Pam’s Pictorama Photo Post: This is a sweet and interesting photo. The gentleman on the right appears to be in a WWI uniform – are they brothers? A fair guess that they are. The idea that that they posed this photo with their cat is of course extremely compelling for me. Nothing is written on this card and it was never sent. It is oddly filthy, with dirty fingerprints both front and back. Now that I have photographed it I will see about cleaning it, but am afraid I might damage it. Not like I know much about that sort of thing. These gentlemen pose in front of a faded background scene, their sharp shadows belying any illusion of realism.
Of course if I were to take a photo before leaving for war, of those dearest to me it would include my kits as well as my humans. This fellow was of course transported to said photo studio, M. Mimi’s to be precise, for this purpose. (I have my doubts about the quality of M. Mimi’s work, I must admit.) Those of us who live with cats are aware that, while the level of distress varies from feline to feline, in general they do not approve of involuntary locomotion and their distress runs from what I call end-of-the-world meows to mere dark muttering of malcontent.
I understand that some people have cats that travel contentedly (don’t look so smug!), but I have never been acquainted with one of those well adjusted fellows, not in my many cat relationships. Cookie and Blackie do not transport especially happily, but they are far from the worst felines I have known in this regard. When they were oh-so-tiny we transported them together in one carrier. This seems utterly impossible to imagine now. Anyway, I will assume that the cat’s appearance in this photo was a non-negotiable issue. Perhaps a copy of the picture went with the soldier and this one stayed here, as did the cat.
While I have often noted the tendency for people to grab their cat when they are being photographed, the idea of a posed portrait with one is much more unusual. In this case they had to also convince puss to sit still for the moment – and he or she did as it isn’t blurred at all. It’s odd, but the cat seems to be taking it seriously. In fact, all three are pretty serious. I can’t tell for sure, but I believe he has a cigarette in his left hand, uniform of the day pulling in some places, prescribed bagginess in others.
The man in the overcoat is a bit unusual as well, at least by today’s standards. He has kept this very long coat, hat and his gloves on for the photo. Under it he sports a full suit and tie, scarf. He smokes a cigarette. Unlike the cat he seems to be in a bit of a rush and they are awkward in their pose, not quite touching. The story is forgotten as far as we know, but the photo will be cared for to the best of our abilities at its current resting place here at Pictorama.
Pam’s Pictorama Photo Post: I don’t believe that I have ever before been compelled to copy out the eBay listing for an item wholesale, but this one was quite interesting and contains information that is nowhere to be found on this card:
Original RPPC photo of a trooper of I Troop, 4th Cavalry holding two cats at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, circa 1913-1915.
Photo from Corporal Edward W. Lewis, S/N 731612. Lewis was born in 1888 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania and worked as a miner there before WWI. From 1913-1915 he was in I Troop, 4th Cavalry in Hawaii. Later he was in the 6th Infantry Regiment, 5th Infantry Division in France from 1918-1919. After WWI he settled in Massillon, Ohio.
From the archives of the World War History & Art Museum (WWHAM) in Alliance, Ohio. WWHAM designs and delivers WWI and WWII exhibits to other rmuseums. Our traveling exhibits include Brushes With War, a world class collection of 325 original paintings and drawings by soldiers of WWI, and Iron Fist, an HO scale model of the German 2nd Panzer Division in 1944 with 4,000 vehicles and 15,000 men.
So it seems to be part of a de-accessioning for the above museum and of course, I love it because it fits so nicely into a Men and Cats theme which runs loosely through my blog! (These include but are not limited to: A Man and His Cat, Men and Cats, and Men in Hats with Cats.)
Somehow one doesn’t really think about Hawaii in WWI (as opposed to the big role it got in WWII), but of course the war was there too. I wonder what this long-ago Pennsylvania boy thought of Hawaii? Surely the army in Hawaii must have offered some advantages over the mines of Pennsylvania, although home is home and he was very far away. France followed Hawaii for him. I am glad we know he made it through and settled in Ohio – maybe keeping cats there and thinking of his army kits. These are two great scrappy kitties, barely out of kittenhood, but ready to take on the world. A striper and a tuxedo – tops in my book! Give them the enemy, Germans or mice, and let them at ’em!
Pam’s Pictorama Photo Post: Our friends over at Google translate this as Lucky Airplane and certainly they are taking no chances! Bedecked with every lucky symbol, as well as a few I didn’t know, such as the ladybug (I know it is bad luck to kill them) this is a plane promises quite a ride. I admit I’m not sure what the thing that looks like a beehive or the pansy-thing are – I’m open to suggestions – and everything is tied with a bow which is a nice touch. The black cat is obviously lucky (see our recent post Lucky Black Cat if you have any questions), although the fact that he’s peddling this plane into flying seems a tad ambitious and he does appear to be concentrating.
I had to cast around a bit on the subject of those industrious looking white rats as lucky. Logically though, rats are seen to have a sixth sense about danger and death, so I guess if the rats are satisfied all is good and these are all but dancing on the wings.
This card belongs to the same family as the one featured in Speaking of Cats which I show here below. These seem to be WWI genre cards – different companies, Rex 696 and the one below by Idea.
I have included the back of the card, and perhaps a French reader will be kind enough to send us the gist of it, as it is too densely written for me to begin to translate. Despite the writing, it does not appear to be postally used or properly addressed which also does confuse me. However, for now I just say, Up, up and away!