I love antique photos. You can learn so much about how things have changed, and again how little has. We inherited 3 trunks of photos from the late 1800's to the 1940s and 50's. Most came from an enigmatic, extremely hard working but photo-loving woman named Lena, an ancestor of my husband, born in 1879. She had more contacts, more postcards (several hundreds) and more photos of herself taken than anyone who is not a well know celebrity. She seems to have collected antique photos from all around her. She unfortunately didn't identify many, only writing "Lena" on many given to her. I think she assumed she would remember, and of course after that it wouldn't matter!

We are still sorting through all the stuff trying to piece together Lena's fascinating and sometimes tragic life. Meanwhile, here are a variety of photos, including some of the highest (and lowest!) fashion.

I have also included the very old family photos I have from my mom's side of the family.

I hope you enjoy, and thank you for visiting my blog.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What kind of work did Lena do? Can you help?

After Charles died, Lena first worked at  The Geysers, a hotel-resort  in Sonoma County which advertised "the baths and mineral water water are a positive cure for stomach troubles and rheumatism.  And they had ELECTRICITY!  Here is a page from their booklet:

I believe Lena may have worked as a cook in The Geysers; at least when she left there in 1906 she applied as a cook for another place nearby and was told (via postcard from a friend) that the positing had already been taken.
So Lena took another job--I can't figure what it was. I am pretty sure it was at the Napa State Hospital for the Insane because many later postcard were addressed to her there, or referred to her work there.

Napa was known in the early 1900's for its winemaking industry, farming, the huge Napa State hospital, and brothels:"In the late 1800's and early 1900's Napa was known for having the largest red-light district for a California city of its size. In 1905, Napa had over twenty brothels[5 primarily concentrated on and around Clinton Street. "

Here is a picture of that HUGE old hospital from around that time, from a postcard.

So here are some photos of Lena at work, with her coworkers, many of whom became her friends for life. I think that some of the photos, none of which have dates, may be from the Geysers and some from Napa)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting the photos of the Napa hospital! My husband's great-great grandmother was a housekeeper at the Napa hospital for the insane probably around the same time! Small world, huh! -- Kathleen