Past Paper: Stampix

As aficionados of all things vintage and ephemeral, we love coming across items we never knew existed, products we never knew were on the market.

When our beloved mother left us a few years ago, we found this item among the big box of old photos that she’d long promised to organize, but never quite got around to.

The images are not of Mom, though, or one of her relatives; it’s Dad’s younger sister, Aunt Marilyn. Each page of these tiny images is perforated, like a book of stamps, and like a book of stamps, they have adhesive on the back.

We’ve not researched it, but we wouldn’t be a bit surprised if a similar product is available today, from companies like Zazzle or Shutterfly, but we found this booklet of images particularly charming.

New York as it was

Frank Oscar Larson (1896-1964) was born in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, of Swedish immigrant parents and lived in Flushing, Queens most of his life. As an adult, Larson spent his days at a branch of the Empire Trust Company (now Bank of New York Mellon), working his way up through the ranks from auditor to vice-president, and spare time on weekends taking photographs of street life throughout New York City.

He was an accomplished photographer who eloquently documented 1950s Chinatown, the Bowery, Hell’s Kitchen, City Island, Times Square, Central Park, and much more.

This exhibition is compiled from thousands of negatives recently discovered stored away in his daughter-in-law’s house in Maine in 2009. Soren Larson, his grandson and a television news camera man and producer, has been scanning and printing the 55-year-old images found stored in over 100 envelopes filled with mostly medium format, 2-1/4 x 2-1/4″ negatives, and neatly noted by location and date in Larson’s own hand.

Frank Oscar Larson: 1950s New York Street Stories is on view at the
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Around the world in living color

We’ve had plans to share the Charles W. Cushman collection with you for some time, but we kept putting it off somehow.

Lately, though, we’ve seen photographs from the collection featured on a number of other websites, so we figured we’d better act now, before the entire Cladrite community has encountered Cushman’s work elsewhere.

Cushman was an amateur photographer and devoted traveler who resided in Indiana. Late in life, he bequeathed his collection of nearly 14,000 photographic slides to his alma mater, the University of Indiana. And bless their hearts, the good folks at IU have made a substantial portion of the collection—literally thousands of photographs—viewable online (prints can be purchased at reasonable rates, too, which we think is dandy—we’re proud owners of an 8×10 print of the Chinatown shot seen below).

The photographs in the collection were shot from 1938 to 1969, which would make them intriguing to us in any case, but the fact that they’re in color renders them true treasures.

We’re sharing with you some of our favorites from among Cushman’s color images of New York City in the 1940s, but don’t be satisfied by this small offering. Cushman traveled the world, and there are many more of Cushman’s images to be savored at the IU website and on Flickr.