Saturday, March 30, 2013


"Having a passable time."

Apparently the attractions of the Jersey Shore in August 1909 left something to be desired, at least in the neighborhood of Bayonne.

A Mr. Henry J. Lehman of the same Walworth Street address as the recipient is listed in several city directories of the period as an insurance agent; I've found no evidence that he was related to the famous Lehman Brothers banking family.

The January 7, 1913 edition of Brooklyn's Daily Standard Leader reports that one Benjamin Silver, who had previously been arrested for attempting to pick Henry Lehman's pocket, was charged, along with a bail bondsman named Abraham Treibitz, with offering the intended victim a $50 bribe to fail to identify Silver in court. Two detectives, tipped off by Lehman and concealed in his house, promptly arrested the pair and charged them with bribery. The charge may not have stuck: an Abraham Treibitz was still active as a bail bondsman in New York City at least as late as 1931, when he arranged for the release of five Communist leaders arrested during the International Unemployment Day demonstrations. His name also seems to have surfaced during the Seabury Commission's investigations of municipal corruption in the early 1930s, which suggests that perhaps Mr. Treibitz was not one of the more ethically scrupulous members of his profession.

Friday, March 22, 2013

A view of the countryside

This sepia-toned Rotograph has a relatively uncommon 2 5/8'' x 6 1/4'' format more suited for use as a bookmark than as a postcard, though it does have a space for the address on the back (this example was never mailed). It's unnumbered and there's no caption to identify the location, which features a field of some kind of cereal crop on the right, a cluster of trees (probably mostly evergreens) on the left, and some tiny white dots in the center distance that might be grazing livestock. The soil seems to be sandy or chalky.

According to the Rotopex website, many but not all of the other bookmark-shaped cards depicted views of the Dutch countryside, but the topography here seems to be more upland than pays-bas. The format doesn't seem to have been popular, and may represent an experiment that was abandoned, but I like the quiet stillness of the scene.