Saturday, March 16, 2013

Sepia Saturday - Famous Events and People

The Sepia Saturday suggestion ...

The Sepia Saturday photograph this week is of a round table in a room full of important people. They are Clement Attlee, Harry Truman and Joseph Stalin with secretaries, several aides and ambassadors, all at the Potsdam Conference, July 1945.

Important people. Celebrities.

Well, the LOST GALLERY doesn't have many abandoned photographs of people THAT important, but on a search, a few rather well known people did emerge.

Over the years while raking in batches and albums of abandoned photographs of unknown people and dogs, occasionally a familiar face turns up.

Or at least we think so.

Presented here for Sepia Saturday this week, are some found photographs that fit that description. There are not many, but they are interesting.

As curator and janitor of the LOST GALLERY I try to find places for each photograph that turns up. Whatever the subject of the photograph, there is probably a page or section for it in the GALLERY somewhere. Although there are pages for found photographs about movies and specific important people and/or celebrities, there is no general page for a catchall of the occasional celebrity that comes into the GALLERY.

This page is for those famous people and dignitaries that don't have a category of their own.

Mary Miles Minter

From WIKI: Mary Miles Minter (April 25, 1902 – August 4, 1984)[1][2] was an American actress. She appeared in 54 silent era motion pictures from 1912 to 1923.

In 1922, Minter was involved in scandal surrounding the murder of director William Desmond Taylor, whom she professed her love for. Although gossip implicated her mother, former actress Charlotte Shelby, as the murderer, Minter's reputation was tarnished.

Minter gave up her movie career in 1923.

This photo looks like a mass produced promotional print but it is stamped with Fox photo shop on the reverse, just like a million other brownie snapshots.

From WIKI:Born Kathleen Morrison in Port Huron, Michigan, Colleen Moore (August 19, 1899 – January 25, 1988) was an American film actress, and one of the most fashionable stars of the silent film era.

Note her name is miss-spelled on the photograph.

There is a fine website on her life called the Colleen Moore Project.

This photo looks like a mass produced promotional print but it is stamped with Fox photo shop on the reverse, just like a million other brownie snapshots.

Coleen Moore

This abandoned photograph hung in LOST GALLERY for SIX YEARS before anyone recognized the people in it. There was nothing on the reverse of the photograph except, in ink, "1918" and a hand stamp indicating:

Photo by
G. W. Stephenson
534 E 29th St.
Patterson, N. J.

It looked almost hopeless and we began making up stories about it to fill the gap. (That's what photograph collectors do when they get bored.)

Then in January of 2013 a sharp-eyed Flickr member named CATBRUSHER stated, "The man is Newton D. Baker, Secretary of War from 1916 to 1921."

And the real story unfolded. Now that we know that, who is it getting the award?

After some more research, CATBRUSHER followed with "It's Anna Howard Shaw. .

This seems historical.

She received the Distinguished Service Medal on 24 May 1919 for chairing the Committee on Women's Defense Work. She received the medal just six weeks before her death.

Here is a picture of her--same hat, same ear lobe, same newly-awarded medal so it's probably the same day.
Anna Howard Shaw

So an abandoned photograph comes to life and gives us a little history lesson.


When the photograph above first turned up, the name Cantinflas popped up first. The woman's clothing hinted at a range of dates that would eliminate that possibility however. Cantinflas would be too young at that time.

Finally an alert Flickr member pointed out that it is Warner Oland.

Oh, you know, CHARLIE CHAN!

Warner Oland appeared in about 15 Charlie Chan movies as well as MANY other movies including "The Jazz Singer(1927) and Werewolf of London(1935).

After taking this trip to Shanghai with a stop off in Hawaii in 1936, Warner and wife Edith were enmeshed in a divorce battle for much of 1937. Then Warner Oland died August 6, 1938 (aged 58) in Stockholm, Sweden

The photograph of the newspaper below, is dated March 23, 1936. The caption reads "Mr. Warner Oland, better known to his screen admirers as "Charlie Chan," arrived with his wife in Shanghai yesterday in the ss Empress of Asia."

20130214 Warner Oland and wife arriving shanghai March 23,1936

From there it was an easy step to identify Edith Gardener Shearn, his wife.

On the net, only ONE other photograph of Shearn could be found and very little else.

This is a bit odd because she was apparently quite active in the arts. In a short bio about Oland she is mentioned as actress, playwright and translator as well as a portrait painter.

Here she is in the SAME HAT!
20130214 Edith Gardner Shearn

Yeah, I know it looks like her, but I wonder if we'll ever know for sure.

A whole morning was spent chasing shreds and threads of evidence.

Beer labels get redesigned quite often it seems. I was able to find a close match for the Pabst label in the lower right corner in a 1951 magazine advertisement
All others that I found (and there were many) were quite different than this one. Most have the main (lower) label slanted on the bottle.

It appears the pill-box hat fashion started in the 1930’s but reached a peak about 1961 when Jacqueline Kennedy wore one.

After all that I stumbled across this picture of a fur stole...

And I am now fairly convinced this is Billie Holiday. But, I will entertain any other theories. What a find.

The photograph is on sturdy, eight by ten inch print paper, with nothing on the reverse except the Kodak logo, and appears to have been a non-promotion photograph. (If you do a Billie Holiday image search, 99% of them show her with her trademark white gardenia in her hair.) The print itself is not in perfect shape. There are lots of scratches and creases. It was printed by someone who knew what it was and handled by several who did not.

This photograph seems to come from a large format negative indicating the possibility of a camera such as a Graflex Speed Graphic that a news photographer might use. If this is true, there are other shots of this occasion. Does anyone know of a published version?

To further complicate things, not all Billie Holiday photographs look like Billie Holiday. Comparing album covers and promo shots, one might think that there were several people with that name.

Of course, it may not be her at all. What do you think?

Unknown Couple

Here is one of Holiday's finest from 1957. FINE AND MELLOW

(Indecently, the Hoosier Hotshots had a line that applies here. If this performance by Miss Holiday does not move you,
...go and get a shovel and dig yourself a hole,
There’s No Romance in Your Soul

We lost Billie Holiday in 1959.

Unidentified Actress

Unidentified actress.

But you know who she is ...don't you? Sure you do. But only a few know the name of the movie that this still is from.

Okay, let's play a game. It’s a game sort of like “I spy” where you look for something and when you find it, you just go sit down. The last one standing is the loser.

In this game, let’s say as many things about this photograph as we can without identifying who this is. Each thing we say will be a clue about her but no one should say her name. If we tell who it is, it would be too easy then to look up the name of the movie.

I’ll start it off:

The still is from a movie that was a turkey of the first degree.
She was married to someone from the UK.
She holds a master's degree (UCLA, 1993) in psychology.
That is not her real hair.

This is exciting isn’t it?

(This and some other unidentified photographs were found in an old Texas theater.)

Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein? They were extensive travelers and visited the area where I found this tiny photobooth photograph.

Look at these photographs. And look at THIS ONE too.

It is one thing to find a photograph of someone who looks like a celebrity or well known figure. But to find a photograph of TWO people who look like TWO people who are normally associated with each other is a little more conclusive.

This one had sifted to the bottom of one of many trays, of MANY snapshots in a Texas "Antique Mall."

photobooth pair

Digging through a pile of photographs in a dark junk store is always an adventure. You never know what you will turn up.

Not everyone would recognize someone in this "lobby card" photograph. I was lucky. I happened to be a long time fan of the guy in the middle. Woody Herman.

From Wiki:
Woodrow Charles "Woody" Herman (May 16, 1913 – October 29, 1987), was an American jazz clarinetist, alto and soprano saxophonist, singer, and big band leader. Leading various groups called "The Herd," Herman was one of the most popular of the 1930s and '40s bandleaders. His bands often played music that was experimental for their time. He was a featured halftime performer for Super Bowl VII. Herman continued to perform into the 1980s, after the death of his wife and with his health in decline, chiefly to pay back taxes caused by his business manager's bookkeeping in the 1960s. With the added stress, Herman still kept performing.

Woody Herman

Les Paul 01
Les Paul 03

And as usual, I have saved my favorite for the last.

Here is a legend.

Almost twenty years ago, in the dark days before email and digital transfer, this AP laserphoto and some others, were found, destined for a dumpster at a newspaper office. It was fading fast as early laserphotos are inclined to do. They were seldom finished properly, and not really meant to be very permanent, so I have preserved these with a scan.

It's Les Paul, the Wizard of Waukesha. Les Paul invented the solid body, electric guitar. He changed music forever. Today a fifties Les Paul Gibson can sell in ranges of a few hundred to as much as 100 thousand dollars, depending on it's history.

He also invented "close miking" and multi-tracking and reverberation effects. He perfected/invented "over-dubbing", a process that today's singers could hardly do without.

With his wife, Mary Ford, he recorded DOZENS of chart-topping hits including "Tennessee Waltz," "The World is Waiting for the Sunrise" and "How High the Moon."

Serious health problems did little to slow him down. He experienced two broken eardrums, and a minor stroke in 1975, was followed by a heart attack. Then in 1977, with Chet Atkins he recorded the grammy winning album,
"Lester and Chester".
Following that, they produced
"Guitar Monsters."
(Quite a bit of clowning in this clip.)

In 1984, Paul began a regular series of Monday night appearances at Fat Tuesday's club in New York. Then four years later, Paul was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 1996, Paul was awarded the John Smithson Bicentennial Medal from the Smithsonian Institution.

Paul continued to perform every Monday night, while indulging his curiosity in a basement workshop at his home in New Jersey.

We lost Les Paul August 13, 2009. Almost exactly 15 years after the top photograph.

He was 94.

The Sepia Saturday suggestion ...

Go there and see what others are doing for Sepia Saturday.

Or maybe you'd prefer just a list of all (well, most) of the categories and subjects and album pages in LOST GALLERY! Well, here it is!

A to C

Advance to the Rear The Rear View
Aircraft – Biplanes
Aircraft – Connie, the Lockheed Constellation
Aliens and Mystery – Area Fifty-One and a Half
Animals – Gone to the Chickens
Animals – The Pets by themselves
Animals – Posing on a Pony
Area Fifty-One and a Half – Don’t Look Now
Automobiles – Car Bumpers
Automobiles – Car Running Boards
Baby Buggy
Beach – Itinerant Beach Photographer (page 01)
Beach – Itinerant Beach Photographer (page 02)
Beach – The Old Days
Beach – The Slide Show
Beach – The Girlfriend
Boys in Dresses
Bumpers – Car Bumpers
Cabinet Cards
Camera – Photographs containing a camera
C'est la Guerre – Photographs about the wars
Chain Chain Chain – People doing the same things
Chair, Fringed
Chair, One Armed
Chickens - Gone to the Chickens
Children – Boys in Dresses
Children – A Child on the Front Steps
Children - Girls and their Dolls
Children – Kid in a Tub
Children – Mobile Toys
Children - On Running Boards
Children – Slide Show
Children – Trios - In groups of Three
Christmas – in found photographs
Cities – Unknown Street Scenes
Class Pictures – School Days!
Clothing – Bows
Clothing – Costumes
Clothing – Cowboy Outfits
Clothing – Boys in Dresses
Clothing – Furs – The Dead Animal Society
Clothing – Grass Skirts
Clothing – Hats
Clothing – Jodhpurs
Clothing – Saddle Shoes
Clothing – Sailor Tailored Fashion
Clothing – Swimwear – At the Beach
Clothing – Uniforms – Girl & her Guy in Uniform
Clothing – Uniforms - Our Man at the Front
Connie, the Lockheed Constellation
Couples – A Girl and her Guy in Uniform
Fake Fight

C to P

Fringed Chair
Furniture and Props – One Armed Chair
Furniture and Props – Props and Backdrops
Furniture and Props – The Fringed Chair
Furniture and Props – Wicker
Girl in a Boat
Girlfriend and the Car
Girlfriend at the beach
Goat Cart
Gone to the Chickens – Snaps including a chicken
Grass Skirt Gallery
Groups – Chain Chain Chain – People lined up
Groups – Class Pictures
Hats – Where everyone is wearing a hat
Hats – Really Big hats
Homes – We Call it Home
House – Our House
Itinerant Street Photographer
Itinerant Child Photographer With PONY!
Laundry – People and Clothes Lines
Music – Trombones
Music Makers
Novelty Photo Booth – Collection
Novelty Photo Booth – Examination
The Office Typewriters and business
On a Bumper
On a Car
On a Rock
On a Running Board
One-Armed Chair
Parade – Parties, Parades and Picnics
Parties – Parties, Parades and Picnics
People Stacks
Personal Pinups – the best girl. (Page One)
Personal Pinups – the best girl. (Page Two)
Personal Pinups – Girlfriend at the beach
Pets – The animals by themselves
Photo Mask
PhotoBombing – Pranks to ruin a photo
Photography – Photographs containing a camera
Photography – The Photo Mask
Photography – Tinted Photograph
Photography – Polaroids
Photography Errors – Lurker
Photography Errors – photographer's Shadow
Photography Errors – The Double Exposure
Photography Errors – Unauthorized Photographs
Picnics – Parties, Parades and Picnics
Places to Go - More about where than who.
Places – Our House - With people in front
Places – We Call it Home - More houses
Pony – Posing on a Pony

P to W

Poses – Advance to the Rear!
Poses - Belly Down, Heads Up! (A really odd pose.)
Poses – Cheesecake
Poses – Fake Fight
Poses – Girl in a Boat
Poses – In a Tree
Poses – Kid in a Tub
Poses – On a Bumper
Poses – On a Car
Poses – On a Pony
Poses – On a Running Board
Poses – Out Sitting on a Rock
Poses – People with Signs.
Poses – Personal Pinup
Poses – The Rear View
Poses – Sleeping people
Poses – Stacks of People People on People
Props and Backdrops
Rock – People out sitting on a rock
Running Boards - Automobiles
Running Boards with Children
Saddle Shoes
Sailor Tailored Clothing
Signs – People posing with signs.
Sleeping People
Sneaky Snaps–People not posing at all
Telephone - About telephones and operators
Things – Typewriter – A Modern Antique
Things – Telephones
Things – Watermelon in the picture
Tinted Photograph
Toys – Children and their Mobile Toys
Toys - Girls and their Dolls
Transportation – Aircraft
Transportation – Automobile Bumpers
Transportation – Automobile Running Boards
Transportation – Baby Buggy
Transportation – Biplanes
Transportation – Lockheed Constellation
Transportation – Wheelbarrow
Tree Thing
Types of Photographs – Cabinet Cards
Types of Photographs – CDV (Carte-de Viste)
Types of Photographs – Photobooth
Types of Photographs – Polaroids
Types of Photographs – Tintypes
Typewriter – A Modern Antique
Unauthorized Photographs – Sneaky snaps
Uniformed Man – Our Man at the Front
Vehicles – Biplane
Vehicles – Lockheed Constellation
Vehicles – Wheelbarrow
Washday Blues – Of Love and Laundry
Wicker Chairs
Wicker Furniture
World War One


  1. Love this trip down memory lane!!
    This is my first time dropping by from Sepia Saturday but I'll be a follower now!

  2. Thanks Jackie/Jake. I didn't realize I had accumulated so many famous people until I started assembling this page. Glad you enjoyed it.

  3. Another great gakkery for us to study.

  4. Thanks Bob Scotney. This one took a while to assemble.

  5. I cheated, I saw 'Barbara Bach' in the labels! Yes it looks like Billie to me.

  6. My favourite is the one of Toklas and Stein, and after browsing several score images of the pair, I have little doubt that you have IDd them correctly - it would indeed be too much of a coincidence. What a spectacular find.

  7. Thanks Bret Payne. I agree, that one is really hard to deny. I also read somewhere while I was researching the picture, that the two spent some time in northern Texas, late in life. And that's where I found the Photobooth portrait of them.

    (Note to Little Nell: I'll get to your comment soon!)

  8. As usual a fascinating collection. I spend so much time browsing your stuff yhat I often don't get around to other postings. But thanks anyhow.

  9. That is a wonderful collection you have for us this week. My vote would be for it being the fabulous Lady Day.

  10. Nice collection. I like Edith's hat style.

  11. Thanks Little Nell. I think you are right twice!

    Thanks Liz Needle. Glad you stopped by! I am glad you were entertained.

    Thanks Alan Burnett. I was surprised at how many I found that fit the bill. I think it is Holiday also.

    Thanks Postcardy. I am kind of partial to those too. Stylish and functional.



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