Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ouch! Where's A Hidden Mother When You Need One?

How does this torture chamber work on the littlest portrait sitter? Afraid to ask?

The New Invisible Baby Holder

Pronounced by Leading Photographers the most ingenious time, labor and plate saving device ever invented. It is simple, inexpensive, and with ordinary care will last a lifetime.

Its Advantages:

The child is always in focus.
The child is instantly released.
The child is held absolutely safe.
The Holder is invisible when in use.
It can be used with any furniture or accessory.
It is quickly changed from one thing to another.
The child is supported in a comfortable manner.
It is instantly adjusted without operator handling child.
It hold twins.
It lasts a lifetime.
Any background can be used.
It hold the drapery in position.
It is adapted for standing positions.
It hold children up to six year old.
It pays for itself quickly, as it saves time, temper and plates, and secured more business.

Price, - - -$5.00
Send Orders To
Buffalo Photo Material Co.
Trade Agents
15 Niagara Street, Buffalo, N.Y.
Wilson's Photographic Magazine, 1908.

Pohle's Baby Holder

The Invisible Baby Holder was invented by Fred Pohle around 1908. The apparatus was manufactured by the Pohle-Wener Mfg. Company, also of Buffalo. In 1908 Mr. & Mrs. Pohle exhibited the device at the 1908 New England Photographic Convention. The Buffalo Photo Material Co. was the agent for Mr. Pohle.

"Fred Pohle, of Buffalo, showed an improvement on his invisible baby holder. His instrument fits round the body of the baby and holds it as the mother would hold her baby. It holds the child in a standing or sitting position on any kind of furniture or studio accessory", and is adjustable to any size child from two weeks old to six years.

It is a very neat little device, folding up into small space. In use it is not visible, as the baby's dress can be dropped, over the entire apparatus. It does not disfigure furniture in any way, as it is attached to a chair, for instance, by means of a thumb-screw fitting into a small female screw sunk flush in the chair. The saving in plates effected by its use will pay for one in about a month, as Mr. Pohle has figured out. Two or more can be used for group pictures." Wilson's Photographic Magazine, 1908.

The things they once printed. I would have thought it derogatory even then. And just to show you where my mind was when I started reading this, I thought the colored baby was going to be "red" from screaming or "blue" from being unable to breathe.

"Our compliments to Mr. Pohle for his novel and fetching idea of utilizing colored infants with which to demonstrate his "Invisible BabyHolder." The results were convincing. "Oh no! Not ours!" protested Mrs. Pohle, laughingly — an unnecessary denial, for the mother of the little pickaninny sat close by." Photo-Era Magazine, 1908.

I found no photographs that actually show the device in use, but I do have a photograph that I suspect shows the poor baby in the grip of the "Invisible Baby Holder." Look closely and you will see the arms stand away from the torso as if something is attached to the baby's body holding it in place. Also, the chair looks far to small for a mother to hide behind.

Again I Ask:
Ouch! Where's A Hidden Mother When You Need One?


Pickaninny (also picaninny or piccaninny) is a term – generally considered derogatory – that in the English language usage refers to black children, or a caricature of them which is widely considered racist. It is a pidgin word form, which may be derived from the Portuguese pequenino (an affectionate term derived from pequeno ("little"). In the Southern United States, pickaninny was long used to refer to the children of African slaves or (later) of African American citizens.

As the term was used by the Wilson's Photographic Magazine of Boston in 1908, I'd say this wasn't confined to the South.


Wilson's Photographic Magazine. New York : Edward L. Wilson, 1908.

Photo-Era, Volume 21. Photographers' Club of New England, Valley Camera Club. Boston : Wilfred A. French, 1908.


, Cabinet Card. ca. 1908. Privately held by the footnoteMaven, Preston, Washington. 2009.

Hidden Mother, Digital Image. Privately held by the footnoteMaven, Preston, Washington. 2009. Original image sold on eBay. Efforts to find the owner to request permission have failed. I am asserting fair use in the demonstration between the apparatus and a hidden mother.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

The 18th Edition Of Smile For The Camera's In Town


Smile For The Camera
10 November 2009

While Smiling For The Camera we travel to Egypt, ride the high seas, drive the plains and cycle around town. So many interesting photographs representing how our families traveled. This carnival was an adventure.

Again, you have outdone yourselves presenting a very interesting and varied group of photographs depicting you, your friends, ancestors and family as they traveled.

Let's open the cover of this edition of Smile For The Camera's album of "Travel" and get our ticket punched.

Brett Payne tells us: "Almost a year ago I posted this image of a rather bizarre transportation device in an article on Photo-Sleuth in the hope that readers would be able to help solve the mystery of what exactly it was, and why it appears in my aunt's collection of old family photographs. The footnoteMaven's 18th Smile for the Camera Carnival has the theme of "Travel" and seems an opportune moment to revisit the subject, summarizing what I've learnt." As always, The Photo-Sleuth authors another brilliant article.

John Newmark of the always interesting TransylvanianDutch blog has outdone himself this time with some excellent photographic research of they came in ships. John also adds a six degrees of separation to the Titanic. Great photographs accompanied by an equally great article.

No cart and pony for Midge Frazel of Granite In My Blood. No, Midge went for a rather exotic form of travel; she tells us, "Not a family big on traveling, we do have this cool photo of my grandparent's friends on a camel in Egypt in front of the pyramids." The passportless Midge says this is probably as close as she'll get to Egypt, but it's certainly as close as I'd like to get to a camel.

Linda Hughes Hiser takes us on an extensive family motor trip traveling from Avalon, Pennsylvania to Washington D.C. and Mt. Vernon; then into New York during August 1928. Great traveling photographs! Is it a Buick or an Oldsmobile? My money's on one of these two at Flipside.

At the Roots Blog, Henk Van Kampen gives us two travel photos. One you'd expect to see in Amsterdam, the other, maybe not. An old photo album provides some clues as to Henk's grandfather's mode of transportation.

"It was said that it took Will awhile to refrain from pulling the steering wheel and saying "Whoa" to get the car stopped!" says Karen Hammer of Ancestor Soup. You wouldn't know it from this photograph. Will looks right at home. And Karen, the invitations always open to Smile For The Camera.

Donna Pointkouski tells us that, "The only travel my family did was my dad when he was in the Navy. I found a photo of him on his ship and found a photo of the ship on the web." Donna shows us what can be added to a family story while traveling the web, at What's Past Is Prologue. A very handsome man, Donner.

You may not know this, but Melody Lassalle of The Research Journal is known for finding some of the most interesting and distracting things online. And Melody has done it again, with this photograph of her Great Grandfather and his horse-powered vehicle. Don't let the horse fool you, he was a very modern man. You must see this great photograph!

Janet Iles of Janet the researcher recalls her train trip to Trois Pistoles back in the sixties, and she gives us a little etiquette lesson to accompany the trip. "In the sixties a young lady would not think of traveling in casual attire." My how times have changed, Janet. Loved the outfit!

All My Branches Genealogy authored by Wendy Littrell contains several photographs of different types of transportation. Wendy tells us why; "I had so many modes of travel from which to choose as my family has never shied away from something adventurous. I decided to showcase all the forms of transportation my parents and siblings used during the "Japan" years!" Wendy always has something interesting for Smile.

Carol at Reflections From the Fence has made her Smile submission its own travel map. (You'll have to read her post to see what I mean.) Carol says, "For Man and I, the word travel almost always means, RVing. I mean, I even have a web page showing the camping gear we have owned. There are a few airplanes and automobile trips too. And, now, Man and I are about to depart on another RV trip, away from the snow! RV having fun?? You bet!!" You can't look at these photographs and not want to go RVing too!

Kay Bauman author of Kay B's Place gets the prize for best interpretation of the prompt. Not only that, but I was completely enthralled by the story that accompanied the photographs. Beautifully written, Kay. This is a "Not To Be Missed" submission.

Valerie C. of Begin with 'Craft' has a family that was very "Car Proud," and she has the photographs to prove it. Valerie also has some interesting ephemera to accompany the photographs and put some meat on this traveling tale. I love the bits and pieces as much as the photographs!

Now you wouldn't expect, "At The Drop Of A Hat," to be the title of a story about traveling, but Thomas MacEntee of Destination Austin Family explains that this was the essence of his Mother's travel planning. He also tells us she had a lead foot and worked for the police. "I would shrink into the passenger seat in embarrassment whenever she presented her license to the officer who had pulled her over, knowing full well she had placed it right next to her police ID card. Only wrapping it in a $20 bill could have been more embarrassing!" Thomas is on a mission to document how his mother lived and loved life and he's doing a phenomenal job.

My, what big tires you have. All the better to transport fourteen children. "In rural New Brunswick in the 1940s," Evelyn Yvonne Theriault of A Canadian Family tells us, "families were quite large so bicycling wasn’t just for fun – it was an important way to get around." Evelyn is the host of the Festival of Postcards, one of my favorite places to hang out.

"From the time he could turn the pedals of his first bicycle until his death nearly 75 years later, Robert Hancock traveled thousands of miles across the highways and hills of the Pacific Northwest on the seat of his bicycle." Renee Huskey posts the photograph of this amazing man at Above the Trees. Living in Seattle while traveling back and forth to school in Portland, I can not imagine anyone doing the trip on the bikes of the forties. Yes, an amazing man and well worth a book!

Geniaus (the blog and the person) has a marvelous sense of humor, even if a bit on the dry side. She tells us that, "Travel by sea was the only option for my immigrant ancestors to Australia," while mentioning they couldn't walk on water. She also makes the assumption, and a good one, that those with missing immigration records didn't swim. She does track down the boats on which they traveled to Australia. A great post!

Jasia, Queen of the COG and author of Creative Gene, has stopped by to Smile For The Camera. "I love writing stories about cars and the people who build them, drive them, collect them, and love them!" she explains. Well Jasia, we love reading about your Motor City Roots and enjoy your motoring photographs. May Motor City return to its former greatness.

"I was looking for pictures from our trip to Death Valley," says Gret Koehl of Greta's Genealogy Bog, "when I found one featuring the real star of our family vacation trips: our Edsel." I love it! Greta's Edsel does the grill grin for Smile. Check it out.

Randy Seaver the author of Genea-Musings tells Smile that, "By the 1920s, automobiles were the favored way of visiting friends, seeing sights, taking day trips. My grandfather, Lyle Carringer, had his picture taken at the wheel in 1916 - it may be a Ford Model T. He drove for 60 more years."

Transportation Carnival of Genealogy

Charles Hansen, fellow PNW blogger, presents "My dad Claude Hansen and his early transportation," posted at Mikkel's Hus. Charles shows us the photographs and tells another amazing story of travel by bicycle. The path his father traveled would be difficult on today's highways. Another amazing story and photographs.

M. Diane Rogers' family traveled quite a bit, often with friends and relatives. On this particular photographed trip, they were with friends, posted at CanadaGenealogy, or, 'Jane's Your Aunt'. Diane has three very interesting period photographs that demonstrate things haven't really changed when it comes to travel pics, now have they?

foonoteMaven closes the album cover on this edition of Smile For The Camera with Traveling Man posted at footnoteMaven. Clark Gable, Spank MacFarland. My Grandfather traveled for work and as always was there to Smile For The Camera.

Thank You All!

Thank you to everyone who participated in this fantastic 18th Edition of Smile For The Camera and welcome to all the first-time contributors. We had several. It is evident from each and every photographic submission that a great deal of time, effort, love, and research went into each contribution. As Randy Seaver would say, please take a moment to stop and comment and show your appreciation!

Now The Call For Submissions!


Smile For The Camera
10 December 2009

The word prompt for the 19th Edition of Smile For The Camera is "Gift." It is the holiday season and a time for giving. So give Smile readers the gift of sharing, sharing a family photograph. It can be a gift given or received, it can be the gift of talent, it can be the gift of having the photograph itself. The interpretation of gift is yours. Admission is free with every photograph!

Your submission may include as many or as few words as you feel are necessary to describe your treasured photograph. Those words may be in the form of an expressive comment, a quote, a journal entry, a poem (your own or a favorite), a scrapbook page, or a heartfelt article. The choice is yours!

Deadline for submission is midnight (PT)
10 December 2009


There are two options:

1. Send an email to the host, footnoteMaven. Include the title and permalink URL of the post you are submitting, your name, and the name of your blog. Put 'Smile For The Camera' clearly in the title of your email!

2. Use the handy submission form provided by Blog Carnival, or select the Bumper Sticker in the upper right hand corner.

See you at the Carnival!


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Shades A Shout Out At Design By Firgs

Design by Firgs, authored by the very talented designer Elizabeth Gast, has highlighted Shades Of The Departed Magazine in her Shout Out column!

About the magazine Firgs said:

Maven’s new digital magazine Shades of the Departed was previewed for the first time last week and when I saw it, I was blown away at how beautiful it was. The articles were fun and interesting and I particularly enjoyed the piece on Mary Queen of Scots. With every turn of the digital pages, you can see just how much time, energy, and love went into this project. When I saw it, I knew I had to give Maven and her magazine a Shout Out.

Having been a fan of Firgs, I am very honored by her impressions of our work here at Shades.

If you aren't familiar with Design By Firgs, please visit this wonderful blog. Firgs has been an independent designer for over ten years, specializing in Photoshop art. Her favorite areas of design include photo-manipulation, illustration, and creating web graphics. She is working as a freelance graphic artist in Chicago, IL, and when she isn’t “pushing pixels,” she attends to her second love – teaching computer programs.

You can see more of her work by visiting her NAPP portfolio and her professional portfolio.

Thank you Firgs for the Shout Out! Shades and its contributors are honored.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Just Hear Those Sleigh Bells Jingling, Ring Ting Tingling Too.

Yes, I know, it's not even Thanksgiving yet. But I got a note from Sally Jacobs, The Practical Archivist and a Friday From The Collector contributor, about a great Christmas gift for those who collect family photographs. The offer has a time limit, so I wanted to get the information to Shades readers with plenty of time to order. Thank you Sally, this is terrific!

Sally Jacobs, The Practical Archivist

3 Reasons Why Archival Photo Boxes Make a Lovely Gift


I bet you've seen these words on photo albums. I also bet you had no idea those words are basically meaningless. Yep. Sad but true. Those terms are unregulated, which means companies are free use them to describe ANY product they want to sell. In fact, the term "archival" has been applied so loosely and so inappropriately that it is no longer used in International Standards for photographic materials.

Thank goodness for the Photographic Activity Test (PAT). It's an International Standard (ISO 14523) developed by the Image Permanence Institute. This accelerated aging test involves incubating materials in temperature- and humidity-controlled chambers and takes between four and six weeks.

The PAT predicts potentially harmful interactions between photographs and storage materials such as album pages, covers, and envelopes. If it passes the test, it's the best reassurance you can have that the enclosures will not cause damage to the photographs. It's the closest thing we have to "archival."

Where can you find PAT-passed supplies?

Well, that's the tricky bit. You can't find these boxes in stores. You need to purchase them from archival suppliers like or or All these companies have online ordering but will also be happy to send you a paper catalog in the mail.

3 Reasons Archival Photo Boxes Make a Lovely Gift:

1. An Investment in the Future. Surely, there are photographs you would like folks to enjoy for generations to come, yes? Your future great-great-grand-niece, for example, the one who turns out to be a genealogist. Archival enclosures give your photos the most longevity for the least amount of investment. You should also store them in an environment that has stable temperature and humidity levels.

2. Eliminate a Common Barrier. As The Practical Archivist, I've been helping people organize and preserve family photos for years. And I know that selecting and purchasing the right supplies is a common barrier to getting started. The scenario I hate the most is when a client has just spent a ton of money on *bad* photo boxes. Ouch! Don't be that guy, OK?

3. Send a Positive Message. There are two postitive messages you can send with boxes like these. For ancestor photographs: "Your Family Treasures Are Important & Should Be Treated Properly." For more recent photographs: "Your Story Is Important."

Family Archivist Survival Kit. This year - for the first time - I've pulled together a large photo storage kit. Large enough to get the name Family Archivist Survival Kit. Got oversized items? This kit has a solution. There's also a safe place for 1,000 loose photos, plus bookshelf-friendly storage for memorabilia like letters, playbills and small posters. I also included all the hand-held tools you need for photo archiving, and the information you need to use all these tools correctly. Want to learn more? Click here to see which archival photo boxes The Practical Archivist herself uses.

NOTE: This kit is only available until Thanksgiving day (11/26/09) - and unfortunately I cannot guarantee Hanukkah or Christmas delivery. Yes, yes... I realize I just got you all fired up about getting something like this as a gift. If it's a gift purchase, be sure to let me know in the "notes" field when you place your order. I'll send a friendly message about your thoughtful gift at the appropriate time, so please specify which holiday you are celebrating. Yay!


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Smile For The Camera - A Reminder

Yes, I did something wrong in updating the Blog Carnival Submission Form. Third times a charm! I think I have it working.


Smile For The Camera
10 November 2009

The word prompt for the 18th Edition of Smile For The Camera is "Travel." Planes, trains and automobiles. Horses, mules, carts, and wagons. Bikes or on foot. Show us your family and how they traveled. This is going to be a good one, I feel it in my luggage. Admission is free with every photograph!

Your submission may include as many or as few words as you feel are necessary to describe your treasured photograph. Those words may be in the form of an expressive comment, a quote, a journal entry, a poem (your own or a favorite), a scrapbook page, or a heartfelt article. The choice is yours!

Deadline for submission is midnight (PT)
10 November 2009


There are two options:

1. Send an email to the host, footnoteMaven. Include the title and permalink URL of the post you are submitting, your name, and the name of your blog. Put 'Smile For The Camera' clearly in the title of your email!

2. Use the handy submission form provided by Blog Carnival, or select the Bumper Sticker in the upper right hand corner.
See you at the Carnival!


Friday, November 6, 2009

I Can't Thank You Enough

Shades Of The Departed Magazine is now a reality and things are beginning to calm down. Anyone who knows anything about a project of this magnitude realizes it wasn't done by one person, it took an online village.

So I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank the finest writers and best friends Shades and I could ask for in working toward building an online community dedicated to old photographs and the part they play in our family history.

Thank you to those friends who willingly jumped off the cliff with me when I shouted MAGAZINE! Those friends who met deadlines with fantastic work product and daily offered assistance and encouragement.

The articles in the November Issue are amazing. I attribute that to the dedication of those who give it their all with little or no reward, those contributors to Shades. I know talent when I see it! Thank you!

I'd also like to thank the Shades readers who have been so receptive to this new medium and have twittered, emailed, and commented their support. We do it for you, but we can't do it without you. Thank you!

The excellent writers of Shades write for their own blogs as well. If you enjoy their work, please take a moment to say so and support what they do.


What's Past is Prologue

George Geder

Sense of Face


Educated Genealogist

THE Future Of Memories
Denise has been nominated in the How To Category for - Family Matters

The FamilyCurator

Family Stories


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Shades Of The Departed - The Magazine

The Wait Is Over!

Welcome To The Premier Issue of
Shades - The Digital Magazine

What's a digital magazine you ask? Why describe it when you can experience it? Where we're going and the reasons for the move are all revealed in the magazine.

Enough talking, let's go! Read over the minimal instructions and give us a whirl. (For the best viewing experience please select Full Screen Mode.)

Some additional viewing notes. Selecting the page rather than the arrows to turn the pages enables the zoom function. Full screen using the arrows is optimum viewing. Download the document in PDF form here by selecting the green download arrow.

View Shades The Magazine
(Select Cover or Title Above)