Thursday, December 19, 2013

Shades The Magazine - The Toy Issue

It’s the Toys Issue and it’s loaded. All the Shades contributors are here to show and tell about “toys” and old photographs. You’ll also learn their favorite childhood toy. I loved paper dolls. I had two sets I adored. Prince Valiant, filled with beautiful jewels and a little girl that I could design clothes in vinyl and stick them to her with static electricity. I still collect them as you can see from the image on the next page.

Brett Payne, the Photo-Sleuth, has written a brilliant article on the toys used by photographers to appease their young sitters. You must take a look.

Did you know that Queen Victoria was a doll collector and an archivist? Check out Queen Victoria’s Dolls. In doing the research for this article I found I had a great deal in common with the publisher of The Strand Magazine. See if you can find the resemblance.

Then we explore a Santa’s Wish list in iAncestor, what the well-dressed dolls wear in Dressed To The Nines, what toys were appealing and which were not in Appealing Subjects, toy hunting for the genealogist in In2Genealogy, creating a toy with a download from The Healing Brush, places to go to when hunting toys with Sheri Fenley, a dreadful doll story with a happy ending in Penny Dreadful, and an ArtiFact from Denise Levenick.

Don’t miss the announcement Shades has this month. Something’s coming, something good!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Thank You to all our loyal readers! On to the New year!

Select the image above or The Toys Issue to read the new Shades Magazine.

Read more »


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Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Birthday Surprise Revisited PennyD!

Twice Told Tuesday features a photography related article reprinted
from old photography books, magazines, newspapers, and today a letter

This is a "Twice Told Tuesday" told thrice, this year on Sunday. A story told to you in 2009 by a very special guest and reprinted because it and the subjects are two of my favorites. This post is a forever favorite. On our birthdays our thoughts turn to our Mothers. Without them we wouldn't be here. We wouldn't be the people we have become. A remembrance, a birthday celebration and another year PennyD!


Dear Daughter,

Miss Penelope and your Shades and Curator fans want to share this special day with you. A Curator, as you have learned, is a person responsible for managing, organizing and preserving historical and treasured items. You have always been good at keeping things. You certainly have the experience for this since you've hung on to friends, animals, letters, pictures, clothes, and even an old pork chop bone which we found under your bed. I wonder what the history of that bone would have been? I hate to imagine.

As far as Miss Penelope is concerned, I am sure she was first born during the many childhood books you read and the stories which you heard from your Grandma Arline. In fact, sometimes I believe you are talking about your Grandma and all the adventures she had and the men who had been in her life.

I will never be sorry now that I dumped 5 large boxes of Mama's pictures and letters on you when I moved to Arizona.

I think Mama knew that her life in the early 1900's would be of interest to others in this day and age. Mama would be thrilled that you have shared her life with others in such a unique way.

Have a Great Birthday and never stop your writing as you continue to enrich and entertain others.

Love Mom

Mom is the beautiful Suzanne. Denise Levenick (Penelope Dreadful and The Family Curator) is her daughter.

Your happy birthday now is here.
I hope you're well and hearty! If I lived near you, my dear,
I'd surprise you with a party.
Happy Birthday BFF from all your fans!

We lift our glasses!

And as good as this story, was Denise's response:

Blogger Family Curator said... 
No such thing as a ho-hum day in the blogosphere.

The Family Curator woke with a start and the realization, "Hooray, it's my birthday!" quickly followed by the horrid thought, "will anyone remember???"

Junior, the cat, looked up from his nest in the covers and blinked in reply, "We’ll see."

Although the sky was just beginning to show the first signs of dawn, the Curator sprang from bed to retrieve a cup of morning brew from the kitchen. In a few minutes, she was back in bed with cat and coffee, cruising the internet for the day's news. FREE for three days! at GeneaMusings

Blog Type Spotlight – Crafts and Charts Blogs at GeneaBloggers

Twice Told Tuesday - A Birthday Story at Shades of the Departed

That sounds interesting, the Curator thought. It’s my birthday too, I’d like to read a little birthday story.

But before she could click through to the page, the telephone rang. It was her good friend Penny Dreadful.

“Well, I never,” said Penny breathlessly. “Have you seen Shades yet today? Can you even believe it?”

Without waiting for the Curator’s reply, Penny went on, “How in the world did footnoteMaven and Mom get in cahoots? I can scarcely believe it.

The Curator was understandably confused. What in the world was Penny talking about? Quickly logging on to Shades, she discovered the article in question and shrieked in surprise as she read the headline, “This is a Twice Told Tuesday with a twist. . . Happy Birthday to You. . Penelope Dreadful/Family Curator,” and then with tears streaming down cheeks, the Curator read on, “Dear Daughter. . .”

“Penny,” she said to her friend, “how do you think this happened? How did Mom connect with footnoteMaven to publish this story today?”

“I can’t even imagine,” replied Penny. “The Maven doesn’t know anything about the pork chop. I have never mentioned it to anyone, and if you didn’t tell her, and Denise didn’t tell her, it had to have been Mom. She never was very good with secrets, but this time she surprised us all.”

“She certainly did. Mom isn’t on Facebook, she doesn’t Tweet and she managed to trump us all with her tech savvy. Pretty soon we may be seeing her on Blogger.”


Dear footnoteMaven and Mom, and all my geneablogging friends,

Thank you for a WONDERFUL birthday surprise. I am truly overwhelmed by your thoughtfulness and love. This gift is destined to be remembered and preserved in the family archives, thank you.

xoxo, Denise/FamilyCurator/Penny


Denise & Mom. 2009. Digital Image. Anonymous. Acquired from Denise Levenick's Facebook page. 2009.


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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Free Vintage 1915 July 4th Images

"The time has come," the Walrus said, "to talk of many things."

Thursday, on Shades Of The Departed, will be dedicated to
many things,
and nothing in particular.  
Many Things Thursday 
Free Vintage July 4 Images from 1915

Working on your Heritage Scrapbooking? I have two vintage 4th of July images to share with you. The firecracker image can be used as a divider and the rocket image can be used as a drop cap in your family history writing or a frame for initials or dates in your scrapbooking. Use your imagination my friends!

FireCracker Divider
Here is an example of how I used the Firecracker Divider by coloring the image.
It can be downloaded as a PNG file (transparent background) or
as a JPG file (white background). Not in color.

Rocket Image With Year
Rocket Image with Drop Cap
Here is an example of how I used the Rocket Image by converting to a brush 
and adding a year. It can be downloaded as a PNG file (transparent background) or
as a JPG file (white background).Not in color.

Right click the images below and select Save Image As.
(Transparent Background)
(White Background)

(Transparent Background) 
(White Background)


Just click on the image to enlarge it and then right click (using the button on the right side of your mouse) to save it to your computer.


Just click on the image to enlarge it and then right click (using the button on the right side of your mouse) to save it to your computer.


Personal use only. No commercial use.

Do not use on free graphics sites (if you own a “free graphics site”, do not post my images on your site to give away for free). 

Post a link to when including the images  on your blog or website. Thank you!
Enjoy your Heritage Scrapbooking! 


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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Twice Told Tuesday - Posing

Twice Told Tuesday features a photography related article reprinted from
my collection of old photography books, magazines, and newspapers.

Anthony's Photographic Bulletin

The photographers of old took they're work very seriously striving for professionalism in all aspects. So much so in posing that an entire book was written and illustrated with photographs on the subject. I own a photograph similar to Plate VI and have always wondered how it was done.

In a recent issue we announced that Mr. C. Hetherington was engaged upon a new book, "Studies from Leading Studios," in which would be presented a series of object lessons that cannot fail to be of immense value to all interested in portrait photography. Through the kindness of Mr. Hetherington we are permitted to reproduce six of the illustrations from this book. Each of these is a whole volume of information, and should receive the earnest consideration of our readers. We append details of their production.
Plate I
Plate I.—This shows how to handle a large group, and was made by Mr. Hetherington himself at the studio of Huntington & Clark, of Detroit, Mich. His plan of handling such groups is to first pick out seven or eight of the largest men and make a group of them in the center of the picture. Then, by adding small groups, he works from the center towards each end. In other words, his groups are made up of small groups. Observe that the floor line is nicely broken, and also the top line. Notice, also, the lack of hands and feet in tie picture. The background, too, is eminently suitable, in that it does not in any way detract from the group.

Plate II
Plate II.—A beautiful group, made by J. M. White, Port Huron, Mich. The posing of hands, heads and eyes is very good, and the subjects look as if interested in a good story, and momentarily distracted by a new-comer. The picture looks as if it were taken in a parlor.
Plate III
Plate III.—This picture of our good friend, Mrl George Bassett, and his daughter Millie, is a nice suggestion for a group of two.
Plate IV
Plate IV.—A beautiful pose, by J. Leask Ross, formerly with Morrison, and now operator for the Taber Photo Studio, San Francisco.

Plate V
Plate V.—A study by Hetherington, made with a single slant skylight, in Chicago, at the American Aristotype Company's School of Photography. The subject was placed about 10 feet away from the light, and the curtains were let up all the way. Then a 6 x 8 background was placed between the sitter and the light. The light was allowed to pass over the top of this ground and to fall on the subject. The exposure was fifteen seconds.
Plate VI

Plate VI.—Portrait of J. Leask Ross, by C. Hetherington. When this plate was developed, every mark upon it was visible on the negative. Take a piece of ground-glass the same size as the negative, place it in the plate-holder and focus. The subject must now keep the body still until the exposure is made. Take a piece of crayon and sketch the coat on the ground-glass. Now insert the plate in the holder, replace the latter on the camera, vignette (with a vignetter on front of the lens), the head and collar, make the exposure and close the plate-holder. Then focus on a piece of rough canvas and expose the same plate on this canvas and develop. Print on Aristo-Platino paper, and tone only with gold, enough to clear the whites. Fix well, and the resulting print will have the appearance of a red chalk drawing.

 "Illustrations," Anthony's Photographic Bulletin. New York: E. & H. T. Anthony & Company, 1897.


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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Many Things Thursday - The Black Cat

"The time has come," the Walrus said, "to talk of many things."

Thursday, on Shades Of The Departed, will be dedicated to
many things,
and nothing in particular.

Many Things Thursday
The Black Cat 
The young woman above appears to be advertising a once popular magazine called The Black Cat. This photograph is common for the genre referred to as advertising photographs.

The Black Cat Cover 1895

The Black Cat (1895–1922) was an American literary magazine published in Boston, Massachusetts. It specialized in short stories of an "unusual" nature. The magazine's first editor was Herman Umbstaetter (1851–1913). It is best known for publishing the story "A Thousand Deaths" by Jack London in the May 1899 issue.  Reminds me of Penny Dreadful.
The Black Cat describes itself:
The Black Cat is devoted exclusively to original, unusual, fascinating stories - every number is complete in itself. It publishes no serials, translations, borrowing, or stealings. It pays nothing for the name or reputation of the writer, but the highest price on record for Stories that are Stories, and it pays not according to length, but according to strength.  
The most intriguing story published by the magazine established its reputation for the unusual, "The Mysterious Card" (February 1896) by Cleveland Moffett. The story reminded me of the Twilight Zone series. A man has a card that is blank when he looks at it, but is revolting to all others who look at it.
I have purchased several of The Black Cat magazines, a favorite of a certain black cat I know. You can read  The Black Cat, December 1899 online.

The most famous story published by the magazine helped establish its reputation for the unusual, "The Mysterious Card" (February 1896) by Cleveland Moffett, where a man has a card upon which he can see nothing but it revolts all he shows it to. - See more at:


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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Twice Told Tuesday - Old Photographs & The Historiographer

Twice Told Tuesday features a photography related article reprinted from
my collection of old photography books, magazines, and newspapers.

The Living Age, 1913

One of the most envied accompaniments of high birth in the past is becoming almost universal. Almost everyone nowadays is possessed of family portraits. That is, they are possessed of accurate delineations of the features of their more immediate ancestors. Old photograph albums tell middle-aged men and women what their grandfathers were like before they grew old, and young people can study the clothes, faces, and deportment of their great-grandparents and great-aunts and great-uncles. We all have pictures of the block whence we were hewn—an advantage reserved at one time for chips of greater distinction. The fact ought not to be without its effect upon character—if the heirlooms of family tradition are of any value. As in the case of jewels, there is something fictitious about the store which is set by them. Nevertheless the fascination of such heirlooms is eternal

A really good collection of old family photographs is a great treasure. But why, as we turn over its pages, are we quite sure to laugh? What is there that is ridiculous about the earlier photographs? It is not very easy to say. They tell us truthfully a great deal about those who are separated from us by a small space of time and an immense expanse of change. The sitters are self-conscious. Some of their self-consciousness was doubtless due to the long exposure then necessarily exacted by the photographer, but also they are frankly trying to look their best. But whatever we may say of them as individuals, taken all together they bear witness to a simpler generation than ours.

It is curious how often they give an impression of belonging to a lower rank of life than the one they adorned. Any look of distinction is rare in an old photograph, and groups of children belonging to the well-off classes remind one of groups collected at a village school feast. To our eyes the men and the children of the early Victorian period were wonderfully badly dressed. Perhaps there has never been a period when the beauty of women was substantially injured by the fashions.; But if the men in early photographs lacked vanity to reform the tailoring art, they were not above striking an attitude in obedience perhaps to the suggestion of the photographer any more than their wives and daughters were. As we turn over the heavy leaves of the album we are sure to see a young soldier intending to look fierce, a young lady looking intentionally modest, a husband and wife exhibiting devotion by staring at one another, she from a chair that she may look up, he on his legs looking down. A clergyman, or perhaps he is only a grave father of a family, is represented with an enormous Bible on his knees, and a group of oddly dressed little girls are feigning interest in a geographical globe. We could not put ourselves into such self-conscious positions nowadays.

Would it be absurd to say that it is partly because we are too self-conscious? Reserve may become an affectation. A good deal of our vaunted simplicity arises from the terror we feel of being ridiculous. It la the simplicity of the schoolboy, who dare not be self-conscious and who is not in real truth a very simple being. No generation is a judge of Its own airs and graces. Will our photographs make our grandchildren laugh? Will they see an extraordinary egoism behind the studied simplicity of our attitudes and expressions?

Our grandfathers and grandmothers wished that their photographs should call attention to the fact that they were playing their parts well. Men and women in modern fashionable photographs say nothing about their roles. They call - attention - Loudly to their own individualities.

Will our descendants amuse themselves sometimes on Sunday afternoons comparing old "snapshots" with old fashionable photographs? Will they be so cruel as to believe that the snapshot was the more like? Probably not, because it is in the carefully taken photograph and not in the snapshot that family likenesses are most often obvious.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about old family photographs is the likeness we are able to trace between the representatives of one generation and another. At times, between fairly close relations, it approaches to something like identity. This impression is strengthened when we remember that likeness of feature almost always carries with it likeness of voice. For instance, we may find a very early Victorian lady in a crinoline, with banded hair. Her hand is upon the shoulder, perhaps, of a mild little boy in a species of fancy costume which was known as "kilts." The photographer desired to show the sedate tenderness of the early Victorian ideal matron, but the likeness to her great-niece strikes every beholder, and the great-niece is perhaps a suffragette.

Dressed like the photograph, supplied with the crinoline and a little boy, with rearranged hair and taking similarity of voice for granted, the two ladies would seem to be one. Would the aunt in the photograph have been a suffragette had circumstances permitted? Would the great-niece have been a mild, sedate lady of early Victorian proclivities under other conditions? We wonder perhaps what the great-aunt was really like. Probably no one can remember anything about her except that she lived in such-and-such a place, and that the boy died.

We turn to another picture, saying sadly that "there is no one now whom we could ask." There is no key now to the personality of the great-aunt except that of the great-niece who is so like her. It is sad how soon we are all forgotten, or remembered only by a resemblance which strikes beholders as ridiculous. "Quite comically like!" they cry as they look at the portrait. Change of circumstance does sometimes make a resemblance absurd. The prototype seems like the antitype masquerading, and It Is difficult to get away from the theatrical suggestion.

It is amazing what a likeness a large-headed, very untidily dressed young man in a photograph, who seems to be seeking a leonine effect, may bear to his young relation at Sandhurst. The modern military cadet, shocked by the much creased trousers, is perhaps the only person who does not see the likeness.

The early photographs of children seem at first as little like the children of to-day as the Fairchild family are like children in a modern story-book. All the same. If we isolate and magnify o rIngle face we may probably find Its antitype in the present nurseries of the family or at school. Old photographs of children are, however, very unsatisfactory. They are surprisingly without charm. Has the modern worship of children brought something out in them which was not patent in their little grandfathers? The painters contradict a theory to which early photography certainly lends a plausibility.

Why does the ordinary middle-class family beep so poor a record, not of its own doings—they are, for the most part, dull enough—but of its own personalities? None of us can see in front of us much further than the probable lifetime of our own children, and we do not like to look even so far as that.
Surely it would give us a sense of space if we could see clearly a little further behind us. Moreover, to those who are engaged in the bringing up of their own children, a history of the family might furnish many a hint. Would it not be a good plan if every family appointed a historiographer. It would be his or her duty to make a slight sketch in words of every living member of the family; to keep a few characteristic letters; to put down a few characteristic sayings, and to send this little dossier to some discreet person who should be agreed upon as a recipient of the family archives.

 As a companion volume to the family album it would be very interesting! The post, too, would be an interesting one to fill. The choice would fall often, we think, upon an unmarried woman. Women are far more interested in character-study than men; unmarried women are apt to stand a little outside the family circle. Also such a woman would be likely to accept a somewhat onerous job for the sake of the sense that she was somehow augmenting the significance of her own blood, though only by words.

All the same, we are not sure but that the book might prove enervating reading. History repeats itself, as the photographs show us. A minute description of their forebears might remove from present members of a humdrum family all sense of originality, and leave them with a calm acquiescence in stagnation, a sense that there is nothing new under the sun, and that each successive generation is a reproduction of the last in different clothes and fresh circumstances.

"Old Photographs." The Living Age, 1913.


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Monday, June 24, 2013

Doppelganger - Clare Bowen, ABC Television Series Nashville

This week's doppelganger is a ghostly duplicate of Clare Bowen of the ABC television series Nashville. There is no more ghostly duplicate of a living person than that of a photograph of someone taken almost a hundred years before they were born. A photograph of someone that could be their double.

Here is a photograph of Mary B. Goble, a school teacher in 1901 in the Prairie School, Dist. No. 8, Monroe Township, Allen County, Ohio, who could be the look-alike for Clare.

An ancestor perhaps, or a true doppelganger? What do you think?.

Have you read the latest issue of Shades Of The Departed Magazine? You really should. Teacher Mary B. Goble and her entire class are featured in the School Souvenir Article on page 118.


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