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Author Topic:   Help me identify this trade card?
Polly

Posts: 1910
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 04-16-2008 02:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I know this is a long shot, and it's not even a silver question. But it is a question about jewelers and ephemera, so I thought someone (Bascall, maybe?) might have some thoughts. Moderators, if you feel this question has no place on a silver discussion board, please delete it and accept my apologies.

I have a mid-19th century gold bracelet set with an ivory plaque under glass. The ivory has a basket of flowers on it made of palette-worked hair. Behind the plaque, holding it in place, was a scrap of card that I imagine must have been cut from a trade card. I thought it might be the jeweler's own card, or perhaps a card from the artisan who made the hairwork. (The other side of the card has some penciled writing in French that relates to the hair design.)

Does anybody recognize this card? Or have any advice about how I should go about researching it? I presume the "Canal" must be Canal Street in NYC.

Here's the entire bracelet:

Many thanks,
Polly

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bascall

Posts: 1626
Registered: Nov 99

iconnumber posted 04-16-2008 03:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A little more studying is called for here, but at first thought with Canal St in mind New Orleans comes to mind.

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Polly

Posts: 1910
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iconnumber posted 04-16-2008 04:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oh, that's an interesting thought! I assumed it would be a French immigrant working in NYC, but if the French writing would make a lot of sense for New Orleans.

I think this bracelet is from the 1860s-70s, and the workmanship is extremely fine. Would that make sense for New Orleans during or soon after the Civil War?

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bascall

Posts: 1626
Registered: Nov 99

iconnumber posted 04-16-2008 09:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A little looking thus far has taken me no where, but there's more that can be done.
Access to just the right city directory might be the key.

There are many Canal Streets, so it's still an open field as far which city or town is involved.

You've no doubt studied all the sides and angles closely for marks. Posting the handwritten information is desirable for whatever good it might do too.

Hopefully, someone will recognize the trade card, the design and workmanship of the bracelet, or something important that'll be overlooked by both of us, and that'll be that.

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Polly

Posts: 1910
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 04-16-2008 10:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, I looked it over thoroughly and found no marks. There's a monogram--DQO, maybe?--and plenty of engraving, but nothing stamped. I'll look again when it comes home. A couple pieces of the basket of flowers had come unglued, so I took it to an art conservator--I was too nervous to try to fix it myself. I'm quite sure there aren't any marks, though; the conservator didn't find any either.

Here's the other side of the card. Sorry it's not clearer--it's just a scan, not a photo, which the conservator emailed me. She said, "That's funny, the handwriting looks Russian. Well, that makes sense. The francophone Russians modeled their handwriting on the French, so naturally it would look like this if this is French." I guess she's more familiar with Russian handwriting of the period than French.

I'll also post another couple pictures of the bracelet, in case they spark any thoughts. Perhaps someone will recognize the engraving style? Slim chance, I know.

Thanks for your curiosity, and research, Bascall! And thanks for your patience with a non-silver question, everyone.

One last photo to show the braids of table-worked hair going around the bracelet:

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Polly

Posts: 1910
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iconnumber posted 04-16-2008 10:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My guess is that the word "serpen..." is "serpent," and refers to the three fat braids of hair. Though I suppose it could refer to something else entirely, such as some other bracelet made in the form of a snake.

The card was stuck in with beeswax.

There are at least two different colors of hair in the basket of flowers.

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 04-17-2008 12:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Chicago was originally spelled Chicageau and had a French population. So did Detroit. The list keeps expanding. This looks like a mourning jewelry item, so might check at sites devoted to mourning jewelry.

One other thought. Do the measurements come out fairly evenly in English or metric? That is one of my favorite tests for origin.

Thanks for sharing this great piece with us.

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bascall

Posts: 1626
Registered: Nov 99

iconnumber posted 04-19-2008 07:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The search has been slow going, but here's an interesting, though unlikely, candidate from the 1880 U S Federal Census in Philadelphia, PA. The gentleman's name is Allerino Gannio; he is a jeweler; and he has an eleven year old apprentice named Ferdinand Germond who is from Belgium with Italian parents.

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bascall

Posts: 1626
Registered: Nov 99

iconnumber posted 04-19-2008 10:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This one is beyond me. No really good leads have been uncovered so far. It will probably be an accident if anything does come to light by me. But the bracelet is exquisite, and it was a pleasure making the effort to find a maker or the person on the trade card.

Another "interesting" and an unrelated aside that was found while doing this search comes from the Maryland Gazette. On September 21, 1748 jeweller Joseph Humes of Annapolis was executed today for breaking and entering the store of Lyde Goodwin a merchant of Annapolis.

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Polly

Posts: 1910
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 04-19-2008 12:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bascall, many thanks for your efforts! I'm sorry to have put you to so much trouble; I hope the pleasure of research was its own reward.

I think it's quite possible that the hairwork and the bracelet were made by different people, perhaps working at different establishments. The frame containing the hair basket is made of a copper ring surmounted by a gold oval that's a different color from the bracelet--I haven't tested it, but I would guess the frame is 10K and the bracelet 14K or 18K. Could A. Ga... be a Designing Artist in Hair rather than a jeweler?

An 1877 catalogue of hair jewelry from a NYC jeweler, A. Bernhard & Co of 169 Broadway (reprinted in "The Collector's Encyclopedia of Hairwork Jewelry," by Jeanenne Bell), admonishes customers, "Braids sent to us for mounting, do not, as a general rule, fit our mountings, and considerable time and care are used in re-shaping, etc; for this we charge the actual expense incurred. Our facilities for making braids being very complete, we would recommend that the difficult patterns be sent to us to braid." So the braiding was often done separately from the mounting. I know it was a hobby for some ladies, but the work in this bracelet this is so fine that I think it must be professional.

Bell's book reprints both the 1870 and the 1877 catalogues from that jeweler. Neither one offers my bracelet, though they do offer brooches with similar-looking baskets of flowers. But the basket of flowers was a very popular motif at the time; my bracelet's basket of flowers looks very much like baskets of flowers I've seen on spoon handles, for example.

When the bracelet comes home from the conservator, I'll measure it to see if it was made in inches or centimeters and take a better photo of the flower basket. This picture looks blurry because the glass is dirty.

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bascall

Posts: 1626
Registered: Nov 99

iconnumber posted 04-19-2008 03:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You're very welcome. For sure any research of this type is its own reward.

It may just be me, but the letter after Designing Artist looks almost like a"j?"

Then again maybe it says designing artist in residence or house or something like that.

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Paul Lemieux

Posts: 1758
Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 04-20-2008 12:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What a beautiful bracelet.

Just a thought, has anybody looked in the Jewelers' Trade Cards book (by Greene, I think) to see if there is a possible identification in there? My copy is unavailable right now.

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jersey

Posts: 1203
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 04-20-2008 12:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jersey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
HI!
Paul, I have that trade card book & will look after I get back later.

Jersey

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jersey

Posts: 1203
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 04-25-2008 07:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jersey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Haven't forgotten you. So far I have found Canal st. in Grand Rapids Michigan, Phoenix Arizona, New Orleans & New York. None have the #13 as their address, nor do the graphics resemble yours. Still looking though!
Keep the Faith!

Jersey

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Polly

Posts: 1910
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 04-25-2008 09:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you, Jersey!

Of course, it's always possible that this card has nothing to do with the jeweler or hair artist--it could be some random card that happened to be lying around, the way people jot down phone messages on take-out menus.

Still, wouldn't it be amazing if it turned out identify the jeweler?

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jersey

Posts: 1203
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 04-25-2008 11:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jersey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And if wishes were horses!

I'm workin' on it! If you don't get a response, please bump it up to remind me.

Have a great weekend. My best to Henry, I love his water bowl. Have to find something like that for Deacon, although his preference is taking showers with my son.

Jersey

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Ulysses Dietz
Moderator

Posts: 1265
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 04-27-2008 09:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can't add to this except to pipe in that it is a very fine and unusual piece of gold-mounted hair jewelry. Exceptional, and I've looked at a lot. The fact that there is more than one color of hair in fact suggests NOT mourning but commemorative--a gift from children to their mother. Easily half of the hair jewelry made was done with the hair of the living as a love token.

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Polly

Posts: 1910
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 04-27-2008 11:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, Ulysses. I was leaning toward that opinion myself, that it was children's hair worn by their mother. I imagine the table-worked braids around the wrist must be from a daughter or daughters, since the hair is so long. I tried to make some table-worked hair braids myself once, as a watch chain for my husband (I quickly ran out of patience and never finished the project), so I can tell you from personal experience that it takes a long hank of hair to make a braid that long. Maybe one or three daughters around the wrist, joined by their brother(s) in the flower basket.

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jersey

Posts: 1203
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 04-28-2008 12:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jersey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Polly!

Another possibility & it is just a wild thought, but if I read correctly the word cheveure in French is hair, & chien is Dog! Not too far fetched as I saved some of my dog to be put in a frame with his picture.

BTW there are also books & catalogues on the subject "Catalogue of artistic hair work" 1866, & "Love entwined a history of Hairwork in America." Both are available via booksellers.

Jersey

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Polly

Posts: 1910
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 04-29-2008 02:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jersey, where do you see "chien"? I see "cheveux" and "chev..."--probably the first half of the same word again. I'm pretty positive this is not dog hair. Not that there couldn't be jewelry made of dog hair, of course, but it wouldn't be long enough for this particular bracelet, and it's not the right texture.

Thanks for the book tips.

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jersey

Posts: 1203
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 04-29-2008 05:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jersey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Polly,

After the number 18, I thought I made out chien.

My other thought today is could it be European piece. There was a lot of that done there& the fact that there is French writing. There are canal streets there too.....

Jersey

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bascall

Posts: 1626
Registered: Nov 99

iconnumber posted 04-29-2008 07:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's an interesting write up on Hair Jewelry if you haven't already happened to notice it:

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Polly

Posts: 1910
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 07-17-2008 04:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I finally got my bracelet back from the restorer who was repairing the hair plaque--some pearls were loose, as was a strip of hair. Here it is, with the crystal all nice and clean and transparent.

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Polly

Posts: 1910
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 07-17-2008 04:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oh, and I measured it, but the measurements don't come out particularly even in inches or centimeters, so that didn't tell me much.

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jersey

Posts: 1203
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 07-17-2008 04:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jersey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Polly!

Aside from the fact that I have misplaced my book, still looking, the bracelet came out lovely.

I have a question. Does the centerpiece come off? The reason I ask is that there appears to be a loop to hang a chain from at the top of the oval which may indicate it may have been a pendant first, then made into a bracelet. Or it was made as a multi-function piece.

Jersey

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Polly

Posts: 1910
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 07-17-2008 05:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi, Jersey!

The ring you're seeing is for a safety chain--there's another one at the other side of the clasp. The bangle is in two pieces, hinged together. The plaque pulls out of the bangle, but it doesn't have brooch fittings or a pendant bail; the ring you mentioned is attached to the bangle, not the decorated plaque. Does that make sense?

Polly

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tmockait

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iconnumber posted 07-17-2008 06:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tmockait     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Chicago also has a Canal Street.

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Polly

Posts: 1910
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iconnumber posted 07-17-2008 06:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One last picture, a close-up of the centerpiece:


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Polly

Posts: 1910
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iconnumber posted 07-17-2008 06:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So many Canal Streets!

Would any of you experts be willing to guess the decade from the style? I'd love to get more specific than my own guess, third quarter of the 19th century.

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jersey

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iconnumber posted 07-17-2008 07:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jersey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, that makes sense for a safety chain. Thanks Polly, I guess it was the angle. OTOH That would have been neat if it were detachable.

Jersey

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dragonflywink

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Registered: Dec 2002

iconnumber posted 07-19-2008 12:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dragonflywink     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That is a lovely piece, Polly! A friend collects hair jewelry and has dozens of pieces, but none that I like as well as yours.

~Cheryl

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Polly

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iconnumber posted 07-20-2008 06:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you, Cheryl!

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blakstone

Posts: 493
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 07-21-2008 05:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for blakstone     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Alexandre Galeppi (ca. 1820-1874)was an engraver, sculptor, gilder and art dealer working in New Orleans 1849-61 and again briefly after the Civil War. He was born in Switzerland and died in France, although he still had property in New Orleans at the time of his death. Although New Orleans directories do not have him listed on Canal Street (rather, on Toulouse and later Chartres Streets), he could have had a later shop on Canal - particularly after the Civil War where no location for him is listed. Certainly the tiny snippets of information on the trade card - "medals" and "designing artist" are exactly in keeping with his talents as an engraver of printing plates and dies. I'll try to do some more digging, but he sounds like a strong candidate.

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bascall

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iconnumber posted 07-21-2008 07:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
blakstone, outstanding! Alexandre Galeppi looks highly likely. It looks like there is some really nice engraving on this piece. If you haven't already had a look at it, "Waldo's Visitors Guide" maybe helpful. It is a really long shot though. The guide is not accessible to me. Then again you're probably already very familiar with it. What a good find though.

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Polly

Posts: 1910
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iconnumber posted 07-22-2008 01:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What an exciting possibility! Thank you, Blakstone! That would make sense of both the English writing on the printed card and the penciled French on the back.

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bascall

Posts: 1626
Registered: Nov 99

iconnumber posted 03-23-2009 08:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This information was found in an 1857 New Orleans opera playbill "Guide Consumer":

A. GALEPPI.

161 rue de Chartres, encoignure Toulouse.

A L'honneur de prévenir le public qu'il a en main un grand assortiment, consistant en plus de 60,000 rouleaux de papiers peints trés bien assortis de qualité et de prix. ----Ciels de lits et devants de cheminée.

Estampes, gravures et lithographies, cadres carés et ovales, dorés et non dorés.

Un grand assortiment de glaces françaises et d' Allemagne, avec cadres riches ou simples de toutes grandeur.

Chapelets, médailles, crucifix, papiers à dessins. Seul dépôt de verres blancs français pour pastel, idem, dépoli, verres moussetine et de couleur, stores pour fenétres, & c;

Toutes ces marchandises sont fraîches et une grande partie vient d'étre reçue par les navires Edwin et Mulhouse.

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Polly

Posts: 1910
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 03-24-2009 09:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow, Bascall, that is excellent info! I can't believe you found that!

I wonder what M. Galeppi's connection to my bracelet was. Did the hairwork maker happen to have his card lying around, or was he in fact a hairwork maker as well as an engraver? Engraving and hairwork sound like two different lines of work, but both would require related skills and characteristics, such as draftsmanship, eyesight, and attention to detail.

My French isn't what it once was, which isn't saying much. Would "verres blancs francais pour pastel" be white glass for painting on? Would it be vials of white paint for mixing pastel colors?

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bascall

Posts: 1626
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iconnumber posted 03-24-2009 10:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My guess is that the entire phrase "Seul dépôt de verres blancs français pour pastel" has something to do with the only place to get French white glass for paint. Galeppi was a painter too. Maybe Capitaine Haddock will comment on this phrase even from the New Members forum.

It was interesting for me to learn how much French was still in use in mid nineteenth century New Orleans.

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Kayvee

Posts: 204
Registered: Oct 2004

iconnumber posted 03-25-2009 04:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kayvee     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What a wonderful advertisement for fancy imported goods. The pairings of some of the merchandise seem a little strange today - e.g. rosaries and drawing paper. The glass in question is white glass for painting on. For anyone interested here is my translation of the full text:

A. GALEPPI.

161 Chartres Street, corner Toulouse.

Has the honour to inform the public that he has on hand a large assortment of goods consisting of more than 60,000 rolls of wallpaper in a very good range of quality and prices.----Tester beds and fireplace surrounds.

Prints, engravings, lithographs, square and oval frames, gilt and non-gilt.

A large assortment of French and German mirrors in all sizes with ornate or plain frames.

Rosaries, medals, crucifix, drawing paper. The only depository of French white and frosted glass for pastels, muslin-glass and coloured glass, window shades, etc.

All this merchandise is fresh and a large part has just come in on the ships Edwin and Mulhouse.

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Polly

Posts: 1910
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iconnumber posted 03-25-2009 09:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Merci, Kayvee!

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bascall

Posts: 1626
Registered: Nov 99

iconnumber posted 03-26-2009 12:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kayvee, thank you for the full translation of the Galeppi advertisement. It is an interesting variety of goods that were being made available. Galeppi made a number of trips back and forth to France during his time here. I think he was concerned with a legacy that was associated with his wife's family (but I could be confusing him with someone else) and other business on the continent.

Little puzzles like this are haunting and keep calling me back. This time around it was to look for A Galeppi at 13, 113, 143 or 143 Canal Street and look where it led.

Polly, your notion about the Designing Artist in Hair Jewelry looks to be correct after all. I was wrong to dismiss the idea so easily earlier in this thread. There is a mention of an "artist in hair and hair jewelry" in the 1870-71 Gazetteer and Business Directory of Albany & Schenectady Co, N Y. So a designing artist in hair and hair jewelry seems entirely reasonable.

[This message has been edited by bascall (edited 03-26-2009).]

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Polly

Posts: 1910
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iconnumber posted 06-19-2009 03:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oh, I missed page two myself back in March. A belated thank you for the additional thoughts!

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