For this weeks Sepia Saturday I am sharing a photo I purchased the other day. A mother and her two daughters, the Rooney family, taking a stroll in Santa Cruz, California in 1906. With all of the American flags flying we can only guess the occasion. Now, if dear Margaret had been writing the copy on the back we'd know exactly what day and time this was shot. Oh Margaret, I miss your efficiency because the dates written on the back of this have mother, born in 1864, giving birth in 1865 and 1867. I know things grow really well in the islands, but not this well.
I don't know about you, but if a neighbor said, "You oughta see my dog fire my gun. It's a hoot and a holla!" I'd be running for cover. I'm not fond of dogs with firearms in their mouths. Don't ask me why, it's just one of those things like lima beans. I don't like 'em.
If'n I was one of them thar birds in the pen I'd be movin' fast at the first click of that dog cockin' that gun. Maybe it's just me. Perhaps in some circles dogs doing target practice is considered normal.
Ever get the feeling you were invited to the wrong party? Or that you were the only person invited to the party and not even the person throwing the party bothered to show up?
Click on image to see it larger.
Then again, maybe you just read the date wrong on the invitation.
Poor woman is one taco short of a combination plate. Viva la Fiesta!
Bought today at my favorite antique store.
I was politely tapped on the shoulder by Doug at Crazy As a Cool Fox with a meme in which I'm supposed to tell 7 things people, specifically you people out in the net-therlands, don't know about me.
- Both my eyes are the same color, my strands of hair not so much.
- I have a photo on my desk in a small gilded frame of an old woman in a house dress, socks and slippers, holding a shotgun. She's not real. She's a soft sculpture doll.
- Next to the old woman sits a bobble head of Tim Gunn who politely tells me to "Make it work" whenever I push his button.
- I have a cat that looks like a jackrabbit, no a bobcat, no a jackrabbit, no a bobcat. He's two, two, two cats in one.
- I've won several awards for the work I do in my day job.
- I was at the last concert the Beatles ever gave and no, I didn't scream. My friend would have slugged me.
- I find the number seven of dubious character so I probably should have stopped at six.
- So because I don't trust the number 7, except when it's on its own far away from the other numbers, I'll give you a number 8, which is almost always voluptuous, unless drawn by someone in a hurry...I'm fiercely private.
- And I'll throw this one in just to let others know with me the meme stops here.
According to what's written on the back of this photo, this is Margaret's great-grandson, Robby. Now, it might just be me, but I'm thinking he grew up to model men's wear in Sears and Montgomery Ward catalogs. He just has that semi-forced-casual look.
What do you think? Robby, the Male Model?
All I can tell you about this fella is his name is Charles and he was sitting behind Margaret on the train in the photo two days ago. There's no writing on the back, so apparently this photo did not belong to Margaret, otherwise we'd know the exact time and date of this occasion.
As to what is going on? Your guess is as good as mine. It's a fella with his gal, perhaps a gambler with a very reserved dance hall girl? No? It would be easier to believe he was a gambler if he were holding a deck of cards instead a pack of cigarettes. And I'm guessin', and mind you this is only a guess, he's not a real cowboy who rides a horse because I see what I believe to be a Ford in the corral behind him and it ain't no Mustang.
Perhaps it was a costume party and he was going as a slick cowboy gambler dude and she was going as ummmmmmm...a housewife. Whatever is going on they're definitely early 1960s middle class Americans out to have a yee haw time. I'm guessing he was a big fan of Maverick.
Oh Margaret, Margaret, why didn't you write something on the back of this one?
Just another image from the Three Buck Big Box of Photos.
Also, this weeks Sepia Saturday entry.
For your viewing pleasure I give you Margaret and Jesse cutting the cake on their 33rd wedding anniversary on September 9, 1949. You can see from some quick math on the back that they were wed in 1916. That means that as of today it's been 94 years and 1 day since they wed. Let's hope it was a long and happy marriage, though I doubt they made it to their 94th.
I do so love cutting the cake photos. Celebrations, though the participants do not always appear to be in a celebratory mood. Margaret and Jesse were. Let's hear it for Margaret and Jesse, ordinary people living ordinary lives with special moments.
The little lady with the almost obsessive need to write time and date on the back of her photos is named Margaret. A special day for Margaret will be featured tomorrow. For now, here's Margaret aboard the train in Salt Lake City. She reminds me of my grandmother and would have been around the same age when this shot was taken.
And stay tuned for Saturday's post which features the fella behind Margaret. It's oddly special.
Again, a dandy from the Three Buck Big Box of Photos.
The more I look through the Three Buck Big Box of Photos the more interesting it becomes. There are no quality shots that would be worth any money, but individually examined I'm finding them fascinating. Instead of just a jumble of images I begin to see threads connecting different people, moments in their lives. Very ordinary people in ordinary moments.
I'll never have definitive answers about these folks, but when looking at vernacular photography, for me, that isn't really the goal. Each image stands on its own leaving me to create my own stories. Adding in a few more photos really only adds more details.
I've shown several photos that have handwriting on the back by the same person including:
Now I know that the handwriting belongs to the woman in today's photo.
More to come.
Here's something a little different. This could just as easily be posted at my ephemera site as here under vernacular photography.
This shot was taken by my father in the early 1950s when he was living in Japan during the Korean War. I have no idea what movies or stars are on the posters. Anyone have any ideas?
Though you might be inclined to keep a watermelon for yourself, I find it much more fun to share. It's nice to see friends and family reduced to dealing with the juice running down their chin and forearms, forced to spit seeds in all directions. Alas, this Labor Day I will not be eating watermelon. I will be eating the peach pie I just baked using the last of the peaches off my tree. It smells like heaven and I know I'll be checking on it constantly as it cools just so I can inhale and dream of the taste to come.
I give you another in my "people eating watermelon" collection from the big bag of negs. Don't worry, it's a small collection. These same ladies appeared in the July 7th post eating, of course, watermelon. A vernacular photography Labor Day watermelon eating event!
For me this is a pretty special photo and I didn't even realize it when I bought it.
I wanted to share something special this Labor Day weekend, and I post this in honor of my maternal grandfather who was a railroader on the Pennyslvania Railroad his entire working life, finally ending as an engineer on the Broadway Limited.
It was purchased at an estate sale. I could see it was a train, but other than that nothing much was clear. I blame it on my glasses. I just had my eyes checked and ordered new glasses so I'm hoping at future estate sales I'll be better able to see what I'm buying and not have such great surprises once home.
This engine, the PRR S1, was a one of a kind steam locomotive on display at the 1939 World's Fair in New York City. I think it's stunning, but then I love steam engines. It looks like it's moving even when standing still.
I'll let Wikipedia tell you about it, including the sad pathetic demise of such a stunning visual piece of machinery.
The PRR S1 class steam locomotive (nicknamed "The Big Engine") was an experimental locomotive that was the largest rigid frame passenger locomotive ever built. The streamlined Art Deco styled shell of the locomotive was designed by Raymond Loewy.The engine was designed by Raymond Loewy, known as the Father of Industrial Design. Never heard of him? That's okay. He's affected your life in ways you didn't know.
The S1 was the only locomotive ever built to use a 6-4-4-6 wheel arrangement. Also, the S1 class was a duplex locomotive, meaning that it had two pairs of cylinders, each driving two pairs of driving wheels. Unlike similar-looking articulated locomotive designs, the driven wheelbase of the S1 was rigid. The S1 was completed January 31, 1939 and was assigned locomotive number 6100.
The S1s extreme length, (140 feet 2½ inches/42.74 metres), made it incapable of negotiating curves on most of the PRR track system. This problem, combined with a wheel slippage problem limited the S1s usefulness. No further S1 models were built as focus was shifted to the T1 class. The last run for the S1 was in December 1945 and the engine was scrapped in 1949.
In 1937, Pennsylvania Railroad officials decided to build a new passenger locomotive to replace its aging K4s locomotive. The PRR officials also hoped that the new S1 steam locomotive would have performance equal to their GG1 electric locomotive.
In a collaborative effort, the Pennsylvania Railroad, Baldwin Locomotive Works, the Lima Locomotive Works and the American Locomotive Company contributed to the experimental S1 design.
The S1 was the largest express passenger locomotive ever constructed, with an overall length was 140 feet 2½ inches (42.74 m). At 77 feet (23 m) long and a weight of 97,600 pounds (44.3 t), the cast steel locomotive bed plate made by General Steel Castings was the largest single-piece casting ever made for a locomotive application.
The boiler unit for the S1 was the largest built by the Pennsylvania Railroad. The six-wheel leading and trailing trucks were added, as the locomotive's design became too heavy for four-wheel units. However, the locomotive was still overweight by a significant margin. The streamlined Art Deco styled shell of the locomotive was designed by Raymond Loewy,for which he received U.S. Patent No. 2,128,490 The final construction cost for the S1 was $669,780.00.
World's Fair Display
The S1 was displayed at the New York World's Fair of 1939 with the lettering "American Railroads" rather than "Pennsylvania Railroad", as 27 eastern railroads had one combined 17-acre (6.9 ha) exhibit, which also included the Baltimore & Ohio's duplex locomotive. To reach the New York World's Fair, the S1 took a circuitous route over the Long Island Rail Road. Many obstacles had to be temporarily removed and other obstacles were passed at a slow crawl to reach the fairgrounds. At the World's Fair the S1 was a dynamic display; the drive wheels operated under the locomotive's own steam power.This was done by placing the S1 on a platform that had rollers under the drive wheels. By using this type of display, visitors could see the duplex drive in use. After the World's Fair, the S1 was relettered and numbered for use in the Pennsylvania Railroad fleet. The S1 was used by the PRR for publicity purposes as well and its image was featured in calendars and brochures
The S1 class locomotive was so large that it could not negotiate the track clearances on most of the lines of the PRR system. In its brief service life it was restricted to the main line between Chicago, Illinois and Crestline, Ohio. It was assigned to the Fort Wayne Division and based at the Crestline enginehouse. The S1 hauled passenger trains such as The General and The Trailblazer on this route. Crews liked the S1, partly because of its very smooth ride. The great mass and inertia of the locomotive soaked up the bumps and the surging often experienced with duplex locomotives. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
Raymond Fernand Loewy (5 November 1893 – 14 July 1986) was one of the best known industrial designers of the 20th century. Born in France, he spent most of his professional career in the United States where he influenced countless aspects of North American culture. Among his many iconic contributions to modern life were the Shell and former BP logos, the Greyhound bus, the Pennsylvania Railroad GG1 and S-1 locomotives, the Lucky Strike package, Coldspot refrigerators, the Studebaker Avanti and Champion, and the Air Force One livery. His career spanned seven decades.
Loewy was born in Paris in 1893, the son of Maximilian Loewy, a Viennese journalist, and Marie Labalme. An early accomplishment was the design of a successful model aircraft which then won the James Gordon Bennett Cup in 1908. By the following year he was selling the plane, named the Ayrel. He served in the French Army during World War I, attaining the rank of captain. Loewy was wounded in combat and received the Croix de Guerre. He boarded a ship to America in 1919, with only his French officer's uniform and fifty dollars in his pocket.Early workIn Loewy's early years in the U.S., he lived in New York and found work as a window designer for department stores, including Macy's, Wanamaker's and Saks in addition to working as a fashion illustrator for Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. In 1929 he received his first industrial design commission to modernize the appearance of a duplicating machine by Gestetner. Further commissions followed, including work for Westinghouse, the Hupp Motor Company (the Hupmobile styling), and styling the Coldspot refrigerator for Sears-Roebuck. It was this product that established his reputation as an industrial designer. His design firm opened a London office in the mid 1930s. It still operates.
Pennsylvania RailroadIn 1937 Loewy established a relationship with the Pennsylvania Railroad, and his most notable designs for the firm were their passenger locomotives. He designed a streamlined shroud for K4s Pacific #3768 to haul the newly redesigned 1938 Broadway Limited (also by Loewy). He followed by styling the experimental S1 locomotive, as well as the T1 class. Later, at the PRR's request, he restyled Baldwin's diesels with a distinctive "sharknose" reminiscent of the T1. While he did not design the famous GG1 electric locomotives, he improved its appearance by recommending welded construction, rather than riveted, and a pinstriped paint scheme to highlight its smooth contours.In addition to locomotive design, Loewy's studios performed many kinds of design work for the Pennsylvania Railroad including stations, passenger car interiors and advertising materials. By 1949, Loewy employed 143 designers, architects and draftsmen. His business partners were A. Baker Barnhart, William Snaith and John Breen.StudebakerLoewy had a long and fruitful relationship with the American car maker Studebaker. Studebaker first retained Loewy and Associates and Helen Dryden as design consultants in 1936 and in 1939 Loewy began work with the principal designer Virgil M Exner. Their designs first began appearing on late-1930s Studebakers. Loewy also designed a new logo which replaced the "turning wheel" which had been the trademark since 1912.During World War II, American government restrictions on in-house design departments at Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler prevented official work on civilian automobiles. Because Loewy's firm was independent of the fourth-largest automobile producer in America, no such restrictions applied. This permitted Studebaker to launch the first all-new postwar automobile in 1947, two years ahead of the "Big Three". His team developed an advanced design featuring flush front fenders and clean rearward lines. They also created the Starlight body which featured a rear window system wrapping 180 degrees around the rear seat.1953 Studebaker Commander Starlight CoupeIn addition to the iconic bullet-nosed Studebakers of 1950 and 1951, the team created the 1953 Studebaker line, highlighted by the Starliner and Starlight coupes (publicly credited to Loewy, they were actually the work Virgil Exner. The Starlight has consistently ranked as one of the best-designed cars of the 1950s in lists compiled since by Collectible Automobile, Car and Driver, and Motor Trend. At the time, however, the Starlight was ridiculed as bizarre (very similar from front or back). The '53 Starliner, recognized today as "one of the most beautiful cars ever made", was radical in appearance, as radical in its way as the 1934 Airflow. However, it was beset by production problems. The 1953 Studebakers were actually designed by Robert Bourke, member of the Loewy's studio but working permanently for Studebaker.To brand the new line, Loewy also modernized Studebaker's logo again by applying the "Lazy S" element. His final commission of the 1950s for Studebaker was the transformation of the Starlight and Starliner coupes into the Hawk series for the 1956 model year.Death and LegacyRaymond Loewy became a U.S. citizen in 1938. Loewy retired in 1980 and returned to his native France. Loewy died in his Monte Carlo residence in 1986 at the age of 93. He was survived by his second wife Viola and their daughter Laurence. In 1992 Viola Loewy and British American Tobacco established the Raymond Loewy Foundation in Hamburg, Germany. The foundation was established to promote the discipline of industrial design internationally and preserve the memory of Raymond Loewy. An annual award of 50,000 Euros is granted to outstanding designers in recognition of their lifetime achievements. Recent grantees include Phillippe Starck and Dieter Rams. In 1998 Laurence Loewy established Loewy Design in Atlanta, Georgia to manage her father's continued interests in the United States. Laurence died on October 15, 2008 and is survived by her husband David Hagerman and their son Jacque Loewy. David Hagerman continues to manage Loewy Design and the Loewy Estate, which includes Laurence Loewy's vision for the establishment of a Raymond Loewy Museum of Industrial Design.
And if you've been following my Tattered and Lost Ephemera site this week you'd know that I've been featuring vintage Coca-Cola ads from the 1940s and '50s. Well, Loewy was involved with Coca-Cola too.
Coca-Cola Redesign of the original contour bottle, eliminating Coca-Cola embossing & adding vivid white Coke & Coca-Cola lettering, designed & introduced first king-size or slenderized bottles, that is, 10, 12, 16 and 26 oz. (1955) Later, in 1960, he designed the first Coke steel can with diamond design.
Click here to go to the official Loewy site to see a lengthy list of companies for which he did design work, including the good old Greyhound bus.
Sooner or later a piece of ephemera seems to bring you back in a circle. You just never know where it will lead.
New book available on Amazon in a few days.
Tattered and Lost: Forgotten Dolls
This one is for those who love dolls!
New book available on Amazon in a few days.
Tattered and Lost: Forgotten Dolls
This one is for those who love dolls!
Another "gem" from the Three Buck Big Box of Photos. A snapshot that would, and should, be overlooked, but then I figure there's got to be something there. I paid 3 cents for this thing and I want my moneys worth.
Beyond the fact that even without the date on the front you'd know this photo was from the early 1960s because of the clothes, hairstyles, and car there is the added fun of the back of the photo. I'll just post it and let you deal with the apparent confusion that existed as to where and when this shot was taken.
Once again, a vernacular photograph worthy of any collection...as long as your collection is the type that people dread having to look at.
Brew brothers or real brothers? Best friends or twins?
Okay, they're not twins, but as to the rest of it I just don't know. On the back of the photo it says:
Taken Ray Witts Back yard in Cupertino Calif July - 57
So perhaps one of these guys is Ray Witt. No way of knowing. If they aren't related I find it fascinating that friends would so closely mirror each others smiles.
Wonder where I found this gem? Can we say Three Buck Big Box of Photos? I know we can. I'm figuring each photo in this box cost about 2 to 3 cents. I'm getting easily a mile out of them. Vernacular photography at its finest.
And is it just me or does the fellow on the left look like Kenneth from yesterday?