28 December 2011

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday: Let it Snow!

Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!
My Brother, Going Skiing, ca 1955, copyright Liz Stratton
This photo is of my brother. The board-chair backpack was designed by my father in the days before 'baby backpacks' were available. We all enjoyed riding in the pack either skiing or hiking and continued the tradition with our own kids using commercially available baby backpacks.

22 December 2011

Sepia Saturday 106: The Intrepid Postman and the Very Special Package.

Waiting for the postman's package delivery each day during the month of December was one of my children's favorite activities. All their aunts and uncles lived out-of-state and it seemed that each new day brought more presents to put under tree. The phone rang early in morning ...

"Ma'am, this is the Post Office. We have a suspicious package for you. The zip code is wrong .... Are you expecting anything from Arkansas?" The return address may have been missing as well.

"My sister lives in Arkansas and she usually sends presents" was my confused reply. Why all the fuss?

"Well, okay then, I'll have the package put on the truck."

A few minutes later the phone rang ...

"Ma'am, this is the Post Office again. Is there any chance your sister might have sent you something alive? The box moves whenever we try to pick it up."

"Well, yes, I suppose it is possible ...."  Immediately the thought of snakes and other reptiles sprang to mind. Did my sister send a pet iguana? I knew my nephew loved his iguana ....

"I'm afraid we are going to have to x-ray the package before we deliver it. There is something very suspicious about this box."

Time passed and I waited to learn what would unfold next .... Exactly what did they do to you if you sent live animals through the mail? Would the package be delivered? Would my sister end up in jail? I didn't have to wait long before the next call came.

"Ma'am, this is the Post Office. I'm afraid we are going to have to open the package. It doesn't look like there is anything alive in there but there are a lot of wires and we can't rule out the possibility that it is a bomb."

An interminable wait longer ...

A relieved postman called to say, "Everything is just fine. It was a Christmas present - two in fact. I unwrapped them as carefully as I could. [Well, wouldn't you if you thought there was a bomb inside!] It should be no problem to wrap them back up again. It's too late to put these on the truck for delivery before Christmas. Oh, tell your sister to leave the batteries out the next time she ships something."

A little while later the phone rang again. What next?

"Ma'am, I re-wrapped the presents as well as I could. I'm headed your way and can drop off the package  personally."

I soon met the intrepid postman who had braved the moving box and then re-wrapped the presents so carefully that no one would be the wiser. The batteries were now loose in the box. So what was inside ...

Chris Stratton trying to uncover the mysterious movement of the Hip-Hopper.
He was fast asleep soon after.
To get an idea of what the poor postman saw in the x-ray ...

Yuri Gitman, http://yg.typepad.com/makingtoys5/2008/09/02-disassemble.html
"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night[, nor live animals, nor bomb squads nor departed delivery trucks] stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." Thank you Mr. Postman and all postmen and deliverymen everywhere. You make our Christmas brighter.

This is but one of many Sepia Saturday posts inspired by Mr. Postman. Hop on over to Sepia Saturday 106 to read more. Merry Christmas to all!

This true story was first sent to family and friends as our Christmas letter in the late 1990s. If, by chance, you have a copy floating around, I'd love to have one. If one of the postmen who made this story possible should happen upon this post, I'd love to hear your side of the tale! All comments welcome!

20 December 2011

Tuesday's Tip: Finding Smith, Jones and every other Tom, Dick and Harry in the Census

Perhaps because Loretta was the first person mentioned in Mira Rockwell (Main) Stratton's diary (The Best Medicine - New Clues), she immediately intrigued me. A "Loretta" is included in the listing of birthdays and Loretta's frequent visits with Mira clinched the deal. I had to find out who she was!
Mira Rockwell (Main) Stratton Diary

 January 1
1913 Wednesday. At home today.  
Loretta went home yesterday. Chas 
had smash up with Gasoline. Drove to 
Tyringham after supper.
1914 Thursday. I must make a good 
resolution & keep it to write in my Line a day  
Gave G. K. S. a supper at Miller House. Anne H. 
Jennie H. Loretta Miss Leyden & myself last night.
Mira Rockwell (Main) Stratton Diary

Mira Rockwell (Main) Stratton Diary
And now for the bad news, Loretta is Loretta A. Smith! Searching Smiths in New York City, even those with somewhat unusual given names, can be a daunting task. Fortunately, Mira included Loretta's address in her diary. When faced with a common name in a large city it is often faster to search for their census listing using the street address rather than their name. This is especially true in this case as I have no year of birth or other identifying information about Loretta. Steve Morse's website for Obtaining Enumeration Districts (EDs) and Streets  for the 1900-1940 Census makes this process simple.

There are no guarantees that Loretta would still be living at the same address in 1920 but it is a reasonable place to start.  To determine the ED on Steve Morse's website, I need to know both the street "West 129th St." and also a nearby cross street. A quick search for 153 West 129th Street gives me the exact location between 7th Avenue and Lenox. The directions are easy to follow on the website and tell me that the address is in ED 1332.
Google Maps

One of my favorite features on Ancestry is the ability to 'drill down' and search a specific record.  [See Update below for an even easier way to get to the correct census record. I've chosen to leave this description intact since the 'drill down' procedure is a good strategy in many situations.] In this case, I chose to 'browse' the 1920 census entering the state and county. The next option is to select the 'Assembly District.' I don't know which assembly district contains ED 1332 but by selecting any of the Assembly Districts, a list of the EDs in that assembly district is provided. ED 1332 is in Manhattan Assembly District 19. There are 56 pages in ED 1332 but since I am looking for the street address, I simply advance to the street address. And there she is!

1920 Census, Loretta A. Smith
Surprise! Based on the information known of the family, it is unlikely that Loretta A. Smith is a close relation. But, I'm still intrigued by Loretta's close ties and frequent visits. With Loretta's year of birth from the census, further research is possible. It is possible that Loretta is the daughter of Andrew J. Smith by a prior marriage - perhaps to one of Mira's Aunts.

So how do you find a street address if you don't have any diaries? Often a street address is included on vital records, social security applications, etc. Begin with the censuses closest to the date of the record that provides an address. City directories can be used to track moves from one residence to another. But care must be taken with common names that you have identified the correct 'John Smith.' Happy hunting!

Update: Joel Weintraub emailed me with "I hadn't considered your use of the tools in my list of why people need to have locational search strategies in their bag of tricks."  He forwarded another aspect of Obtaining EDs for the 1900-1940 Census in One Step (Large Cities). Steve Morse wrote, "we do all the work of "drilling down" into ancestry to get to the designated ED ... click our VIEW MICROFILM button to get to our viewing tool, and then click the DISPLAY button.  ...we do all the necessary browsing of the records ... and take you directly to ancestry's display of the census images." Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus! I expected only a microfilm number behind that link. Thank you Steve Morse, Joel Weintraub and David Kehs for putting Obtaining EDs for the 1900-1940 Census in One Step (Large Cities) on the web.

This research was conducted while writing The Best Medicine - New Clues. Because the search was not productive, I did not include it. I was sharing the tale with Kathy Reed of Jones Family Matters and she said 'You have to put that on the blog.' This one is for you Kathy! You know better than most the challenges of researching common surnames.

Google. Google Maps. http://maps.google.com/ : 2011. Specifically "153 West 129th Street."

Morse, Stephen P., Joel D. Weintraub and David R. Kehs.  Obtaining EDs for the 1900-1940 Census in One Step (Large Cities). http://stevemorse.org/census/ : 2006.

New York. New York. 1930 U.S. census, population schedule.  Digital images.  Ancestry.com. http://ancestry.com: 2011. [Specifically, Manhattan, Assembly District 19, enumeration district (ED) 1332, sheet 6-B, dwelling 46, family 120, Loretta A. Smith; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 2 December 2011), citing National Archives microfilm publication T625, roll 1221.]

Stratton, Mira Rockwell (Main). "Line-a-Day Diary, 1913-1923." MS.  Lee, Massachusetts, 1913-1923.  Privately held by Liz Stratton, [ADDRESS FOR PERSONAL USE,] Cincinnati, Ohio. 2011.

17 December 2011

Sepia Saturday 105: Bringing Home the Bird

Charles W. Stratton II and unknown companion, ca 1986-1906
The Sepia Saturday prompt for this week shows a delightful array of wonderful Christmas treats including several fowl dishes. (I think I will pass on the pigeon pie!)

Charles W. Stratton II (1876-1945), on left, is shown bringing home a bird for dinner. Prior to medical school, Charles' favorite past-time was hunting.  Much of his free time was spent hunting with friends and training and breeding hunting dogs.  He had developed a reputation for his skill with dogs.  In 1899, he was offered $100 for his dog, Jack, but turned it down.  Jack was an orange and white English Setter born in 1897.

The following year Charles noted, "Getting a reputation as a dog doctor.   A fellow from Stockbridge to see me about his dog." [diary, 4/2/1900].  In December, 1899, he wrote an article for Field & Stream [diary, 12/28/1899].  A collection of Field and Stream Cover Images is available online but I've not yet found the article or confirmed its publication. In another place and time, Charles might have become a veterinarian instead of a physician.

The photograph above is on a card with no photographer identification on either the back or front making dating the photograph problematic. Charles appears to be fairly young - perhaps in his 20s giving the date as ca 1896-1906. Charles diaries cover this time period and there may be a mention of the photograph in them. The guns and dogs might also provide clues. Who would have thought that dog photographs and licenses might be the key to providing a more exact date!

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the date of this photograph as it might be a critical clue in identifying Charles' companion. I suspect that Charles' cousin, Harry Mallory, might be the other gentleman in the picture.

See Sepia Saturday 105 for more takes on the theme. There are certain to be some posts that will inspire your holiday meal planning that won't require a hunting trip! 

Charles W. Stratton II has been featured previously as the husband of Mira Rockwell (Main) Stratton in The Best Medicine -- New Clues; as a young boy in Just Another Cock and Bull Story; and as one of The Horse-and-Buggy Doctors of Lee Massachusetts.

Stratton, Charles W., II. "1899 Diary." MS.  Lee, Massachusetts, 1899.  Privately held by Liz Stratton, [ADDRESS FOR PERSONAL USE,] Cincinnati, Ohio. 2011.

Stratton, Charles W., II. "1900 Diary." MS.  Lee, Massachusetts, 1900.  Privately held by Liz Stratton, [ADDRESS FOR PERSONAL USE,] Cincinnati, Ohio. 2011.

Stratton, Charles W., II and unidentified hunter.  Portrait.  Ca 1986-1906.  Cardstock.  Privately held by Liz Stratton, [ADDRESS FOR PERSONAL USE,] Cincinnati, Ohio. 2011.

02 December 2011

Sepia Saturday 103: The Best Medicine - New Clues!

Mira Rockwell (Main) Stratton, ca 1900
Perhaps not surprisingly given the long line of medical doctors, there has also been a long history of wives who worked in medicine. At a large gathering of extended family, my brother-in-law commented that it was a bit like attending a medical convention!

Mira Rockwell (Main) Stratton (19 May 1881-2 December 1926) was the wife of Dr. Charles W. Stratton II (Sepia Saturday: Horse and Buggy Doctors of Lee, Massachusetts). Mira died young and only snippets of family lore remain. Her diary provides our only glimpse of her daily life as a nurse.

I would relate Mira's December entries from her Line-a-Day diary but, she was a diarist after my own heart. Entries stop on 21 September 1913 and in 1914, on 6 August. On 1 January 1923 she resumes with "8 years since I left writing in a Line A Day ...." Her last entry is January 2. So much for New Year's resolutions.... I'll have to remember not to make any resolutions to write a blog a day!

The genealogist in me jumped for joy when perusing the diary. Not only does Mira include notations of visits by aunties and letters from family; she included in her Memoranda a list of birthdays! It just doesn't get any better than that. (Unless you want to shoot for the moon and wish that she had included the year as well.) The clues to determine Mira's paternal grandparents might be waiting to be discovered in the pages of her diary. Thank you Mira for the best medicine ever!
Mira Rockwell (Main) Stratton
(19 May 1881- 2 December 1926)

This is a Sepia  Saturday post on the theme of nurses or anything else inspired by the photograph. To see more wonderful nurses or other cathartic takes on the theme, see Sepia Saturday 103.
Stratton, Mira Rockwell (Main). "Line-a-Day Diary." MS.  Lee, Massachusetts, 1913-1923.  Privately held by Liz Stratton, [ADDRESS FOR PERSONAL USE,] Cincinnati, Ohio. 2011.

Stratton, Mira Rockwell (Main).  Portrait.  ca 1900.  Digital image.  Privately held by Liz Stratton, [ADDRESS FOR PERSONAL USE,] Cincinnati, Ohio. 1999.

01 December 2011

Opening Day 4: The Slides are Back!

Slide Enhanced by ScanDigital
Color faded slide from the 1960s, uncorrected Tif
On Opening Day 2, I opened a large box of slides. Knowing how long it takes to scan a slide and make the necessary corrections, I wanted to try using a photo digitization service. Armed with a 60% discount, I decided to give ScanDigital a try. Alternative digitizing companies are listed in Opening Day 2.

The same slide, manually cropped and auto-corrected in LR
 Yesterday the slides were returned along with DVD copies of the digital images - perfect timing for Opening Day 4! The slides were scanned at 4800 ppi as both Tiffs and Jpgs. There is an extra charge to get the scans in uncorrected Tiff format. Photo editing software is continually improving and I wanted to have an unaltered version to use in the future. Next time, I may not bother as the enhancement done by ScanDigital was not heavy-handed and exceeded results achieved using auto-corrections in Lightroom (LR). It is important to convert the Jpgs to Tiffs on import. (Always save at least one copy of all archival digital photographs in a Tiff or other loss-less format.)

Below are some examples of common slide problems before and after correction.

Uncorrected Tif with color darkening
Optimized by ScanDigital
This slide is both faded and has deteriorated, shown here with no corrections
After optimization, the colors have been corrected
but no extensive and potentially damaging corrections were made.
For an excellent and detailed discussion on the care and handling of slides, see Handling and Preservation of Color Slide Collections. The 30-page chapter also includes an extensive discussion of slide types and typical preservation issues involved with each type.

21 November 2011

Sepia Saturday 102: Fish Tales

Chet Warwick and the one that didn't get away. Photographer unknown.

While I would love to tell a 'fish tale,' Chet Warwick actually caught the one that got away! When I heard of his fishing adventures, I suspected 'fish tales' -- these must be over-blown stories. His wife’s anecdotes of high waves, broken-down motors and remote bays were all confirmed by his sons. His sons were a mix of willing and unwilling participants.

I would definitely have been an unwilling participant -- I have caught two 'trophy' fish.  These are my only catches (not counting my husband). The first was a sucker (not my husband). I begged mercy and the fish was reluctantly released. (Don't tell the Fish and Game Wardens.)

My next fish was a real trophy - at least in dollars or memories per pound. Five days, four people, four out-of-state fishing licenses, two white-striped bass --  one caught by me!  Fish weight....  I think they were over the limit. (Don't tell the Fish and Game Wardens.) Enjoying canoeing all day; roasting fish over the fire with my husband and parents; listening to the 'Grand Canyon Suite' bouncing off the cliffs in a bay on Lake Powell; priceless!

And now I leave you to go fishing for more tales at Sepia Saturday 102.

Chester Arthur 'Chet' Warwick (1903-1973) was my grandfather. He was a jeweler by trade and a fisherman by heart.

17 November 2011

Sepia Saturday 101: The Honeymoon Hitch

Amaryllis 'Mern' Hopkins, February 1952

There is something enticing about vintage cars especially when filled with intriguing passengers - in this case, my mother sporting a walking cast. (Every time I see this photo I have to wonder if my mother actually drove the car with that cast!)

Amaryllis 'Mern' (Hopkins) Warwick
Chester Arthur Warwick
ca 1953

My mother and father were avid skiers. I suspect their wedding date was chosen with the spring skiing season in mind. But fate would put a hitch in their honeymoon plans - at least the skiing part. My mother broke her ankle shortly before her wedding day.  She actually walked down the aisle wearing the cast so prominently displayed in the photograph above. There are no wedding pictures commemorating her hobble down the aisle, making this picture even more precious. Mom always related her wedding story with a smile as broad and infectious as the one in the photograph.

Mern Warwick, March 1952, Honeymoon

For more posts inspired by the photograph below, see Sepia Saturday 101.

11 November 2011

Sepia Saturday 100: Thanks for the Memories!

When Alan Burnett and Kat Mortensen launched Sepia Saturday 100 weeks ago, their expectations were for a short run, perhaps through the Christmas holidays. One hundred weeks later, Sepia Saturday is still going strong thanks to the inspirational photos that Alan finds each week. The collage consists of the photographs that have inspired 25-35 bloggers to share their own photos, memories and stories each week. It was a joy to see the photographs that came before I started with Sepia Saturday 89.  Here's to another 100 weeks!  Thank you Kat and Alan!

For other images and stories inspired by 100, check out Sepia Saturday 100.


Unfortunately, the collage does not allow you to enjoy the images used in its creation. This video is nearly 11 minutes in length and features 93 of the 100 Sepia Saturday photos. Small image sizes were used in the hope that it would facilitate viewing, but it does make for rather small images that are best not viewed full screen. A few images were no longer available online. The video is set to 'Brilliante,' from Claude Bolling's Suite for Chamber Orchestra and Jazz Piano Trio.  A fitting theme for the brilliant idea behind Sepia Saturday. True to form, Sepia Saturday has me trying new things!

08 November 2011

Tech Tuesday: Scanning Documents - Getting it Right the First Time

October was the first time I participated in ScanFestScanFest takes the drudgery out of scanning as you chat while you work and since much of the work of scanning is done by the computer, it is nice to have someone to 'talk' to while you wait. It is particularly fun to see images of the photographs that people are scanning!  November's ScanFest will be on November 20 at 11 am PST.

My goal at ScanFest was to scan some archival original letters and family documents.  Since there are many of these that will need to be scanned, I also wanted to set up a scanning profile that would give good results without needing to do touch-ups later in photo-editing software.  This is not a strategy recommended for photos.

One of the more important tips came from Brett Payne of Photo-Sleuths who suggested using a backing sheet when scanning photos.  This technique was also invaluable for scanning documents as it makes the edges of the paper more prominent removing any doubt that the scan might not be a complete image of the original.

Most scanners have profiles that can be set and saved for a particular task.  For archival documents, the base settings I used were:

Output resolution: 300 ppi
Output Type:  Color
File Type:  TIF
Save to File:  My Scans > Date
Base File Name: STR_DOC_00001 (with automatic incrementing set for subsequent scans)
No sharpening

In the scanner software, I was able to make these settings the default for one of the scan buttons.  Scanning in color was recommended by the other participants in ScanFest and also in Ctein's Digital Restoration from Start to Finish.  A relatively low output resolution was used since it is unlikely these items will ever be used in a print publication - the few that might were scanned at 600 ppi.

The TIF file format was chosen because it is a popular loss-less format that is likely to be supported by most applications.  Should I wish to post to the internet, converting the file from a TIF file to a JPG file is easily done in Lightroom and most other photo editing and cataloging programs.  Since I use cataloging software to manage my digital collection, I chose not to use descriptive names for the items.

Without making any other adjustments, the settings resulted in the following scan (converted here to jpg and 75 ppi):

The image fairly closely matches the original but is actually lighter and brighter! Navigating to the Lighten/Darken settings in the scanner, there were several corrections being automatically applied by the scanner:  Highlights 35, Shadows -16, Midtones 0, Gamma 1.8.  Resetting highlights to 0 produced an infinitely better image.  Resetting shadows to 0 had minimal effect. 

Gamma optimizes the contrast and brightness of the midtones in the image.  From past experience, changing the gamma settings can often make it easy to read even the lightest documents without overly darkening the entire image.  Small adjustments to gamma settings can make big changes in the image.

Resetting gamma to 1.5 (.3 lower) and all the other settings to 0 produced a much more legible image and removed the glare that was present in the default scan.  The image below is nearly identical to the original.  For this scan, it would not have been necessary to reset the gamma.  The ink had faded more in some of the other documents and the gamma had to be set even lower to get a legible scan.

The remainder of the documents were scanned by resetting the automatic corrections to 0 and adjusting the gamma to make the document legible - no subsequent image adjustments required!

If you have any tips or tricks to make scanning archival documents faster, better or quicker, please share them in the comments!

04 November 2011

Sepia Saturday 99: Fiddling Around

Chester Arthur Warwick, far right, ca 1923-1933, photographer unknown, probably Columbus, Ohio
Pictured at far right is Chester Arthur Warwick (1903-1973) fiddling around on his banjo. The photo was probably taken ca 1923-1933 based on Chester's age at the time (20s). There is not a violin in sight.  But, when it was time for my sister to choose an instrument to play, a violin emerged from Grandpa Warwick's attic. This was very fortunate for my sister who put it to excellent and delightful use.

Violin would not have been my first choice of instrument though I didn't really think about it much at the time. A violin was available and it was always assumed that I would play it. I found practicing violin more torture than pleasure. (Who wants to listen to yourself screech when you could listen to your virtuoso sister!) Once a piece was learned and you could actually play it, now that was heaven on earth.

My first recital is indelibly written in my memory and preserved on film as well. I can still remember my knees shaking and am thankful that no video or audio recording remains!  I made it through the piece but only because Mrs. Rumberg relinquished at the last minute and allowed me to use my music.

Liz Stratton, Mrs. Rumberg's Recital, Longmont, Colorado
Over time, Mrs. Rumberg learned how to insure my pieces were memorized before the annual recital. No waltzes or marches! She sent me home with 'gypsy' music, La Traviata.  Only much later did I realize the music was from an opera!  Now, what exactly was Mrs. Rumberg trying to tell me with her choice of opera?

Sepia Saturday 99  features a photograph depicting a troop of musicians including a few fiddlers. Had such a 'gypsy' ensemble been one of the school's musical groups, I would, no doubt, have practiced my school music more! For other takes on this musical theme, see Sepia Saturday.

01 November 2011

Opening Day 3: Dear Diary ...

Each month I open, catalog and archive a box of memorabilia.  Box 3 contains diaries dating  from the late 1800s and early 1900s.  I've done some work with these diaries and love the additional detail they provide.  It is time the contents were scanned and properly archived.

On Opening Day 1, I demonstrated a technique for making a record of box contents by photographing as you unpack.  It was an infinite improvement over trying to describe each item!  But, one of the drawbacks is that some items had loose papers inside.  No problem as the location of the item can be recorded during the scanning process.  But, since archival storage materials were determined during opening day, the unique needs of the inserts were not taken into account.

Stream-lining the process, for each diary, I first photographed the lead page of the diary indicating the year.  I then removed loose papers from the diary and photographed them.   Loose papers were then placed flat in an archival quality folder labeled with the diary year and author.  Before the final archiving, some items will have to be stored  separately - newsprint is notorious for causing problems.  If a particular item is deemed worthy of scanning, the scan will replace the photograph in my digital catalog (see Creating an Archival Finding Aid with your Digital Cataloging Software).  Below is an example of the photograph catalog of one diary.

The value of the receipts and other diary inserts is easy to underestimate.  Having worked with these diaries before, it is critical to know that Jack was a dog!  I might not have thought to include dog licenses before beginning to transcribe the diaries.  It is impossible to predict what will be important.

Already I am thinking about the next steps.  For diaries, digitization questions hinge more on what to scan than complex scanning issues.  The items in the diaries include newspaper clippings, paper and stamps.  There are some interesting storage considerations.  Finally the fun part!  There are many different ways that people have shared diaries - publish (online or in print) or only share with family? annotate transcriptions or not?  print or not?  complete or partial transcription?

If you have any recommendations on diaries or have seen any great examples of diaries in print (online or offline), please share them in the comments.

28 October 2011

Sepia Saturday 98: Chaos in the Streets

Norwood Streetcar, From the Collection of The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County
Having successfully taken two children through the long process of obtaining their driver's licenses, it is hard to believe that at one time there were few traffic lights, no turn signals and only a modest few driving guidelines.  To that absence of rules add horse-drawn carriages, pedestrians, bicycles and streetcars and you have chaos in the streets.

The Norwood streetcar above may be the same one Marie Warwick and Eldora McKinley attempted to board in Walnut Hills in 1923.  By 1923, automobile ownership had exploded creating traffic congestion and putting pedestrians at risk.   Marie Warwick was hit by a passing motorist while Eldora was more fortunate and jumped safely to the curb.  But Marie's tragic end was not entirely in vain.

The news of the death of a young woman, only 21 and soon to be married, made the front page of the paper and rekindled a long running debate about road safety.  Marie was one of two women killed by motorists on the same day.  The total for the year in Hamilton Co., Ohio was 135 with 80 pedestrians dying after being hit by automobiles.  For perspective, traffic fatalities in Hamilton County for 2009 were only 43.

Police Officer, 1900
From the Collection of The Public
Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County
There was a flurry of traffic improvement activity in 1924 and 1925 with busy intersections monitored, additional stop signs purchased and the creation of a Citizens' Commission to make recommendations.  By far the most amazing was a crack down on jay-walkers on 27 August 1925.  The Cincinnati Commercial reported "Greater Cincinnatians and their visitors were treated to a free 'circus' yesterday when traffic policemen ... swooped down on the congested district and in a campaign to wipe out 'jay-walking' cited to court about 500 persons....  Witnesses enjoyed themselves, while violators in many instances were much embarrassed and many dignified women became highly indignant.  Guests at the large hotels enjoyed Cincinnati's effort to enforce its ordinance."  By the day the fines were due, "practically all the jay-walkers took their arrests good naturedly [sic] and grinned as they formed a line to pay the dollar." (The Times Star, 8 August 1925)

In an effort to control their own traffic problems, officials in Caracas, Venezuela have recently brought a circus of their own to town. Mimes now assist police with traffic direction - making fun of would-be traffic violators by pouting, glaring and grimacing. I suspect being accosted by a mime would be more embarrassing than receiving a citation!

So, as you go about your business this weekend, please follow the traffic laws.  You may save a life.  Besides, if things become too much of a circus, they might just send in the clowns!

In memoriam:  Pearl Marie 'Marie' Warwick (1902-1923) was the daughter of William Morehouse and Pearl (McDonough) Warwick. William was my great-grand uncle.  Pearl Marie was his only surviving child at the time of her death.

This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday 98 on the theme of buses or other public transportation.  For more takes on the theme, see Sepia Saturday

Who Were We was kind enough to comment about videos of the San Francisco earth quake that show just how chaotic the streets were in the early days of the automobile.  Here is one of many available on YouTube:  San Francisco 1905-1906 (short film).  Thanks!

A special thank-you to the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County not only for participating in the Greater Cincinnati Memory Project but also for indexing so many of the local newspapers on Newsdex.
"500 'Jay-Walk' Way to Court as Drive Begins."   Cincinnati Commercial Tribune.  28 August 1925, page 1, col. 1; page 2, col. 5-6.

"Cincinnati History Slide Collection."  Southwest Ohio and Neighboring Libraries. Greater Cincinnati Memory Project. http://www.cincinnatimemory.org/ : accessed 28 October 2011. Digital slide image.  "Police Officer, 1900." Identifier: ocp002909pccnb.  Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.  Reproduced with permission of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

"Clyde N. Bowden Postcard Collection." Southwest Ohio and Neighboring Libraries.  Greater Cincinnati Memory Project. http://www.cincinnatimemory.org/ : accessed 28 October 2011. Digital postcard image.  [Norwood Streetcar]. Identifier: ocp002909pccnb.  Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.  Reproduced with permission of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

"Corners are Timed for Heaviest Traffic Hour."  Cincinnati Times-Star.  4 November 1925, page 14, col. 1.

"Creation of Citizens' Commission to Solve City's Traffic Problems to be Recommended to Council."  Cincinnati Commercial Tribune.  11 December 1924, page 12, col. 5.

"Crusade on Jay-Walkers Speeds Traffic."  Cincinnati Times-Star.  28 August 1925, page 1, col. 1; page 28, col. 3.

"Hamilton County ranks fifth in Ohio for reducing number of traffic fatalities."  Press Release. Hamilton County Public Health. http://www.hamiltoncountyhealth.org/files/files/Press%20Releases/Traffic%20Fatalities.pdf : accessed 28 October 2011.

"Pedestrian is Chief Victim."  Cincinnati Post.  29 December 1923, page 2, col. 3.

"Stop Signs to Mark More Streets."  The Enquirer (Cincinnati).  29 August 1925, page 8, col. 1-4.

"Two Women are Killed by Autos."  Cincinnati Enquirer.  7 September 1923, page 1, col. 2; page 5, col. 1.

Updated 8 September 2016 to remove broken links.

22 October 2011

Sepia Saturday 97: Just another Cock and Bull Story

Charles W. Stratton II, tintype, 1880s, Lee, Massachusetts
The origins of the phrase "Cock and Bull Story" are debatable but certainly it has been in existence far longer than the photo depicting a young Charles W. Stratton II (1876-1945) with his bull.  Charles continued to love cattle and bred them competitively even after beginning his medical practice.  His cow, Flower, of  Hidden Farm set three records for milk production.  Not all his ventures were as successful.  The son of one of Charles' good friends said that Charles paid a lot of money for prize bulls and entered them in contests.  He hated losing to local farmers but frequently did.  Perhaps he had more winning ways with the females of the species.
American Standard of Perfection, Rose-Comb Black Bantam, ca 1905, Wikipedia

But this wouldn't be a cock and bull story without a cock.  Charles also raised prize chickens. His successful and unsuccessful attempts to win prizes for his chickens are sprinkled throughout his diaries.

Clearly many had a great time teasing the doctor about his farming pursuits.  A pair of Black Rose Comb Bantam stuffed-animals were sent to Dr. Stratton as a Christmas joke.  The newspaper clipping (source unknown) at left was found amongst his papers.  So, that leads to the question of just who was David Scott?  Could Mira (Main) Stratton be the lady in the case?  Hopefully diary entries, letters and boxes not yet explored will answer these questions.

While this was quite literally a story about cocks and bulls, a 'Cock and Bull Story,' more typically refers to an embellished or fictitious tale - usually convoluted and unbelievable.  The Phrase Finder debunks a myth that the phrase originated at Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire, England with two competing coaching inns, The Cock and The Bull.  But, should any family member ever open a pub, "The Cock and Bull" would be a perfect name.

More stories, though doubtful to be 'cock and bull stories,' can be found at Sepia Saturday 97.  The connection to the photo prompt of the week is tenuous - a boy and someone looking on through the glass.

"A Cock and Bull Story."  Article. The Phrase Finder.   http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/cock%20and%20bull%20story.html : accessed 22 October 2011.

"Rosecomb."  Wikipedia.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosecomb : 22 October 2011.

Stratton, Charles W.,  II (Lee).  Tintype.  ca 1880s.  Digital image.  Privately held by Liz Stratton, [ADDRESS FOR PERSONAL USE,] Cincinnati, Ohio. 2003.

Stratton, Charles W., II. "Diary." MS.  Lee, Massachusetts, 1901.  Privately held by Liz Stratton, [ADDRESS FOR PERSONAL USE,] Cincinnati, Ohio. 2011.

Stratton Family Papers.  Privately held by Liz Stratton  [ADDRESS FOR PERSONAL USE,] Cincinnati, Ohio. 2011.

15 October 2011

Sepia Saturday 96: Lane's Mill

The following photos are a then and, unfortunately, not so much now. Followed by a stroll down Wallace Road ca 1983.  A history of Lane's Mill can be found at Darrtown, Ohio

Lane's Mill ca 1931
The Mill was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 but not maintained.  Only a skeleton of the original Mill remains as can be seen on Wikipedia's Lane's Mill article.

Google Maps, Lane's Mill and Wallace Road showing the remains of Lane's Mill
© 2011 Google Maps

And now for a virtual stroll along Wallace Road ca 1983 when the old Mill still stood proudly facing the setting sun.

Wallace Road is to the right - a single lane road that snakes around the farm property and mill.
Lane's Mill, ca 1983

Barn opposite Lane's Mill

Returning home to the setting of the sun.

The Wallace Road images were scanned from slides with minimal-no processing.  It is a rare treat to see some of these old slides again!  I can't wait to see more and have more of my image collection available in digital form.

Thanks to Sepia Saturday for providing the inspiration to continue digitizing.  It is great fun to look through images for ones that might match the weekly theme.  I'm off-theme this week as I am awaiting permissions to use some WWII photographs - perhaps another time.  More on the theme of kidneys, World War II, cooks, strange outfits or anything else can be found at Sepia Saturday 96.