Archives for posts with tag: 1910s

These two penny photo strips were a gift from my friend Ted in the USA. As a precursor to photobooth photos, these cheap, small photo strips were often taken with the sitters using props such as hats, signs, telephones, stuffed toys, dolls and all the other types of items people might take into a modern digital photobooth.

Penny photos were frequently cut down into individual shots, traded between friends and affixed in small albums as keepsakes. They were also mounted on small pieces of embossed card that would carry the name of the photogrpaher’s studio, much like the larger and more expensive carte de visite.

This photo and the one below, are Ted’s favourites.

This one is my favourite.


I’m posting this photo today as it reminded me of an image on the fabulous vintage photo blog The Rescued Photo. Before pulling this RPPC out, I hoped the organ player and this piano player might have been the same person. Alas no, as the organ player is Ida Taylor and this is Rose J. Page.


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While not identified as a Halloween photo, this image seems appropriate for the celebration. Hope yours is a fun one.

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The above strips of exceptional photos were a gift from Mike at Mike’s Look at Life blog. Although these are from the era just prior to the invention of the dip and dunk photobooth machines, for which I have such a passion, Mike knew the format and subject matter would appeal to me a lot. They date to around 1910 to 1925.

These people are playing against the formal portrait conventions of the time, by mucking about, much as one would do in a modern digital photobooth. These penny photos were a precursor to the automatic photobooth machines invented by Anatol Josepho in the late 1920s. Although still needing the skill of a photographer to make the image, the developing and processing of the strips was semi-automated, allowing for the first time, very cheap prints that most people could afford.

I love all of these photos but my favourite changes every time I look at them. Today my most loved, is the one featuring a battered old tennis racket, which was obviously a photographer’s prop. It ties in nicely with a recent post on my other blog, Photobooth Journal. You can see that post here.

My heartfelt thanks to Mike for his generous gift and his friendship.

You can click on the scan to see a larger version, if you’d like.



This is the third of three Bertillon mugshots I currently own. As with the first and second, the name of this man was inked out before I acquired it. I was unable to make out any part of it.

This man’s sentence, 60 days for larceny, is the most lenient of the three. It is a shame that there isn’t more specific details about each case, to allow us to understand the large discrepancies in the punishments for what appear to be relatively similar crimes of theft.



The Bertillon system was used before fingerprints were recognised as unique identifiers of criminal suspects and victims.

Alphonse Bertillon (April 24, 1853 – February 13, 1914) was a French police officer who created an identification system based on physical measurements. It was the first scientific system used by police to identify criminals. Before that time, suspects could only be identified based on unreliable eyewitness testimony.

“Every measurement slowly reveals the workings of the criminal. Careful observation and patience will reveal the truth.”

The name of this man was inked out before I acquired it. Poor thing – 18 years for burglary whilst in breach of probation on the forgery charge. Sounds like a very stiff sentence to me.


This photo from Japan was shot around 1910. I was unable to find any information about the photographer, J. Chikuni.

An amusing real photo postcard from the USA. Unused, it is in less than perfect condition, but still has enough life in it to give us a wee chuckle. It is typical of the type of souvenir photo that one was able to get at amusement arcades across the United States from the earliest advent of cheap photography.


This 8 x 10 inch portrait photo of silent movie star Mary Pickford was brought back from the USA by my Grandfather after his solo violin performance tour of 1917. It is a shame that what appears to me to be a hand signed inscription, is not made out to him personally. Despite this, having in my collection an original photo of this screen icon, one of cinema’s earliest, female, international celebrities, is a joy.

The embossed surround of this portrait is almost as stunning as the hats that Madge and child are wearing. The long string of beads around Madge’s neck, which is Read the rest of this entry »