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Christmas Mystery Photo

December 21, 2010 |  3:50 am

  Christmas Interior Cincinnati
Christmas Interior Cincinnati

  Chrismas Interior Cincinnati  

I picked up these two photos in a Pasadena thrift store years ago, mostly out of curiosity at the relatively sparse Christmas decorations.  About all that’s clearly visible in the top photo are the wreaths in the windows, although the tree in the second photo gives it away. If you look closely, you’ll notice a few lilies on the furniture.

For years, I assumed these photos were local until I took them out of the frames to scan them. In fact, these pictures are stamped “Moser & Son Cin’ti, O.” on the back, but are otherwise unidentified. The Cincinnati Public Library has some city directories online but they are huge pdf files and the time required to download and examine them in hopes of locating the photo studio is prohibitive.  Given the push-button electric light switches, the Persian carpets, the tiger skin rug and the knobby, uncomfortable-looking (but undoubtedly expensive) furniture, I’d make a ballpark guess that this photo dates from 1900 to 1910.

  Christmas Interior Cincinnati  

And how about this tree? It’s difficult to imagine a spindly specimen like this one strapped to the roof of the family SUV to be carted home and draped with lights and ornaments until the branches sag. I suspect most of us wouldn’t given it a second look at the Christmas tree lot. An interesting contrast to the notions we hold of an elaborate Victorian Christmas.


Cincinnati city directories online