pillows are held by boys in the front row. Each pillow has a letter; which I assume is written in Greek. One of the pillow’s letters is impossible to read. Investigation reveals that historically, Colgate had many student organizations. The school was founded in 1819 and the institution’s rich history of student societies include Literary Societies, Greek Fraternities, Honor Societies, and even secret societies. This postcard has been postmarked twice. The card was processed in both Norwich and Hamilton, New York. The postmark was stamped in 1906. The postcard is addressed to Miss Abigail Post (1885-?). The 1900 US census reveals that she was the daughter of a farmer and the 1910 US Census lists her as a public school teacher. In 1913, she married Thomas Ray Gorton.

VINTAGE PORTRAIT OF A UNIFORMED FOOTBALL TEAM

This vintage real photo postcard features a portrait of a football team. These eleven heroes of the gridiron are wearing their uniforms for this group photograph. Six of the young men are wearing their helmets. Unfortunately, these thin leather helmets didn’t offer much protection against concussions or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). At first glance, I thought this team may actually be a rugby team. I based my impression on the odd shape and size of the football. The ball looked more like a rugby ball than a football. A little investigating revealed that today’s football has evolved over time. Basically, footballs have gone from round, to watermelon shaped, to today’s shaped football. The modern football became commonly used in 1935. In 1869 (first collegiate football game), the ball used was round, resembling a soccer ball. In 1874, a rugby-type ball was introduced. Shaped like a watermelon, it was as difficult to throw as the round ball. In 1912, an oversized version of today’s football was introduced. This football gave the quarterback more control of the ball when passing. The football in this photo postcard appears to be the rugby style ball, and that is compatible with the AZO stamp box which indicates that this portrait was taken between 1904 and 1918. The players and their team are unidentified. 

Published in: on March 20, 2018 at 12:20 pm  Comments (7)  
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PRETTY GYPSY GIRL LOOKING OVER HER NEIGHBOR’S FENCE

This vintage real photo postcard features a pretty young girl who is dressed like a gypsy. I would guess that she is in her teenage years. The girl is leaning on, and looking over a wooden fence. She is wearing a lot of jewelry including a bracelet, beads, and a thin chain with a heart shaped charm. I am unsure, but it appears that she is wearing a long necklace with cherries hanging from it. It is also possible the “cherries” are actually pins on her dress. The young lady is very fashionable. Note the fabric sash around her waist. This image was photographed by the Wilson Studio in Astoria, Oregon. Note the imprint on the front of the card with the Wilson Studio credit. The postcard has an Astoria postmark stamped in 1922. The Swedish Finn Historical Society’s website includes a 2016 publication with an article about photographer, Fred C. Wilson. He was born in Astoria in 1888. His parents immigrated from Finland and they settled in Astoria in 1881. Fred became a successful photographer and won many honors. As a young man he was involved in sports, including baseball, football, and golf. He also played in community bands. In 1909 Wilson bought the Carter Photographic Studio. He had previously worked with photographer A. A. Saari. In 1913 he married Agnes Karinen. Fred died in 1943.

Published in: on March 19, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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