Carlos W

Carlos W

A fine man was Carlos

Carlos back W

Carlos Deana Worlwich?

This fine fellow with his mutton chop whiskers is Carlos. Carlos was photographed sometime in the 1860s, but I don’t know where as there is no photographer’s mark on the card. What can we glean from this image? Carlos was losing his hair and tried to do a fancy comb about on top that reminds me personally a bit of a baby’s curl. He compensated for his lack of upper hair with fine facial hair. His suit has wide lapels and you can see the satin or silk watermarks in them. He has a fancy silk neckcloth with some sort of fastener on it.

Can you read the handwriting? It looks like Carlos Deana Worlwich to me. Could the name Worlwich on a second line indicate that was where he lived? There’s a town in England with that name. Was the name Carlos a popular one in England?? So many questions!

What does this all have to do with the polka, you ask? I’m going out on a limb to suggest that Carlos was from Spain or Mexico & Latin America, where polka music was – and still is – very popular. Here in Southern California, we hear Norteño, Tejano, and Cojunto all the time, and probably don’t think a thing about it! During the 19th century, Europeans were emigrating to the Americas, and many settled in Mexico, Peru, Columbia, Brazil, etc. Of course the immigrants influenced local culture, and their music was combined, resulting in the polka style music with the Spanish lyrics. The accordion, tuba and piano are crucial instruments in an ensemble. Just as Mexican and Latin culture influenced European foods, these styles of music from “South of the Border” have an exciting spice and vitality to them!

Here’s a sampling of one of my favorite bands, Los Lobos, California boys who found fame when they provided music for the film La Bamba! which was about the fated singer Ritchie Valens. This recording is from 1987 when they were first starting out, but they are still around and still making great music!

To learn more about polka, just step off to Sepia Saturday for a whirl around the dance floor!

And a one, and a two….


Uncle Charles

Top Hat W

Top Hat back


Up for your perusal today is Uncle Charles from Liverpool. I like his shiny top hat and well buffed shoes. They look to be a low boot with elastic insets to allow it over the foot. Elastic was invented in the 1820s by Thomas Hancock and his collaboration with Charles Macintosh led to the production of rubberized overcoats, among other things. Hancock finally patented his rubber processing machine in 1837 and became the leading producer of rubber goods in the world. Elastic was used in boots and shoes extensively, both in men’s and women’s fashions.

The photographer Uncle Charles used was Harry Emmens of 30 Church Street and 108 Seel Street, Liverpool. By the studio appointments, I’m guessing this CDV was made in the 1880s or 1890s. Stay tuned for more photos from this family. Someone at some point identified a few of them, but I haven’t had a chance to try to track anyone down yet…if I can at all.

This is a Sepia Saturday submission! Click through and explore as they did in times past, up the lazy river, around the bend and across the great oceans.

Take a tour of the world

Artistic photograph shows long hair

Lush locks

Lush locks

Turning to a new source of photographs, I am delighted with this artistic image of a lovely young woman. She shows her unbound hair and is draped with a white robe. It’s rather suggestive for the times, don’t you think? It brings to mind a woman as she readies herself for sleep, brushing out her hair while in her dressing gown. To the proper Victorians, this might have been quite intimate. Her pose in profile, looking skyward is prescient of the glamorous movie shots of the 1930s. All we lack is back lighting and Max Factor.

Lush locks back

Window & Grove Photographers, London

As you can see on the back of the mount, this was made by Window & Grove, photographers to the Royal Family at 63A Baker Street, Portman Square, London W. The address is reminiscent of another Baker Street house. Do you know which one?

My knowledge of photographers in Britain is limited on the best of days, and my knowledge of the geography of Britain is fairly limited as well. I can find London on a map and I’m aware that Scotland, Wales and Ireland are all parts of the greater British Isles. I could not tell you if this was a tony address as I could of a New York city direction, however, so if anyone is so inclined to enlighten us all, please do in the comments.

I am putting this up as a return to Sepia Saturday, the blog party that takes you to vintage photo websites from around the world! Sepia Saturday doesn’t require following a theme although a thematic prompt is provided every week. I discovered in the past that I focused so much on meeting the theme that I lost the fun in the old photos. And, after a refocus of this site on 19th century photos, a return to Sepia Saturday seems in order as well. So, press the button, my friend! Send me back in time…

Trot on over!

Verdun 1944

Momentous events in history are the topic of the week, and Sepia Saturday gives us the prompt of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, just a few moments before his assassination, which started World War I. One of the major battlefields during World War I was outside the city of Verdun, about 200 miles (250 km) from Paris. The town is ancient, having been an occupied fortress before the Romans came rolling through, and takes its name from the Latin Verodunum, meaning strong fort. The town is surrounded by several forts which were targets for German forces in an effort to break France, and therefore break Britain.

Carroll at Verdun, France / Paris 200 miles west

Carroll at Verdun, France / Paris 200 miles west

While part of the town fell to German forces, not all of it did, and eventually Allied forces attacked the German flank at the Somme, bringing a conclusion to most of the fighting at Verdun. Over eleven months, hundreds of thousands of men died on the verdant land in and round the town. Verdun hosts several monuments and cemeteries consecrating the numerous remains. French General Philippe Pétain helped to keep open the Bar-le-Duc road – the only road available to bring in supplies to the beleaguered town. It became known as The Sacred Way.

Carroll, taken at Verdun, France 1944

Carroll, taken at Verdun, France 1944

During World War II, France fell to the Germans thanks in part to the actions of the very same General Pétain, and Verdun and all of northwestern France became occupied by German troops. After the Normandy Beach landings by Allied forces in 1944, the Germans were pushed out of the region. By September of that year, Verdun was liberated, but then heavily bombed by the retreating German army. This interesting article from the Sydney Morning Herald describes troop movements as of September 2, 1944. The Allied troops moved north toward Belgium and Luxembourg virtually unopposed.

Carroll at Verdun, 1944

Carroll at Verdun, 1944

These photographs found in the local antique stall are badly scratched from time and mishandling, but show a soldier – Carroll – while he was in Verdun in 1944. We can see the snow in some of these, and so we know they must have been after the September offensive by the Allied forces that freed Verdun from German occupation. The first photograph might have been taken in the autumn of that year, and shows the signpost for both Paris and Bar-le-Duc.

Carroll & Munan at Verdun, France 1944

Carroll & Munar at Verdun, France 1944

Carroll is the fellow on the left in this picture. I’m guessing at the spelling of Munar. The handwriting is small and cramped. Maybe it is Monroe. Although they were certainly in the area in connection to the Allied victory over Germany and subsequent stabilization efforts, that is all we know. The photos became lost somehow, separated from their subjects and forever a curiosity for us to muse upon.

For other major events and significant moments in history, great and small, click over to Sepia Saturday. You will be happy you did!

Moments frozen in time

Army R.O.T.C.

Delaware ROTC

Delaware ROTC Headquarters

I have neglected you all, dear photo loving friends, and for that I apologize. I just didn’t seem to have enough time to do anything the past couple weeks and I didn’t realize that so much time had passed!

Hopefully you are a forgiving lot, heh. For this week’s Sepia Saturday we have a prompt showing a doorway. The doorway on this photo of the Delaware Army R.O.T.C. leads to a Headquarters building flanked with wooden barracks un an unpaved/ungroomed plot of land. The young men pictured supposedly include my grandfather Horace A. Nunn, but I can’t discern his face among them. My mother or sister might have better luck.

Horace was born in 1902. If he was in college during his stint in the R.O.T.C. we can guess he was about 18 years of age, and so this photo is from approximately 1920-1921. Any military historians who can better date this, please comment! I am only guessing he was college aged because that is my experience – R.O.T.C. was open to college boys. But, military uniforms are often a good way to date photos, and I know nothing about them.

UPDATE: A site visitor schooled me that R.O.T.C. may not be understood outside of the USA, my apologies! R.O.T.C. stands for Reserve Officers Training Corps, and was designed to train future military leaders. Established in 1862, it was a requirement for men attending a land-grant college to participate in R.O.T.C. A land-grant college is a federally funded college or university, and to retain federal funding the college must offer agriculture, science, military science and engineering. Up until 1862 apparently, most colleges offered a liberal-arts curriculum. While a man who joins the military after college can become an office without R.O.T.C. it is preferred that he have completed the training during school. The practice of compulsory R.O.T.C. spread to many private universities, until the 1960s, and now it is voluntary for men to join. Many of my male friends in college were in R.O.T.C. We called their weekends away “doing the green thing.” 

Hopefully I won’t neglect you again, thank you for sticking with me! For more photos of doorways from around the world, please click over to Sepia Saturday. You will be happy you did!

Come on in!

New Beginnings

Launching a new venture

This Sepia Saturday shows the HMAS Albatross during construction in 1928. The challenge, however is to find photos showing new beginnings. When I think of new beginnings, I think of new homes, babies, weddings, starting school, and the cycles of life illustrated through our seasons of planting, budding, growing, and harvesting. Just recently I stopped into my favorite antique stall and collected a variety of images. Among them was the photo below.

Bride Baby Dog

Bride, baby, dog, house, spring

A bride in her lovely wedding clothes, replete with long trailing veil, holding a baby, in front of a flowering garden. If we imagine well enough this could also be her new home, and her new dog, maybe even her new sister-in-law. I was going to save this for a series of wedding photos to be posted in the spring, but could there be a better image to capture the concept this week?

And as a coincidence, this is on the back of this photo:

Bride Baby Dog Back

Lovely lady standing by a pond

A crooked picture of a lady standing by a pond…with a boat on it. :-)

To find out how others met the challenge this week, click the Sepia Saturday banner at the top of this post. You will be happy you did!

Memories blurred with time

Sepia Saturday challenges participants to see photographs in a different perspective at times. And some days, when the photo appears to meet the prompt exactly to theme, sometimes the meaning of the photos doesn’t. Or can’t. Or, has been lost. So often we see old photographs for sale on ebay, in antique shops, thrift stores, and even thrown into the trash, because they don’t mean anything to the current owner. Photographs are taken, shown to friends, placed into an album or shoebox or drawer, then to be forgotten by the person who took them in the first place. When they aren’t identified, it is especially difficult for descendants to figure out exactly what caught the eye of the photographer. My sister and I threw away probably a hundred photos of trees that our grandfather took on a trip somewhere, some time, with some people….but we didn’t know any of the details. Grandpa Jim liked scenery. Grammie Hennie liked people. The few photos we did save had a giant frame of scenery, with down in the corner or off to the side…a person. It was their compromise. :-)

So, as a “curator” of old photos, I seek out these lost treasures, the memories lost to time, and share them with you, all for our speculation and enjoyment. This week’s Sepia prompt shows blurry landscape. If I still had all those photos by Grandpa Jim, I’d share them, haha. But instead, I have a series of 14 5×7 photographs, from someone’s trip. To somewhere. To visit someone. The photos were not identified, but they were numbered. They may have been self developed as the weight of the prints varies. Some are on firm paper, others quite flimsy.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I will pull out a few for closer examination, below. Click any photo to enlarge it.

An airstrip, small plane in the distance

An airstrip, small plane in the distance

At first glance, this is a picture of the tarmac at an airstrip. But, looking closer, there is a small silver plane in the center of frame.

Photo taken over the wing?

Hay making, horses used

This photo, taken over the wing engine of a plane I believe, shows a team of farmers collecting hay. The bales are large round ones, and to the left of the hay you can see a man, a horse, and in the distance more horses. There is also a man standing on the top of the main hay pile.

View out the window

These don’t look like American houses, so I’m guessing “European”

The view out the window, I suppose. Houses that do not look American. Hills rising in the distance. An electric cable right through the middle of the shot.

Great party

Look on the left wall, there is some sort of mural there

An image of a party or restaurant, unfortunately badly backlit by the windows. Looking to the left wall, there is a mural painted there. It shows a truck, a car and possibly a motorcycle, all on a road that appears to be along the edge of the world.

All the photos are intriguing because their meaning and origins are lost forever. Perhaps someone can identify the type of houses, or landscape. I’m thinking a military base, possibly in Germany, but that is a total guess. The slideshow displays the images in their numbered order, so that might tell us something about the progression of the person’s trip. But, just who was visiting whom…..we shall never know.

For more blurred memories and images, click over to Sepia Saturday. You will be happy you did!

Visiting abroad

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