PORTRAIT OF TWO MEN AT THEIR HAM RADIO STATION

This vintage snapshot features two enthusiastic men manning their ham radio station. The large desk that these men are sharing hosts numerous electronic devices. The electrical wires that power this station seems to be jerry rigged. It appears to be an electricity nightmare and I doubt this amateur set-up would pass an official fire or electronic inspection. Note the telephone, table radio and typewriter captured in this photograph. These two ham radio operators seem to be having a good time pursuing their hobby. It is possible that the men are actually at work and performing their duties utilizing the radio. The poor, and possibly dangerous wiring, leads me to believe that the men are amateurs and that this ham radio station is a home set-up.

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Published in: on March 31, 2018 at 2:38 pm  Comments (2)  
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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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HELEN BERTRAM: COMIC OPERA STAR WHO LIVED A LIFE CHOCK FULL OF SCANDAL

This cabinet card portrait features comic opera star, Helen Bertram (1869-1953). As I researched her life, I became more and more interested in her experiences and character. She was a person who’s life itself was a drama. More on that later. She was one of America’s leading prima donnas of her era. Bertram was born in Illinois.  Her father was a wealthy grain merchant. She trained at the Cincinnati College of Music and at age 20 began working as a lead singer for a number of opera companies, including Abbott, Conried, and the Bostonians. In fact, she worked for many opera companies because she tended to switch allegiances when offered better salaries. She had much impact on comic opera. Influential roles in “The Gingerbread Man” and “The Prince of Pilsen” contributed to that impact. The St. Paul Daily Globe (1887) printed a review about a very early Bertram performance  with the Abbott company. The review states that she sang with ‘such exquisite art as to win the hearts of her audience”. The article also describes Miss Bertram as a brilliant debutante in opera, and states that she had an “exceedingly handsome face, pretty figure, graceful movement, and sweetness”. Her off-stage life was tumultuous and her scandals were covered closely in American newspapers. Plainly said, her personal life was a disaster. In 1893, news articles revealed that she and actor, Edward Henley, were having an affair. Both were married and their affair caused both of their spouses to file for divorce. At first Bertram denied her extramarital relationship saying “Oh my! Mr Henley has had so many sweethearts, it seems too bad that I should be made the scapegoat for all this.”  In 1894, Bertram and Henley announced plans to marry. They were not married long because Henley died. The St. Louis Republic (1901) reported that Bertram had thrown a locket containing Henley’s ashes off a balcony. The rationale for pitching the ashes was that she had fallen in love with another man. Bertram denied tossing the ashen remains of her husband. In 1903 she married her third husband, matinee idol Edward Morgan. He had a sensational history of stormy marriages and relationships. At some point in time, Bertram had a relationship with George d’essauer, a wealthy French nobleman. George got himself into some trouble concerning a forgery scandal. After being indicted, he fled to Europe were he was arrested for other charges. The St. Louis Republic (1905) ran an article about Bertram being taken to court for unpaid bills. She claimed she was bankrupt as the reason for non payment. In 1906, her third husband, Edward Morgan died. He died from a fall in his hotel room, but the coroner theorized that the fall was due to his well known morphine addiction. From 1908 into the 1930’s she announced several retirements only to return to the stage. Later roles included vaudeville and concert tours with provincial orchestras. Bertram also had a movie career and the IMdB lists her as appearing in three movies including “The Lightening Conductor” (1914) and “Rhythm on the River” (1940). Back to the cabinet card seen above. The studio that produced this photograph was the Aime Dupont gallery. Dupont (1842-1900) founded his photography business in 1886 in New York City, New York. He was formerly a sculptor and he was of Belgian origin. His American wife, Etta Greer, was also a photographer. She was well respected for he work as a portraitist of opera singers in Paris, France. She was educated in Paris and spent much of her childhood there. She also met and married Dupont in Paris. The couple was very talented and they became very popular as portrait photographers in New York. Among their society and celebrity clients were many singers who were appearing in New York. After Dupont’s death, his wife, and later his son (Albert), operated the studio. His wife kept the name of the studio the same, after the death of her husband. In 1906, the Metropolitan Opera hired its own official  photographer, resulting in diminished portrait work in that sector. The studio went bankrupt in 1920.

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.

PORTRAIT OF TWO YOUNG AND ADORABLE SIBLINGS

I found this vintage photograph on a trip to the Texas Hill Country. Two siblings, presumably a brother and sister, pose for their portrait in this post cabinet card era photograph. The pair are adorably dressed. The young girl holds a parasol in one hand and her brothers arm with the other hand. The boy is wearing a wide brimmed straw hat and a bow tie. As he is being photographed, he is fiddling with his very loose belt. The photographer’s name is embossed on the mat of the photo (lower right hand corner). The name is difficult to decipher, but I believe the name is “Whitney”. The location of the studio is not identified.

Published in: on March 27, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

PORTRAIT OF ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMEN OF FRANCE (EDITED BY ALFRED NOYER)

This vintage real photo postcard is part of a series named “Les Plus Belles Femmes de France” (The Most Beautiful Women of France). This series is about the Provinces of France, and the model for this image represents La Berrichonne (The Berry). This postcard is no. 42 in the series. There were a number of different series published. The Province series was one of the more popular series. The models in this series represent different French Provinces and wear traditional clothing from that particular area of the country. The province of Berry is a historical province of France that disappeared with the French Revolution. It is one of the oldest agricultural areas in France. 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 his early postcards were reproductions of artworks. He also produced illustrated patriotic postcards during World War I. With the onset of the 1920’s he began producing postcards of children and women. 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”. The photographer of this postcard portrait is Delorme.

ADELAIDE WILSON: PRETTY AND SASSY BROADWAY STAGE ACTRESS

This vintage (1920’s) photograph features actress Adelaide Wilson. She is holding an umbrella behind her, and she either has an elaborate hair treatment, or she is wearing a complicated hat. She appears very young in this photograph and her hand on her hip gives her an air of sassiness. The hand on the hip pose also was a way for Wilson to display her large ring. Adelaide Wilson is quite pretty and engaging. Both the Playbill and IMDB websites credit her with six appearances on Broadway between the years 1907 and 1924. Her first Broadway appearance was in “When Knights Were Bold” (1907) and her final role was in “Great Music” (1924). A portrait of Miss Wilson can be found at the Billy Rose Theater Collection at the New York Public Library. A copy of the library’s image can be seen below. Is the subject of the NYPL photograph the same person seen in the photograph above? I think so, but the library image shows the actress at an older age. The image seen above, measures approximately 8″ x 10″. The back of the photograph is stamped “Pantages Road Show”. I can not confirm that Miss Wilson was a member of the Pantages Road Show cast.

 

Published in: on March 25, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Comments (9)  
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PROSPECTORS ON HORSEBACK: COWBOYS FEELING VERY AT HOME ON THE RANGE

This vintage real photo postcard features two riders on horseback. Who are these cowboys? They may be cowpokes, ranch hands, or prospectors. They are equipped with some tools of their trade. One rider has a shovel and a rope, while the other cowboy has a rope and an unidentifiable tool.  The men are riding in the brush. This is not a studio photograph. These wranglers appear to be the real thing. The velox stamp box on this postcard indicates that this photo was taken sometime between 1907 and 1917.

Published in: on March 24, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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PORTRAIT OF A PRETTY TEENAGE GIRL WEARING A LARGE FLOWERED HAT

This vintage real photo postcard features a pretty teenage girl wearing a large hat topped with flowers The postcard is color tinted and published by Furia as part of a series (no. 1786). Furia was a French postcard company. Most of the Furia cards that I have encountered have been greeting postcards. Pure artistic Furia cards, such as the one above, are much harder to find. The message on the reverse of this postcard indicates that it was written in Marseille, France in 1917.

Published in: on March 23, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Comments (2)  
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TOMMY RHETT: UNSPECTACULAR FLYWEIGHT BOXER WEARING SPECTACULAR YANKEE BOXING SHORTS

Meet boxer Tommy Rhett. He fought out of New York, and the website BoxRec lists him as a flyweight.  He began his boxing career in 1947 and battled his way to 1955. At first, his career got off to a promising start. He won his first five fights (1 by KO). In his next 21 fights, he lost 19 bouts. He had the unfortunate distinction of losing his last 16 fights. He finished his career with 7 wins and 19 losses. Tommy Rhett appears to have been a journeyman fighter. Apparently, after a few fights he became fodder for other boxers to improve their record. Rhett must have been frustrated and disappointed with his performance in the ring. Tommy was no champion, but he sure wore terrific boxing shorts. The logo on his shorts is the same logo that is currently worn by the New York Yankees. A little investigating revealed that the logo has a connection to Tiffany’s. The interlocking “NY” logo was designed by the jewelry store in 1877,  as part of a Medal of Valor for a NYPD officer who was shot in the line of duty. The 1909 season marked the first time the New York Highlanders used the logo in its present form. The Highlanders became the New York Yankees in 1913.