In and around Pomona, maybe?

Today’s series of photos from the Pomona College Book look to be from in and around Pomona, CA. Maybe. I can’t be sure, honestly. The photos are toward the front of the book where the previous photo of the girls by a statue was identified as being on the campus of the college, so maybe there is some correlation in time.


A large building – classrooms?

A boarding house maybe?

These girls appear to be in front of the steps of the house pictured directly above.

Possibly also in front of those stairs?

A more collegiate looking building.

A fancy archway.


A Day At The Beach

It’s a rite of passage for college girls across the country – a day spent at the beach with girlfriends. In this case, the girls were from Pomona College in Pomona, CA. The particular beach is unknown, but the waters of the Pacific look calm, the sand lovely, and the girls of course, progressive in their scanty bathing suits!

13 girls pose for this candid shot, making me wonder who is taking the picture! There must have been 14 people at this outing. The girls’ bathing costumes vary in style from the “old fashioned” on the far right to the risqué on the left, with everything else in between. I’m going to guess (100% guess) that this photo was taken in the mid-1900s to 1910s. Some girls have a more “flapper” style of hair and suit, while others are holding on to older fashions. Therefore, my guess is that this was a transition time between the Edwardian to the Roaring 20s.

Unknown beach location in Southern California.

Frolicking in the waves. Each photo has been individually scanned and follow.

Very pretty

Lounging in the sun

Come in, the water’s fine!

Do you think she fell over or was knocked over by a wave?

Note that some of the girls have on a bathing cap. At the time they weren’t rubber like you picture on a swimmer, but were made of the same or similar fabric to the bathing costume. This was because the whole costume was to have a certain coquettish look. The early bathing costumes were clothing designed to give some freedom of movement, but also to showcase the individual wearer’s style, status and station. A hat or head covering was essential to complete the look.

I’m no historian of bathing suit design, so there ends my understanding of these styles. :-)

Observatory Day Trip

Originally I thought this picture featured an early Griffith Observatory in the background, but I think after closer inspection that it is not Griffith Observatory. It is possible it is the Brackett Observatory in Pomona, CA, which was part of the Pomona College campus. Built in 1908, it was named after Frank P Brackett, one of the original staff members at Pomona College when it was founded in 1888. He taught at the school from 1888 to 1934, an impressive 46 years of teaching!

I believe the photos below are from the same day trip as the person featured is wearing the same clothing. I have no idea where this railway track may have been. There was a railroad ‘boom to bust’ in the Claremont & Pomona areas prior to the college being built in the 1880s, but this looks more like a street car.

Further Information

Frank Parkhurst Brackett entry in the Publication of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific

Back to School

I originally called this photo album “Summer Vacation” because it shows people doing all sorts of fun things – visiting the beach, riding a train, etc. Closer inspection showed me the names of some local landmarks that will be exciting to trace – the Claremont Inn, Pomona College & Griffith Observatory in particular. It gave us the photo of the destroyed Pearland High School, and I do wonder if the group of girls pictured above includes Verva or Mazel.

Here’s a similar group in the same location as the photo above, although it includes a few different people. There are buildings in the distance but I can’t really tell what exactly they are. Houses? Businesses? The album itself is in rough shape with pages falling out in some places. The person who put it together didn’t identify anyone or write in it, so it’s really impossible to know who is pictured. It’s about 6×9 landscape, with the typical black paper pages. Many of the photos were cut by the person who pasted them down, and I can’t seem to find a rhyme or reason to some of the organization. These two photos – obviously taken on the same day in the same location, are separated by several pages.

This photo shows the young lady in the lighter colored overcoat again, and next to her in the first two photos you will see a gal with a wide white collar. She’s in this picture too and the group of friends has gotten larger. Still no idea where they are!

This final photo from the same day shows a young woman posed next to a statue/fountain. This lady was in the center of the previous photo, and based on her dress, this picture was taken the same day. I suppose it is possible to find the statue and identify the location that way, but I haven’t gotten that far yet. Stay tuned as we go on vacation with the Pomona College photo album of school chums.

Pearland High School

The photo above is the Pearland High School, in Pearland TX, built in 1912. It’s an impressive sized building for a rural farm town, and was surely intended to last a lifetime. Pearland was a farming town that grew various crops, such as pears, strawberries, oranges and figs. It lies within the Houston area, about 23 miles from Houston. It is also close to Galveston, TX, and in 1915 a hurricane destroyed much of the town. This storm is not to be confused with the massive one in 1900. The Pearland High School was a victim of that storm. The high school was never rebuilt.

This postcard was found in a photo album I have recently scanned and will be posting more out of over the next little while. The postcard was sent from Mazel Reasoner to Verva Sipple. Unfortunately, the card was torn out of the book, but the glue used was strong, as you can see on the scan below.

It is unfortunate we can’t see what Mazel wrote to Verva, but I am able to make out something like “after the storm” toward the bottom of the note. The card is dated November 8, 1915, postmarked in Texas. Mazel Reasoner was born around 1891 in Indiana. Her husband John W Reasoner was also from Indiana, and they may have been attracted to Pearland by an advertising campaign in the midwestern states to attract settlers. I found a little bit of information on their family, as follows:

John Wesley Reasoner, born November 2, 1891 in Sugar Creek Indiana, to Charles and Hester Reasoner. He was the oldest of 5 in the 1900 census. Between 1900 – 1912 there didn’t appear any information.

December 23, 1912, John W married Mazel Melvina McCormick, also born around 1891. They were married in Houston, TX.

November 28, 1914 Mazel was appointed Postmistress of the Pearland Post Office, a position she continued for many years from what I can tell.

November 15, 1918 Mazel was reappointed Postmistress.

May 26, 1918 John shipped out on the Glasgow as part of the US Army.

May 26, 1919 John shipped home from St. Nazair France on the Santa Cecelia. He was a cook in the Company B 345th Machine Gun Battalion, US Army.

The 1930 Census tells us that Mazel is still the Postmistress and John is an electrician. Living with them is their niece Mazel McCormick. Their neighbors were Francis A McCormick and William McCormick.

1940 saw them at the same house as in 1930, but the McCormicks were no longer their neighbors. Mazel’s name was misspelled as Hazel.

In 1942 John completed his World War II draft card.

In 1943 Mazel was once again appointed Postmistress.

After this, nothing turned up until John’s death February 17, 1971. He was buried in Pearland and his marker shows he had been a Master Sergeant in the Army during World War I.

Mazel found her way to Farmingham, NM where she died in June 1978.

I didn’t find any children for this couple, although that doesn’t mean they didn’t have any. I have discovered that old records aren’t always accurate.

Stay tuned for more out of this album, which I think belonged to Verva, who lived in Los Angeles, CA.

Ray and the boys visit Oklahoma

This series of photos come from the photo album my father-in-law kept while he was in the Air Force. I don’t know exactly where he was stationed, but at some point, he and his friends were in Oklahoma. While there, they visited the Will Rogers Memorial Museum and Birthplace Ranch. Will Rogers was a pioneer of vaudeville and early Hollywood, gaining fame first as a trick roper, and later as a humorist. He had intended to retire to Claremore, OK with his wife and family, and had purchased a large piece of property there. After his death in a plane crash in 1935, it was decided that a memorial would be created. During the Great Depression, raising funds was difficult, but people gave pennies, nickels and dimes to help fund the purchase of the land and set aside funding to build the museum. After the state of Oklahoma set aside funds to supplement the grass roots campaign, the museum was finally built in 1938.

These two photos were taken in front of the original location of this statue. It is a casting of the “Riding Into The Sunset” statue (sometimes called Will Rogers and Soapsuds) made by his friend Amon G Carter. The original is located in Fort Worth, Texas at the Will Rogers Memorial Center. There are two other castings of the statue, located in Dallas and Lubbock. The statue was moved later to a location near the tomb of Will Rogers and his family. I can’t nail down a date of when it was moved, but I know for sure it was after Ray visited, so after 1953. The new location also added a high pedestal under the statue, likely to prevent people from climbing on it.

This picture shows the sunken tomb where Will Rogers, his wife and several family members are buried. Though Rogers was originally interred in California, his body was moved in 1944.

This unnamed friend of Ray’s posed in front of the sign with the name Rogers on it. Will Rogers is a famous name that most people today will not really be able to associate with anyone other than someone from the old days. I myself did not know he had been more of a vaudeville name than a early Westerns movie name. I encourage you to learn more about Will Rogers, including his Cherokee lineage. He was a really interesting person.


Today a series of photos that I titled “blurry” in my files. You can tell why, they aren’t the most clear images, mostly because they were probably taken on an inexpensive camera with poor lighting, indoors in some cases. The early photographers knew that good light was crucial to striking the best images, and often advertised their skylights and modern lighting. With the advent of the personal camera, any old Tom, Dick or Harry could take a camera with him on his adventures to document his way. Sometimes, T, D or H didn’t realize good lighting was necessary to capture the moment in the best way.

This little series was part of a trip to “somewhere European.” I believe they are WWII vintage, possibly from before, during or after the war, but around that time. There is a large building similar to a barracks, but more telling are the pin ups on the walls. It’s an interesting peek into the life of this person at a time long gone. Where he was or when is lost, but this slice of his environment as he chose to show it tells us a little about him.

None of the photos were identified. They were found in a massive box of loose photos in an antique shop in California.

Pin ups

More pin ups and a radio?


Soldier, pin ups, backlit

Soldier and friends

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