Quote and Credit

Quote and Credit


Mrs. Sauer and her Fabulous Four Seasons

A complete set of four linen postcards, each depicting a season, crocheted by the remarkable Lena Sauer of Covington, Kentucky in 1937 (or thereabouts, if my handy guide to dating postcards is correct, these were published in 1938) . As the reverse of the cards point out, each season shown took from 750 to 1050 hours to complete. (Ready? Set.......CROCHET!) The backs also point out highlights, such as "93 colorful tulips, even an ash tray on the coffee table with a smoking cigarette, license plates on those cars amaze everyone and no larger than the nail on your hand." As with ALL my postings, feel free to enlarge the images for detail. Squint. Imagine.
I will have much, much more to say about postcards and postcard collecting in future posts, so tell your friends!
Feel free to look up "crochet" on wiki...it has a long history, all of which is as boring as the process itself.

Set of four Curteich Art-Colortone Linen Postcards, unmailed
1938 Collection Jim Linderman

Bowling Ball Salesman Sample

The Brunswick company shut their bowling ball plant in Muskegon, Michigan (twelve miles from where I found this salesman sample) in 2006 and moved the entire operation to Mexico. An all too familiar story by now. However, this story has a twist and smile...read on.

By DAVE ALEXANDER | The Muskegon Chronicle January 12, 2009 Muskegon workers are making bowling balls again. Taking up the Brunswick Corp. tradition of bowling ball production that was moved to Mexico in 2006, a small independent producer of bowling items has launched a new line of professional-grade balls. The Motiv line of bowling balls is being made out of the Wilbur Products plant in Muskegon Heights.

I sincerely hope corporate giant Brunswick enjoys paying the gasoline transportation cost to move every damn one of their 14 pound Mexican Bowling balls to the United States, and that all you hipsters can buy yourself and Dad a Motiv ball this year.

Bowling Ball Salesman Sample 4.5" diameter 2 pounds c. 1960 Collection Jim Linderman

Shroud of Turin

A photograph which has taken a photo of itself! Actually, a beautiful 19th century vignette photo of a young woman, printed on paper, which was then tipped into a small paper folder along with an early cellophane insert. The original photographic image has leached through the protective cover leaving a ghost image, which has then in turn also passed the image onto the other side of the paper sleeve. Three images for the price of one, but you would have had to wait over 100 years for the cloned photos to have developed.

Original Photograph in original protective paper sleeve w/ toning
c. 1900 Collection Jim Linderman

How to make a Church

Most make-do churches hang a sign and open for business. This congregation not only did that, they took the time to let a little bit of God in.

Original 35mm photographs Northern Geogia c. 1999 Collection Jim Linderman

Engraved Calligraphy Indian Penny with a Dove

A tiny masterpiece the size of a penny. In fact, it IS a penny! An Indian cent, though the image of Liberty in an American Indian head dress has been rubbed out and a calligraphic form dove has been expertly engraved. Known in numismatic circles as a "love token" the technique of intricate line engraving on coins is an unusual form of amulet. There were 1,849,648,000 Indian pennies produced from 1859 to 1909. As far as I know, there was only one engraved like this, but the person who did it was most accomplished and certainly engraved for a living. As such, this is not really "folk art" since the name implies amateur status...but the folky dove is a common image in other folk art forms of the period. Calligraphic drawings, hand decorated introduction cards, school children penmanship lessons and the like are often seen with similar images, but one this small on a coin is quite unusual. Love Tokens were just that...tokens presented to a loved one. Most have initials carved on them. It is possible this is a "blank" and was done while waiting for a buyer to request it, the name of his sweetie would have been engraved below the bird, however as wear from circulation is evident on both sides, this was carried for a long time. Wealthy (or naive) suitors could present their lover a gold coin carved with initials. Less fortunate would and could impress with a simple penny enhanced such as this piece. They are often seen with a hole punched for carrying on a charm bracelet or necklace. Coins have served many purposes other than commerce. They have been placed over the eyes of the dead, used to ward off evil, passed around for good luck, turned into "pawn" jewelry and even swallowed.

Engraved Indian Cent with Calligraphy Dove c. 1859-1909 Collection Jim Linderman

Take Me to the Water: Immersion Baptism in Vintage Music and Photography 1890-1950

Dust-To-Digital will be releasing Take Me to the Water: Immersion Baptism in Vintage Music and Photography 1890-1950 featuring photographs I collected over a ten year period along with a CD of truly amazing and historic early songs and sermons from prominent collections compiled by Steven Lance Ledbetter. Essays by Jim Linderman, Luc Sante and comprehensive notes by Ledbetter. The original photographs have been donated to the International Center of Photography in New York. Dust-To-Digital is an award winning reissue label and much, much more. I am proud and honored to be involved with them on this project. There will be additional information about this release as it progresses. Please take the time to read their January 2009 newsletter, and make sure to note their outstanding catalog of releases, current, past and forthcoming.

Take Me to the Water: Immersion Baptism in Vintage Music and Photography 1890-1950 DTD-13 / One CD / 100 Page Hardback Book Release Date: Early 2009 With essays by photograph collector Jim Linderman and noted author Luc Sante, this release should be in stores in April.

19th Century Child's Handmade Paper Weaving

Did Josef Albers go to Kindergarten? Here are two circa 1900 (really) woven child's paper works which illustrate Albers "interaction of color" in remarkable prescient form. Once fairly common, but increasingly hard to find, these 19th century schoolgirl craft pieces are among the most underrated forms of early folk art. They often turn up as love tokens or valentines in the shape of hearts and under many different names (folded paper, woven paper, paper weaving, paper cuts and more)...but all are extraordinary miniature works of serious art despite being made for the most part by children. In fact, this technique, now seemingly forgotten except among enlightened educational organizations, was developed by Fredrich Froebel, not only the fellow who did invent kindergarten, but also became an unheralded artistic influence to many. If you are an adult and like art, you should collect the antique originals, they're precious. If you are a parent who would like to get your kid off the computer for a few minutes, find a source for "Froebel's Gifts". There are still high quality boxes of his "theories" being made and sold, mostly in wooden block form.

Pair of Kindergarten Paper Weavings, each 4.5" x 4.5" c. 1900 Collection Jim Linderman

School Composition Biology Drawing Antique

Old school student composition books seemed to be a good fertile place to look for antique drawings with folky primitive appeal. So I found one. I am guessing the worst students made the best drawings.

"Circulatory System of a Man, Lungs" student biology notebook circa 1880 ink. Collection Jim Linderman

Tintype Eyes

My esteemed blogeague John Foster, whose blog is linked here as Accidental Mysteries recently posted a handful of defaced photos from Square America, another recommended site. They're quite nice and each one tells a story.

Here is a similar image, a circa 1880 tintype with manipulated eyes. Creepy! The fellow's peepers additionally have attempted eyeglasses. The effect is to make the Victorian ladies look like today's crash dummies. I assume a child did it, but then I still doodle on posters and the magazine movie stars just for fun, so who knows. Enhancing, doctoring, tinting and manipulating photographic images didn't start with photoshop (or Life magazine around 1963, heh heh). Tintype photographers regularly colored and painted their product, either at the request of the sitter or just because they could. The deceased who had never had a picture taken were often propped up and captured, later open eyes were painted on so loved ones could remember the departed in a gruesome and artificial manner. Those with chains and jewelry would have gold highlights added on occasion, cheeks were tinted pink on a regular basis.

Original Tintype c. 1880 Collection Jim Linderman

Summer in South Carolina

I am in Michigan, a state which might draw up images of snow at this time of year. It should. If I hear the phrase "lake effect" once more, I'll throw up my frozen hands. So, a summer image. Queen size mattress on four hanging chains near St. Helena, South Carolina 1995. Looks comfy, and was.

"Swinging Mattress" South Carolina 1995 Original 35mm photograph Collection Jim Linderman

Bob Dylan, a Banjo, a Radio and Trout 2010

A simple life does not mean a trendy "return to basics" with shabby chic country deco, designer hemp rugs on the floor and rustic sourdough bread from your local equivalent of Balducci's... or even "cocooning" if you do it with a huge flat-screen not yet paid for. The average debt on a credit card is approaching $10,000, and even the average college student now carries a $2,000 balance on their card. (That coffee you "swipe your card" for is going to seem awful extravagant when you are still paying for a portion of it 10 years from now). I drive through middle class (umm...make that formerly middle-class) neighborhoods with so much junk in the garage neither of the cars will fit. In 1970, Bob Dylan stunned those who found some type of direction in his music by releasing "New Morning" containing the seemingly banal lyrics "Build me a cabin in Utah/Marry me a girl, catch rainbow trout/Have a bunch of kids who'll call me pa/That must be what its all about, That must be what its all about". Has he ever been wrong?

This tar paper looks nice and straight. The radio is free. Bring a banjo.

"Sister Mate" Real Photo Post Card Anonymous Itinerant c. 1915 Collection Jim Linderman

The Rice Church

Alabama, 1994

Original 35mm photograph 1994 Collection Jim Linderman

House of God Truth without Controversy

I am afraid my extensive notes do not indicate location of this church. I also do not remember if services were held in the house or the connected "single-wide". As you can see, it was a long stretch of road ahead and I had to be somewhere before dark.

Original 35mm photographs c. 1995 Collection Jim Linderman

Garage Hangover

Now THIS is a fun website and quite an accomplishment. Pick your state. If you are near my age, chances are you'll find the fellows who played at your prom (or tried to). For the record, mine was "The Uncalled Four" and we only played one gig, a battle of the bands. But we beat that greaser band from Muskegon who dared to play Beatles covers. Allow an hour or two, this site is more addictive than u tube.


Robert Howell Virginia Environment

Robert Howell's rural Virginia environment circa 1992. I did not know his name at the time. A good friend of mine told me about it, but he didn't want to go. I knocked and yelled to see if anyone was home, the place certainly looked abandoned and the sculptures had a wonderful presence of abandon as well. As I was leaving, Mr. Howell appeared with with a double barrel shotgun aimed at my head. My first thought was what a scattering of buckshot would look like on a rental car. I do know it was the the first time, and hopefully the last time, I will say "put the gun down". Three times. My understanding is that since I visited, someone "bought" these sculptures, but this I am not sure of, and if they did, more power to them. If you would like to go visit and see if they are still available, be my guest. Four Kodak snapshots c. 1992 Collection Jim Linderman

Matching Tintype Photographs of a Young Girl The Painted Backdrop

Two remarkable matching tintype images of a little girl in an unusual profile pose. Circa 1865. The backdrop with tents and a flag was certainly used behind civil war soldiers off to war, many never returned. Perhaps this young girl accompanied her father to the studio the same day, and multiple copies were made so he could take one along on his journey. Tintype photos are unique images, but often copies were made at the same time through the use of a multiple image camera. For some sittings, the plate would be moved slightly and exposed again, creating a primitive version of a contact sheet. I believe these are identical...if not, our young poser moved not a muscle in between shots . Should a transparency be made, we might lay one atop the other to be sure, but my naked eye indicates duplication. The anonymous photographer not only skillfully posed her in the crux of the tree, the brim of her straw hat perfectly matches the angle of the longer limb. I like to think she was staring intently at her mother out of frame. She sits on a real log appearing positioned to mimic one which would have been sawn from the tree behind. She holds wilted flowers, perhaps a last gift from her father. This pair of photos is worth clicking to enlarge. My book The Painted Backdrop will be published in 2010.

Pair of matching tintypes c. 1865 Collection Jim Linderman

Holy Land USA in decay

High (REALLY high) above Waterbury, Connecticut one might still find the crumbling ruins of Holy Land created by the holy hand of curious visionary and lawyer John Baptist Greco. He commenced making the plaster and wire recreation of Jerusalem and Bethlehem in 1950, and like so many of those with unusual personal visions, he never finished. He willed the whole shebang to a reclusive order of nuns, the Religious Teachers Fillipini of Bristol. A mixed blessing for the nuns...over the years they have given up on tossing out rowdy teens and outsider art thrill seekers. After all, it is a MOUNTAIN and isn't fenced in. These pictures date to 1994. To find the ruins, drive to Waterbury and at every single opportunity, turn the wheel uphill and the road will lead you. Original 35mm photographs c 1994 collection Jim Linderman

Art Car Houston Texas Outsider Art Automobile

There is an "art car" in every city, even if only the junker you see parked downtown covered with "ouch" stickers and "I brake for (whatever)". However, this mega-tricked beauty seriously rules the road. A 1973 post card with the following caption on the reverse "'52 Pontiac custom features hand-painted seat covers, lots of chrome, years of work. The artist wishes to remain anonymous. Photographed in Houston, Texas 1973. Photo by Chip Lord" The charming dealer I purchased this card from adds "this outsider art automobile has a bumper sticker near the front grill which says "black." The gas station owner's last name was Wilson. Ads for Bardahl and STP seen in the service station. A classic Harris County, roadside America or black Americana collectible in near-mint condition. For black Americana and gas station collectors, it just doesn't get much better than this".

Finally, I would like to add even the doo-dads on the matching raised visors are symmetrical. The driver may be anonymous, but I suspect his name might be "Flash". This ride might struggle to reach cruising speed, but I would pay $500 just to drive it around the block and wave and I'd throw in a full tank right after. Automobile manufacturers would like you to think their cars make a "statement". This one clearly says aloud "Kiss My Ass".

Post Card c. 1973 Collection Jim Linderman

Old photo of an Old profession

A photo of a financial transaction. I tagged this blog with the word "sex" simply to generate traffic...surely 15 years of the internet has shown nothing works better at directing peepers to a website. Furtive consumers were often called "pop-eyes" by early "content" providers such as the sleaze merchant who produced this photo. Likely a still taken while a stag film was being made, the pictures were sold under the counter or in the back of magazines in sets of 6 or 8. Obviously, this would have been the first of the set. Photos were much easier to duplicate than the film itself, which would have been lugged around with a projector and shown in make-do venues. I personally remember attending two and I'm not that old, one was screened in a gas station several miles out of the small town I lived in (spread by word of mouth) the other in a dorm room just down the hall my freshman year. Both were shown on tacked up white sheets. This photo is actually much clearer than the films I saw. Fashion folks might date this better than me, maybe 1950. Neither of the participants here seem particularly exploited, but then I wasn't there. Photos of people engaged in illegal activities are interesting. These folks were certainly "acting" the role of hooker and hooked, but then since the act of filming same was probably against the law at the time, this would be a photo of a crime depicting a fake crime, though they did certainly carry on with the scene being negotiated for the sake of the camera. This is an "original" but there were certainly thousands of it made. In 1957, the New York Times reported on the arrest of two women with 50,000 copies of 3000 different negatives.

2.5 x 3.5 vintage photograph collection Jim Linderman.

African-American Yard Art

I am not sure I agree with everything written about the significance of Africanisms and the yard art of the American South (and elsewhere) but one can't deny SOMETHING is going on here beyond untidy.   Ruby (the only name she would give me) simply said "it is pretty" and I had to agree. I'll leave it up to the experts and dissertation writers as to the meaning. Their work is as easy to find as a bottle on a tree. Near Yazoo City, Mississippi 1992."Ruby's Yard" 5 original 35mm photographs c. 1992 Collection Jim Linderman

Jesus is the only fire escape

Who can argue with this? I would feel pretty safe in his hands too, Jesus appears to be quite capable of carrying anyone to safety. Richmond, Virginia "Jesus is the only fire escape"

Original 35mm photograph c. 1993 Collection Jim Linderman

Instant Photography for the ages Mandelette

The first photo is remarkable for several reasons, not the least of which is that it shows a blind double amputee Native American woman propped up against a board (!) As a person once said to me "yep, she got her legs shot off" to be blunt. I am posting it as a "rest in peace" for Polaroid, who recently filed bankruptcy for the second time and this time there will be no squirming out.

Believe it or not, these photographs were produced with instant film circa 1915.
These are Mandelette direct-positive photo postcards taken by a camera which had it's own developing tank. Mandelette camera users were able to take instant photographs and produce a unique image directly on a flimsy card stock suitable for mailing. (These were foolishly imprinted with the Mandel logo right where the stamp went, one reason these are hard to find today...who would encourage consumers to block out the logo on their own product?) A fairly large and clunky apparatus, the camera was used most frequently on a tripod by street photographers who would load it with pre-printed postcard backs (as shown) and sell them to passerby. They worked poorly. As the machine could only produce one unique direct-positive image, like a tintype, the images were usually dark and blurred as seen in the equally unusual early motocycle riders here. Consequently, the camera lasted only a few years. Polaroid, on the other hand, was able to hang on a bit longer.

Three unique Mandel Real Photo post cards, 2.5" x 3.5" and 3" x 4.5", circa 1915 Collection Jim Linderman

Reverend Eldert Simpkins House of Prair and Healing

The Rev. Elbert Simpkins Prair House and Healing Church, a sign which made me glad to be wearing a seatbelt. The technique of squeezing letters together for appearance or "to fit" is known as kerning. The practice of reversing letters is known as, well...writing backwards. Children who write like this often worry their parents, but the youngsters usually figure things out and dyslexia seldom results. Da Vinci wrote letters backwards in his notebooks to protect secrets. I could not find a software program which reverses letters at random for you (which would be known as digital illiteracy) but there are plenty of folks asking how to do it in forums. This two- sided sign graced a small church in Mississippi. I doubt the Reverend is still keeping hours, but you could try the number.

Original 35 mm photographs, c. 1992 Collection Jim Linderman

Prophet Royal Robertson

From time to time I intend to post my vacation photos. Don't expect to see anyone parasailing. This is the house of Royal Robertson in Baldwin, LA. He called himself "The Prophet" but the trash collector I stopped and asked for directions called him "that weird guy with all the signs". You can just make out Mr. Robertson in the doorway inviting me back anytime. If he knew portions of his environment were now in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Museum of American Art...I don't think it would register, actually. He lived until 1997, I took these photos long before that. He married Adell Brent in 1955, but it didn't work out.

Two original photographs 35mm c. 1990 collection Jim Linderman