Woman vacations on Santa Catalina Island

I recently revealed to you my passion for old postcards. I started out collecting holiday and flower cards, but sometimes I come across other treasures that need to come home with me. My favorite local frame shop, owned by Kathleen Glenn, just moved into a new space. At the moving sale, while everyone else was grabbing matboard and frames, I found a box jammed full of old greeting cards and postcards that Kathleen inherited from a friend. I should have bought the whole shebang, but instead I spent a marvelous hour going through the cards one by one and picking out the most extra special.

This woman, for example!

Woman on Santa Catalina Island

Isn’t she wonderful? If you can’t tell from the scan, her foot is propped on a real (or maybe fake) log, but everything else behind her is a backdrop, painted to look like she’s at the edge of the sea, with huge rocks behind her. I’m totally enthralled by her steadfast gaze into the camera, her jaunty little hat, and the white bowtie around her neck.

I don’t know much about that time period –  I wonder what kind of bathing suits women wore then. From the back of the card we can tell that she was likely vacationing on Santa Catalina Island.

Unfortunately there’s no handwritten message on the back to give a clue about who she was or when she visited Santa Catalina, but at least we know that the photo was taken by noted 1900s photographer Charles Ironmonger, of Avalon California.

Woman on Santa Catalina Island back of postcard

Do you think she was vacationing alone? Maybe she just wanted a portrait of herself as a keepsake and never intended to use it as a postcard.

In the pre-inkjet darkroom days I used to print some of my photos on black and white photo post cards that Kodak sold. The back of the paper was pre-stamped. I’ll dig some of them up and post them here next time.

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