Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Turn it OVER! There's something on the BACK! July 2011

Very often, notations on the reverse of these found photographs are obscure or too brief or illegible. Most often there is nothing at all.

But now and then there is a message from the past that sparkles.

Back in March of 2009 LOST GALLERY had a full page of photographs and their very interesting reverse sides. There have been many new additions to the collection since then.

Here is a new group of those photographs with mysterious, funny and sometimes puzzling reverse sides; tiny bits of history, reaching out to us over the decades and sometimes centuries.

Big Fish
Big Fish - reverse

Weight 2,000
We acted as if we were going to put Tommy in the fishes mouth but he wouldn't let us. That mouth is really big."

CDV Man Woman Child
CDV Man Woman Child

"Ask David whether he knows
this man woman and child
Joseph Gamble Welham
Near Market Hamboro

Two swimmers

The Medina River
The water is clear
and blue looking
and is so swift as
you can see. You
can hardly stand
up in it.

group of four in forest
group of four in forest reverse

Hello pal: -I saw Shawn last night as he came through.
He said you had promised
to come through here
to go to Taylorville
one week from next
I am with(?) you
and now
dont fail to
I will be waiting
for you.

Mr. Kenneth Schaaf

(Postmarked: Pawnee OK, Jan 6, 1906)

Six portraits and reverse message

Mr. James H MCewen
4301 Anderson Ave, Kansas City Mo.
My Mother & Father, Grandmother & Grandfather
You know the other
From(?) Geo F MCewen 2960 Glenn *** Ave
(Dorrcont?) Phla Pa.
sorry you could not find to see me when
here much dissapointed. Had much to talk about to you about.


Four Girls
Four Girls (reverse)

All I can read of this is
Which I take to mean March 25, 1934

Can anyone read the rest?

Update! July 26,2011
Thanks to the helpful reader, PALOMA who suggested this translation:
"…it says 'Unter den Fenstern von [Webezig]'. It's German and simply means 'below/under the windows of [Webezig]'. Unfortunately I can just guess the name of the place though."

Thanks for the help, PALOMA!

The boys at the plant and reverse

All I can make out of this one is


Can anyone read the rest?

School Picture

My only school -
Battle Creek about 4 or 5 miles east
of Moran
Taught in 1891-2

Fur Coat
Couple with Fur Coat

A friend of Jack
Jack Gelb and Me
Feb. 7, 1932

Two women
Two women

Mrs. Jones (or Bones)

Ralph Paul Thompson

for Aunt Frank
Ralph Paul Thompson
23 mos. old
July 7, 1927

Badgers and Shellys with reverse

Mother Badger
Dad Badger
Bert Sheilly (or Sheely or Shelly)
Mrs "
Their little girl
Justine Kren (or Wren) Badge
Bill Law

three children and reverse w

Melvin Evelyn Alberta
Charles Jeannette Anna
Hess Hess Hess
(Pat) (Hon) (Sis)
3 1 6

It will probably take a moment to sort out which is which.

Orville with car and flags

Orville Nichols
1415-6th St
Ports, Ohio
“to” (or perhaps "30" as reader Natalia suggests)
The only girl
I ever loved

O. N.
D. N.

Jul 17 1931
Portsmouth: Ohio

Indecently, the car is a rare 1929 Marmon.

Cant get enough? Here is a previous page called

And there are some new additions coming up in August and September.

The most popular photographs most popular, Family Group,
An album of the
most requested photographs
in the Lost Gallery.

Area 51 and a Half Area 51 and a Half
You are probably not authorized to see these.

Don't take my picture! Oh! You DID didn't you!
completely unaware of the photographer
This is a collection of photographs that disappear on the way home from the photo processing shop.


Or try out the NEW

And don't miss
Cabinet Card Gallery
Penny Tales
Square America
Tattered and Lost
Vernacular Photography
The best
sites on the web.
And for postcards try

All images are the property of Lost Gallery and the author. Permission must be granted for their use. All rights reserved.

THE KIDS Lesson one.
It is always a mystery to us how a photograph of any of these precious children could end up lost or abandoned. Here are a few. You will probably say "Ooh..." at least once.

Dee and the Business School Dee and the Business School
The beautiful Dee. A curious story, What do you see?

Neiffel and Helvetica Typehigh

"What are they doing?"


  1. I love this! Thanks for posting the backs. I always prefer to find one for my collection that's been written on. My best find was a girl who wrote to her mother to say she met Howard Hughes aboard a yacht.

  2. Thanks a lot! I ran a page of these back in 2009 too. I’ll add a link back to it on this page. I have two more pages of them coming up in August and September.

    Wow! Howard Hughes! That would be a real find. I can’t think of a favorite of mine. Several are very moving, some historical.

  3. It is fun when someone has written something on the back beyond just names. I have an odd one of a strange looking fellow with a woman standing behind him. On the back it says, "No not blind." I laugh every time I look at it.

  4. Oh, that is funny.

    I don’t think I have any that funny. Some are really historical. I have of a building with a note on the back in broken English asking it be saved because it is where they landed. And then in the same note, saying it was not where they landed.

  5. Hi, I just wanted to say that in the sixth picture (the one with the four girls in front of a car) it says "Unter den Fenstern von [Webezig]". It's German and simply means "below/under the windows of [Webezig]". Unfortunately I can just guess the name of the place though.
    Your collection is amazing!

  6. Thanks PALOMA for taking the time to help out! I updated the caption box to include your translation.

  7. I think the one with Orville and his wonderful car says "30" The only girl I ever loved.

    Meaning the car (maybe it was actually a 1930 and he named it "30") was the only girl he ever loved.

    I wonder whether he wrote that on the back as an older man, looking back sad that he never found true love.

  8. Thank you very much, Natalia. It is quite possible that is the case. I wondered about that too. I could not justify why the word TO was in quotes. If it is indeed 30 instead, used as a name, that would make more sense.

    I can’t find any place called “Ports” in Ohio either so it must be shorthand for Portsmouth as is in the photo finisher’s stamp. Google earth says there is such a place as 1415 6th street there, but of course it looks nothing like this now.

    Funny how these old pictures draw one in and stories begin to emerge. Some of them really are messages to the future.

  9. The letter to Kenneth A. Schaaf from R.R.A, I know a bit about that. Well, I know a bit about Kenneth Schaaf. Interested?

    1. Thanks Rebecca Luke. I'm always interested in learning more about these rescued photographs,



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