Clarence and Ethel from Hanover, Pennsylvania

What it is:

Unused real photo post card measuring approx. 3.25 x 5.25 inches.

What I know about it:

Photographer is Poist (Feeser’s Studio) of Hanover, Pennsylvania.  Written on the front in pen is Mrs + Mr Clarence Kemper / Ethel Brittain.  The paper manufacturer’s markings (AZO with four triangles pointing up) indicate it is dated between 1904-1918.


Sometimes I look at pictures like this and think, “Would it have killed you to write your notes on the back!?”  But oh well, it’s still a lovely picture, and it’s nice to have the extra identifying information.  I assume Ethel Brittain is the woman’s maiden name.  The placement of her elbow on his thigh strikes me as a bit unusual and intimate, but I like it.  I’m also intrigued by the backdrop.  I’d always assumed they were being depicted indoors by an attractive window, but the more I looked at it, the more I realized the backdrop to the left shows a dark landscape.  Is that supposed to be a tapestry by the window?  Or are they supposed to be outside in the evening with warm interior light pouring out of the window, rather than sunlight pouring in?  Or maybe it’s just two overlapping backdrops?  I’ve looked at this photo numerous times but never noticed that until writing up this post.

8 comments on “Clarence and Ethel from Hanover, Pennsylvania”

  1. I think her elbow on his thigh has given him a bit of a chubby. Perhaps that is as close as they have been for awhile.

    • Hah! Quite possibly. I was thinking they are so young they couldn’t have been married all that long. But I was just thinking that they may not even be married at all in this photo, and that we have been misled by the handwriting which may have been added years later.

  2. It’s also odd that the window frame tilts to the right. And I love the Gothic chair. The ornament on top of the chairback resembles a bat. As for the setting, the rug on the floor may indicate that they’re indoors, in which case the landscape could simply be painted on the “wall.”

    • Agreed. It’s the sort of setting that looks romantic and elegant at first glance, but that starts to unravel under scrutiny. You’re right about the chair ornament looking like a bat, I hadn’t even noticed that. How funny. 🙂

  3. I have a photo of my great-great grandfather taken by POIST at Feeser’s Studio in what looks to be the same chair and in the same studio as I see a portion of the window at back right. Very cool. My photo is also a postcard.

    • Hi John, thanks for your comment! It’s a grand chair, so I can see why the photographer would use it repeatedly. Not only is it great that you have that vintage photo, but also that you have a personal connection to it. And I enjoy hearing about it because it helps give context to mine, since the photos in my collection are so random.

  4. “WOULD IT HAVE KILLED YOU….”…..I think this thought at least once a day!! Drives me crazy. I wish I could somehow get a paying job to go around to all the old people homes and do this!! Ugh!!! Do you think there is some rich folk somewhere that would contribute to my cause??? 🙂 just sayin’…..A new fan in Pennsylvania

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