Added more ghosts to my ever-expanding collection…

Just about time I shared my new haul of vintage photographs with the world, isn’t it? I bought these in Bucharest, at a Christmas/ winter holidays fair, after some negotiations with the vendor. To be fair, though, he didn’t seem to mind my haggling. Actually, he looked quite happy to finally find someone who was interested to buy his stuff. And his stuff was good – loads of fin-de-siècle photos and postcards, I don’t think I’ve seen so many in one place for quite some time.

Apologies in advance if some of these scans are a bit weirdly cropped. That scanner that I had to use, and the soft that came with it – it has its own mind, I’m sure of it.


So, apparently, the fact that the girl is standing in this photo, that her full body is shown, and that she is posing against a studio background, leaning against furniture (chairs, tables) and possibly with books (there are two books behind her) are all possible indicators that this photo was taken in the 1860s or thereabouts. This is corroborated by the central, swirly design on the back, advertising the name (in this case, also the address) of the studio where the picture was taken. The design of her clothes, however, makes me think this was taken later, possibly in the 1880s.


This… I simply love this lady. Just look at her: elegant, confident, she’s like the ultimate feminist femme fatale. Medallion portraits like this, depicting just the bust of the sitter, were more common in the early 1900s. I’m not really sure though why this photo was stamped, both front and back, and double-perforated. It might have been used as a nominal I.D. of some sort.


This one’s pretty self-explanatory (if you can read Romanian, that is). The handwritten inscription on the front says: “Reghinul Sasesc. Year 1917. When I was 12 years old.” On the back, there’s a signature, presumably that of the sitter; I can only read the first name, which I believe is “Eugen”, a pretty common Romanian forename.


I believe there’s a special place in my heart for old family photos. They’re so intriguing, in so many ways. I wish I had more “know-how” to decipher them. I believe this particular one might be from the late 1800s-early 1900s.


Same with this one. Dress makes me think late 1800s-early 1900s, although the pose, background and style are specific to the 1860s. This young woman’s face reminds me of someone I used to know in my childhood, which is probably one of the reasons why I felt so compelled to buy the photo too.

And this concludes the batch I purchased on my latest venture. But I also rediscovered some old photos in the family archive at about the same time I bought these. Most of them, I have no idea who they depict, but I’d still like to share them here, because they’re all beautiful and they deserve to haunt more brains than just mine. 🙂


Photo-postcard dated 1917. I believe the message on the back is in German, which I sadly cannot read. If someone could translate it for me I’d be much obliged.


This probably dates from the 1910s or 1920s. The text on the back is mostly illegible, but I think it’s in Ukrainian.


I love this photo-postcard (I wonder whether the girl is holding any book in particular; might it be a religious text?). The text on the back is in Ukrainian? Polish? Marked Cernauti (today Chernivitsi), 1920.

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Marked Cernauti/ Chernivitsi, 1939.


This is a photo of one of my paternal great-grandmother. Definitely from Cernauti/ Chernivitsi. I’m not sure when this was taken. She died at about 40, I believe.


Again my paternal great-grandmother. Also in Cernauti/ Chernivitsi. Again not sure of the date.


Photo-postcard of, presumably, a mother and her son. I can’t read the handwriting on the back, I’m afraid, so I can’t even tell what language it’s in. Cernauti/ Chernivitsi, 23rd August 1921.


Message on the back in German(?). Dated 30th April 1916.


I don’t recognise anyone in this group photo. The text on the back is in Romanian, and it reads: “Memory from 14th March 1937. Party at the Hospital for the Soothed. Cernauti”. It’s very eerie, this photo. The name of the hospital makes me think it might have been an institution for those with terminal diseases or in very bad health condition. I may be wrong, of course, but still. The idea of a party in a hospital makes me uneasy.


A postcard I found along with the photos. The writing is mostly illegible, so apart from its being addressed to someone in Cernauti, I can’t really tell much.


I can’t read the handwriting, I’m afraid… Definitely not Romanian though. Dated 8th November 1923.


This wedding photo isn’t dated. There’s no inscription on the back.


The ladies in this picture don’t look very happy. The message on the back is in German. Not sure about the date…


Another photo-postcard I have nothing about. There’s a very faint stamp on the back that I can’t read.

And this is it, for now. If anyone reads German and/or Ukrainian and is able to translate some of that stuff for me, I’d be much obliged.






6 Replies to “Added more ghosts to my ever-expanding collection…”

  1. The German message at the back of the 1917 photo of the woman reads simply “Zur Erinnerung an deine Schwester” = as a memory / remembrance of your sister; the only other message I could make out was the one at the back of the four sad-eyed ladies, which goes something like “As a friendly memory / remembrance of _someone’s name_, year 1917. Jetzt sollst du pferflichtet auf mich fühlen 🙂

  2. It’s just “now you should feel obliged towards me”, and I’m not even sure it’s correct German – it’s been a long time. Have a good time with your proofreading (wink wink).

    1. Thank you, I’m glad you’re enjoying my eclectic blog! I haven’t updated it in a while I’m afraid (too hectic a schedule at the moment), but hopefully there should be enough stuff to browse through for the time being…

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