Three Italian-Croatian sailor boys
What it is:
Cabinet card measuring 4.25 x 6 inches (the edges have been trimmed, in addition to just being damaged).
What I know about it:
Photographer is Kastiana of Fiume, now known as Rijeka, Croatia (more on that below). Written in pen on the back is Al nostro caro e amato zio Ruggero in memoria nostra Fiume li 15 Agosto 1909. (I don’t speak Italian, but with the help of online translators this approximately translates to To our dear and beloved uncle Ruggero in our memory Fiume August 15, 1909. Actually, the translators translate “Fiume” into “river”, which is normally correct, but in this case it’s the name of a city.)
Good grief, another history lesson! I sometimes like to thank my blog’s subscribers by posting photos of their interests (dogs, cats, photo booths, etc.) or photos from where they live (if only generally), and one of my subscribers is a woman from Italy (her blog is a quirky combination of politics and knitting). So I had this cute photo with Italian writing on the back, and I thought, “Perfect!” Well, silly me for thinking it would be that easy. It turns out this isn’t Italy at all. Fiume is an old seaport in Croatia that has had a long history of changing hands under various occupations. While Italy occupied it for a time, that didn’t happen until later. But when this photo was taken, in the years leading up to WWI, there was such an influx of Italian immigrants that for a time there were more Italians than native Croats in Fiume. My guess is that these boys (brothers, I’m assuming?) were among the Italian immigrants in Croatia, and that the photo was being sent back to a relative in Italy. In any case, despite all the damage, I think the photo is adorable. Does anyone have any idea what that wooden contraption is to the right? I’m intrigued by what seems to be a sealing wax stamp in the lower left, and I’m sorry that it is half cut off since I don’t recall ever seeing one on a photo. I found a reference to a Croatian photographer of that period named Eduard Kastiana, but I don’t know if that’s the same Kastiana as this one. And incidentally, it was after WWII that Fiume’s name was changed to Rejika and it became a part of Yugoslavia.