Glimpses of Latvian culture

The cabinet card above came from Latvia, which was part of the Russian Empire until the end of the First World War in November 1918.  The photo was probably taken in the 1890s.  The men are most likely Latvian, but it's hard to say for sure.  If only we could hear them play.... The following... Continue Reading →

Automate à musique (WWI)

This German Feldpost (field/military) postcard is dated Aug. 19, 1916.  A group of infantrymen is being entertained by a man in civilian clothes holding a music box with the words "Automate à musique" on the front.  Perched calmly on top of the music box is a black and white cat.  A second man in civilian... Continue Reading →

Man with banjo

This CDV (carte de visite) came from an antiques shop in Massachusetts.  CDVs declined in popularity in the 1870s with the advent of larger cabinet cards, but the format remained common into the 1880s.  The albumen print process was used for both formats.  

The Kansas Spirit

This snapshot came with no information, but the sheet music on the left side of the piano is "The Kansas Spirit" by George L. Wright.  Behind the title on the cover are the letters KU, for the University of Kansas.

Parlor trio

Informal early photos of musicians are surprisingly rare.  On the other hand, musical instruments have often appeared in formal portraits.  The postcard below was made some years after the photo above.

Carnaval 1926

This postcard is inscribed "1926 Carnaval. LIX" lower right.  The reverse is a standard back with no additional information.  I'd love to know something about the people in this remarkable portrait!

Heather Jock

This postcard was made from an earlier portrait of William Brodie, an itinerant Scottish performer who called himself Heather Jock.  Born in Paisley in 1802, he entertained village crowds into his seventies.  His songs and dances were especially popular with children.  In The Saturday Review (London) of Jan. 30, 1897, R. B. Cunningham Grahame wrote: So... Continue Reading →

Pick your pleasure

This family came up with a variety of ways to pass their time on vacation, from fishing and shooting to playing guitar, dominoes and at least four different board games.  Someone had the great idea to make a visual record of their activities.  Two women in the group find the idea a little embarrassing.  Some... Continue Reading →

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