Vintage Snapshots

found photos & other curiosities

Some Favorite Portraits

A random grouping of a few recently acquired shots that I think will remain favorites.

Vintage 1920s snapshot of woman standing with her arms outstretched

Beatific, c 1920s

Vintage photo of man on porch with post in way of his face

Porch, c 1920s

Odd vintage snapshot of two brothers flanking a small guy with a pistol pointed at him. Circa 1920s

Flanked, c 1920s (click to enlarge)

 

Suspicious

Vintage snapshot of woman with an amazing hat along with a pistol and extra bullets (circa 1900/1905)

Extra bullets (c 1900)

She doesn’t seem hugely keen on having her photo taken.

Hello 1959

Vintage 1959 snapshot of man celebrrating New Year's in 1959 by wearing a giant diaper

Greeting 1959 in his own fashion

Merry Christmas

Vintage snapshot of older man displaying his Christmas present, a bottle of Old Spice

Old Spice at Christmas (c 1960s)

Christmas morning, covered with presents. Old Spice, taken out of the box to display. I love this one. Merry Christmas.

“I Love the Ladies”

Vintage snapshot of woman playing piano, with sheet music and family portraits on piano

Edith at the piano (detail), c 1910s/20s (click to enlarge)

Vintage snapshots of people sitting at pianos are not uncommon, though this is one of the nicer ones I think I have come across — for several reasons in my view, including its composition/light, the framed photographs on the piano, the fact that the woman is actually playing rather than merely sitting or posing, and for the sheet music to her left. (See the full photo below.)

“I Love the Ladies” first appeared in 1914, and was written by Grant Clarke and Jean Schwartz, the latter a Hungarian immigrant born in 1878 who was one of the more prolific composers of the early Broadway era. Those early popular songs certainly had some great titles; some of my favorites from Schwartz include “Rip Van Winkle Was a Lucky Man,” “Why Do They All Take the Night Boat to Albany?” and “I’m Tired.”  For his part, the Akron, Ohio-born Clarke contributed to titles such as “Weary River,” “He’d Have To Get Under – Get Out And Get Under – To Fix Up His Automobile,” “There’s A Little Bit Of Bad In Every Good Little Girl,” and “I’m The Medicine Man For The Blues.”

Vintage photo of woman named Edith playing the piano with sheet music and family photos on the instrument

Edith, c 1910s/20s

Here is a link to the sheet music, and should anyone be interested in the place of the piano in early-20th century culture, I wrote a long piece that touches on that subject in connection with the jazz pianist George Shearing for another blog I do here.

“Enjoyment” on Mt. Wilson

Vintage photo of two hikers on Mt. Wlson in September 1907

“Enjoyment – Mt. Wilson, Sept. 1, 1907″ (click to enlarge)

Mt. Wilson is a 5,712′-high mountain in Los Angeles County, and seems to have been a very popular early-20th century destination for hikers if the number of vintage snapshots taken there is any indication. According to this website, the first modern trail  up the mountain — transforming an old Indian path — was built in 1864, and by the 1880s “up to 70 hikers and horse-riders [would] climb the trail to camp at Mt. Wilson on weekends, building huge bonfires at the peak to signal their safe arrival.”

The names written on the back of this shot are “Davis” and what looks like “Goodan” —  should anyone in the area have any inkling of who they perhaps were.

A Cat Named After V-J Day?

1950 snapshot of a cat and dog, with their name of the cat noted as "V-Jay," perhaps after V-J Day

V-Jay, at home, 1950 (click to enlarge)

The name of the cat in this 1950 snapshot makes me wonder if he was perhaps born on or around V-J Day. ‘Victory Over Japan Day’, which marked the end of WWII, is celebrated in the United States on September 2, after the day in 1945 the surrender document was signed by Japan (although it also applies to August 14 or 15 — depending on whether one takes into account the time zone — which was the day the surrender was announced). The cat looks to be about the right age to me. If he was indeed named after the end of WWII — wow, what a great way to choose a cat name, and in some small way, perhaps a marker of how happy/significant a day that must have been for so many who experienced it.

V-J Day, by the way (the Aug. 14 version), was also the day the famous Times Square kiss photo was taken. The Leica camera that Alfred Eisenstaedt used to take that iconic shot was auctioned earlier this year in Vienna for about $150,000. The camera used to snap “V-Jay” is of course probably long gone, although who knows — perhaps it is sitting in a closet or attic somewhere. And as a final thought, how nice that someone chose to note the subjects and date. Even the “At Home” has something nice about it.

The Disappearing Man

Vintage snapshot with odd light leak/mistake obscuring man sitting on car

I wonder what they thought when they first saw this one (c 1940s)

Branching Out

Vintage photo of a man standing in front of a tree, with the branches appearing to rise from his hat

“Mantlers” (c 1920s)

Another in the “Backgrounds” series (sample here). While many of these of course seem inadvertent, I have to wonder whether they weren’t trying for this one.

Home Plate

Vintage Elko-border photo of a woman swinging a baseball bat while standing at a home-made home plate

Woman swings, c 1930s (click to enlarge)

I like the plate in this photo.

More baseball images here.

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