african american man 2

On November 11th, 1918, World War I came to an end. It was a joyous time and soldiers and sailors from all the fighting nations were able to return home to their loved ones. This real photo postcard provides a visual image of that time in history. We see two ships speeding home on a a rough ocean. The postcard shows an American soldier who is portrayed as being on one of these ships. Note the American flag in the background as well as the flags on each ship. This was truly a patriotic time. On the reverse of the postcard is a most interesting message. On 12/13/18, about a month after the war’s end, Richard M. Daebelliehn (1889-1964) wrote a message to his wife. I will decipher it the best that I can as it is not totally legible. “Dear Wife, I will wire you just as soon as I hit USA and will have you meet me. You can be expecting a telegram from me”. He signed his name and followed it with an alphabet soup of letters, “HQ (headquarters) M.O.R.S. (?) A. E. F. (American Expeditionary Force) France. It also appears that the word “Cook” appears before his name. Daebelliehn sent this postcard to his wife who was living in Davenport, Iowa. Research reveals that his wife’s name was Grace Luttsia Anderson. The 1920 US census reports that the couple had two children, Dorothea (age 9), and Robert (age 7). The census, as well as many city directories, indicate that Richard was a butcher (meat cutter) for many years. In fact, he owned his own business. Knowing that Richard was a butcher before the war likely explains why he was a cook in the military. Richard and his family lived in Rock Island, Illinois at the time of the census. I wish I could say that after Richard was reunited with his family that they lived happily together for many years. However, Grace died in September of 1921 in Springfield, Illinois. Richard remarried (Margaret Daebelliehn) sometime before 1930. This postcard was produced by Furia, a French postcard company. The postcard certainly is a relic of history with an image on one side and a story on the other side.

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family f

This vintage photograph features a handsome family posing for their portrait at the F. A. Free Studio in Davenport, Iowa. This good looking and well dressed couple had their hands full with three children so close in age to each other. It is possible that the two older children are twins. Whatever the case, all three children are adorable. Note their boots, bows, and ruffles. The photographer, Frank A. Free, is the subject of an article in the Quad-City Times (2010). The newspaper reports that a Free Photographic Studio estate sale was being held.  Frank Free had already left thousands of portrait negatives to the Putnam Museum (located in Davenport) and to the Davenport Library. Frank died in 1968 and his wife Lois continued operation of the studio through part of the 1990’s. Frank Free’s name is mentioned in a number of photographic journal articles. An article in the Bulletin of Photography (1922) states that he won a silver cup in a photographic exhibition in London. He was also involved at the beginning stages (1909) with a Iowa photographers group called Cameracraftsmen.

Published in: on March 15, 2014 at 12:34 pm  Comments (3)  
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This cabinet card portrait captures two siblings posing for their portrait at the New York Art Gallery, in Davenport, Iowa. The photographer is M. M. Ormsby. Note the children’s hats. Big sister’s straw hat is next to her and it features a ring of daisies. Little brother is holding his hat and looks very cute in his bow tie. Both are dressed up in their finest for their day at the photographer’s studio.

Published in: on May 17, 2011 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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This photograph features a gentleman of Asian appearance posing in the studio of Jarvis White, in Davenport, Iowa. The subject may not actually be of Asian descent; the hypothesis is certainly debatable. The gentleman has a fantastic and well tended mustache and beard. The photograph has remarkable clarity. The reverse of the photo has a pencilled inscription of a woman’s first name (Grace) and an illegible last name. The card is also dated November, 1898. To view other images of interesting facial hair, click on this site’s categories of Beards: (Only the Best) and Mustaches (Only the Best). The photographer of this image established his photographic studio in 1874 and was the successor to Hastings, White & Fisher, of 320 Brady Street, in Davenport, Iowa.


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