Little comes through in this album about any of the personalities other than what we surmise by what we bring to each photo. Finally something different.

Juanita had a soft heart for strays. Was Charles a stray too?

Click on either image to see it larger.



For anyone who has been following this weeks posts, Juanita will not be a stranger, but this side of her life will be.

In at least 1949 and part of 1950 Juanita was married to Charles Thomas and they lived in Kentucky. But in 1939 Juanita was married to someone else. And by 1944 Juanita had a little girl named Mildred May or Mae.

This album contains snippet of lives, no cohesive story. What became of Juanita's first husband? Did he die during the war? Did they divorce?

And what of Mildred May who appears twice in the album, each time the same photo? One time her name is spelled Mildred May, the other Mildred Mae.

By late 1950 Charles seems to have married someone named Hattie, though there are no photos. Juanita not only disappears from the album, but everyone disappears. Nothing but captions and photo corners. A mystery that won't be solved. Are we looking at lives that ended tragically or simple dissolution of families?

And before I go, I ask you, do you think this man is Juanita's husband? This photo is in the album to the left of the shot of Juanita with her first husband? Are they the same man? Was her first husband Buddy Brooks?

There's still more to come, but for now this is this weeks Sepia Saturday post.



Charles and Juanita. There are actually three different portraits in this series. They were taken November 1949. By 1950 he's got a new girl named Hattie. This will remain a mystery.

Now, is Charles as you imagined him to be?



"Girl.Friends. in 1946
I'm finding it fascinating the way periods are used in the captions. They're not there to show an abbreviation of a word. They don't seem to be there for any logical reason.

And no, this is not Charles. I don't know who this fella is with all the girl.friends. My next post will be Charles and Juanita together. I'm sure you already have created an image of what he looks like in your mind. You may or may not be surprised.

Click on image to see it larger.



...and the lady on the right, blue dot lady, gets a caption. The lady on the left gets none.

Click on image to see it larger.



I mentioned this photo album in an earlier post. It's strange, not because of the content, but because of the context. Though the pages are all in the album, most of the photos are not. Occasionally there are a few complete pages, all photos in place. Most of the time it's pages with photo corners and captions, no photos at all. But the captions tell a story, though I'm not really sure what it is.

We'll start with this, the front of the generic looking photo album.

Inside the front cover handwritten in white ink it says:
Chas. E. Thomas
Route #1
Bristow, Ky.
Then on the very first page we get these two shots with captions.

(Remember you can click on any image to see it larger.)

This is Charles with his wife . Okay, that's fine. Charles and his wife liked this bridge. Charles liked his wife. And I'm thinking, because of other captions in the album, Charles helped to build this bridge. All fine and dandy. And then we get to the next recto page and we have this:

So oops! the same photo twice. It could happen. But the very next page? He didn't remember it on page 1? That's okay, there's no pattern here. It's a simple mistake. He loved his wife Juanita. He was her second husband. But he loved his little Kentucky wife and couldn't get enough of her so no big deal. He repeated a photo. Won't do it again.

Not so fast. On page 5 we get these lovely shots of Juanita.

And then on page 7 we get...well you can see for yourself.

So it's getting harder to give Charles the benefit of the doubt, though you might be inclined that way. I'm about to convince you to come over to my side. I give you page 7.

We always have to remember when looking at other people's albums that they don't need to make sense to us. We only hope they made sense to the album owner. In this case? Well I sure haven't a clue.

More photos to come from this album, but for now this is my Sepia Saturday submission.


The Floor Show at MARSHALL FIELD'S

I've been away, though sitting right here all along. Net access again a problem. This time it was due to a huge file I had to download. Over 1 GB in size. Took me days off and on to get all of it. Then of course my usage level was again in the red. So I've stayed away.

During this time I visited with my friend Bert to give him some guidance on scanning images. We scanned the following image and then he wanted it sent to me so I could post it here. It's a gem.

Click on the image to see it larger.

The attached caption says:
Marshall Field Lingerie show, Marshall Field Son and a Senator from Illinois in photo.
So, anyone have any ideas as to which one is the son and which is the Senator?

On the back of the photo is a Marshall Field's sticker saying it cost 50 cents. Quite a steal at that price. I'm thinking it's from the 1930s. What do you think? And I do wonder why they were selling images like this. And were there a series of lingerie models made famous through Marshall Field's? Keep your eyes open and let me know if you find anything. Bert too is curious to know more about the photo.

It is a wonderfully strange photo with the woman in the middle standing like a Ziegfield Girl. The one in the lingerie on the right's pose reminds me of some vintage paperdoll, though I can't remember which one. Again, any ideas from the net-gallery?

For those unacquainted with the name Marshall Field's I give you the following from Wikipedia:
Marshall Field (August 18, 1834 – January 16, 1906) was founder of Marshall Field and Company, the Chicago-based department stores.

Marshall Field was born on a farm in Conway, Massachusetts, the son of John Field IV and wife Fidelia Nash. His family was descended from Puritans who had come to America as early as 1650.

At the age of 17, he moved to Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where he first worked in a dry goods store. He left Massachusetts at the age of 18 for new opportunities in the rapidly expanding West. In 1856, at age 21, he went to live with his brother in Chicago, Illinois, and obtained employment at leading dry goods merchant Cooley, Wadsworth and Co., which was to become Cooley, Farwell & Co. in 1857. In 1862, Field purchased a partnership with the reorganized firm of Farwell, Field & Co.

In January 1865, Field and a partner, Levi Leiter, accepted an offer to become senior partners at the dry goods establishment of Potter Palmer. The new firm became known as "Field, Palmer, Leiter & Co." In 1867, after Field and Leiter could afford to buy him out, Palmer withdrew from the firm, and it was renamed "Field, Leiter & Company" Finally in 1881 Field bought out his remaining business partner and changed the store's name to "Marshall Field and Company".

Field took an early 19th century consumer landscape that was centered around the principle of caveat emptor, or "buyer beware", and transformed it into a plush shopping experience fit for the gilded age. Unconditional refunds, consistent pricing and international imports are among the Field innovations that became standards in quality retailing. The quotes "Give the lady what she wants" and "The customer is always right" are attributed to Field, though the latter may also be an invention of Harry Gordon Selfridge while employed by Field.

During the time of the Haymarket Riot, the wives of the defendants initiated an appeal, to which all of the local businessmen agreed except for Field. Journalist and reformer Henry Demarest Lloyd led a national campaign to grant clemency. Even bankers like Lyman J. Gage favored clemency, believing that moderation would lead to improved relations between capital and labor. Potter Palmer and Charles Hutchinson were inclined to agree, but Marshall Field was not. A number of other men confided to Gage that they were not willing to publicly disagree with Field, the wealthiest and most powerful businessman in Chicago.

Field avoided political and social intrigue, instead focusing on his work and on supporting his family and his favorite philanthropies. He married Nannie Douglas Scott in 1863 and raised two children, Marshall Field, Jr., and Ethel Field. After Scott died in 1896, Field married longtime friend Delia Spencer, widow Caton. Field was buried on January 19. His son Marshall Jr. was married to Albertine Huck, parents of Gwendolyn Mary Field, married to Sir Archibald Charles Edmonstone, 6th Baronet. His daughter Ethel was married to Arthur Magie Tree with whom she had one son, Ronald, and then in 1901 to David Beatty, 1st Earl Beatty with whom she had two sons, David and Peter. His two grandsons, Henry Field and Marshall Field III, were the beneficiaries of the majority of Field’s estate upon his death.

The Field Museum of Natural History was named after him in 1894 after he gave it an endowment of one million dollars. Field was initially reluctant to do so, reportedly saying "I don't know anything about a museum and I don't care to know anything about a museum. I'm not going to give you a million dollars." However he later relented after railroad supplies magnate Edward E. Ayer, another early benefactor (and later first president) of the museum, convinced Field that his everlasting legacy would be achieved by financing the project.
The University of Chicago was founded by both Field and New York's John D. Rockefeller, to rival nearby Evanston's Northwestern University.

Field died in New York City in 1906 at age 71 from a case of pneumonia contracted while playing golf on New Year’s Day with his nephew, his secretary and Abraham Lincoln’s oldest son Robert Todd. The year after his death the Field Museum received a further $8,000,000 in accordance with his will. He was interred in the Graceland Cemetery in Chicago. He was a very active member of The Commercial Club of Chicago. A bust of Marshall Field stands aside other early 20th century Chicago industry magnates on the north riverbank on the Chicago River facing the Merchandise Mart. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
And the actual store:
Marshall Field & Company (Marshall Field's) was a department store in Chicago, Illinois that grew to become a major chain before being acquired by Macy's Inc. on August 30, 2005.

The former flagship Marshall Field and Company Building location on State Street in The Loop of downtown Chicago was officially renamed Macy's on State Street on September 9, 2006, and is now one of four national Macy's flagship stores. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
And did you notice the name Potter Palmer? Well, I've got a story for you that would make the ladies in this photo absolutely blush. Read THE PALMER FAMILY loved Camel's, but not each other at my other blog, Tattered and Lost EPHEMERA.



Last year at the flea market I bought the strangest photo album I've ever seen. It's not that the photos are particularly odd. People in the photos look perfectly normal. The album is missing probably 2/3 of the original photos and apparently a lot of foreign money that was on the left hand pages. What remains on many pages are the photo corners with captions handwritten in white ink below each empty spot that seem to tell a rather strange story. The real oddness is that the fellow who put the album together often put the same photo multiple times in the album, but each with a different caption. So you look at the first page and you see one of him with his "first wife" and then two pages later the same photo shows up with a different caption. The weirdest of all is the page where he has the exact same photo, one above the other, different captions below each.

I think the only way I'll be able to do any justice to any of it is to actually take photos of some of the pages. There's no way I can scan the pages without doing damage to the album. Some photos I can remove and scan, such as the one below.

When I first saw the album another buyer was looking at it. I moved in close, within his space, wanted him to feel a little uncomfortable. I wanted the album. It worked. He moved on and I grabbed it. It has over 20 photobooth shots, some handtinted. Let's start with this one. The caption below it reads:

Girl. cousin By. marriage
And that is one of the least strange captions. But we'll get to some of the others in time. For now enjoy "Girl.cousin By.marriage" and ponder what the heck was the owner of the photobooth thinking with that backdrop? Seriously, a Nazi plane crashed in the background? And of course it's made even stranger by the placement of the cigarette in the woman's hand next to the flames in the water. Okay, it was war time. I get it, sort of. But was it common to have backdrops showing death and mayhem? I'm not sure I've ever seen anything like this before.

Click on the image to see it larger.


GEORGE STECKEL, photographer, and MINNIE CHOPIN DUNNING, dancer?

These photos come from Bert's wonderful collection of vintage photos and are my submission for this weeks Sepia Saturday.

Click on any image to see it larger. Believe me, it's worth it.

I have virtually no information about these shots other than some meager info about the photographer, George Steckel. At first I thought the name was Steekel looking at the rather confusing calligraphy. I have not found any biographical information about Steckel, but did discover the following at Google Books, Pacific Coast Photographer, Volume 2 published in February 1893:

As you can see from the back of the mounting boards, Steckel was the recipient of a lot of awards and honors. As to when these actual photos were taken there is no information given.

The few links for Steckel are to collections which contain some of his images, some of "famous" people such as this opera star in 1910, Claudia Albright. And here is a link to a woman, Mrs. Bob Kammey, in a stunning dress.

It seems strange that there is nothing substantial online about this man who won so many awards. I imagine he is referenced in many books that have yet to make it online. If anyone has any information or links to information I'd appreciate your update.

As to the subject of the photographs, well there is the real mystery. The name of the one lovely young girl on the left in the horizontal photo is Minnie Chopin Dunning. That's certainly a hard name to live up to. They appear to be a dance troupe, though the guys could just as easily be members of a circus in those costumes. Lion tamers? Master of ceremonies?

It's a shame nothing is available about this troupe. I put them out here on the net hoping someone someday finds them and sends along information about the lovely Miss Dunning and friends.

UPDATE: Thanks to a reader I now have some biographical information about George Steckel. Thank you Meri!
George Steckel was born about 1865 in Pennsylvania. He was married at least twice. I haven't learned the name of Wife 1, but they had a son John Henderson Steckel who died in infancy January 21, 1901. 

Wife 2 was named Evangeline. Evangeline's maiden name may have been Buck, as there was an obit for Florence Jane Buck, mother of Mrs. George Steckel, in L.A. in 1912. George and Evangeline were married in about 1905-06. She was born about 1875 in Illinois. By 1910, they had a son George Steckel, Jr. He was killed in an accident in Yellowstone in 1933 -- apparently with a friend because there was a similarly worded accidental death obit for another young man who died in Yellowstone on the same day Steckel, Jr's obit ran. Evangeline and George also had a daughter Margaret about 3 years after George, Jr. was born.

George himself appears to have died September 22, 1938 in Covina, California. No cause of death was listed in the obit.
UPDATE: Thanks to reader Mark I can now add this additional information. Thanks Mark!
Edward Weston worked in Steckel's studio around 1908-09 before moving on.
It'd be interesting to see images from this studio around that time frame to see if any were Weston's work. 
I agree with Mark that it would be fascinating to see more about Weston's work with Steckel.



Just taking a moment to stop in and give you a call. Happy New Year!

A tiny tiny photo from Bert's collection. This one measures approximately 1" square. Lovely little girl with one of those fun old phones. Always wanted to have a phone like this. Don't want the party line, had one of those in the Sierra's. They are a nightmare. But the phone, yes, I want one.

Have no information about this lovely young girl. She's just the Happy New Year vernacular photo princess.