[Album with 133 Gelatin Silver Photographs Taken During an Automobile Trip in Southern California in the 1910s, Titled:] Along the El Camino Real
Ca. 1910s. Oblong Folio album (ca. 28,5x40 cm). 27 album leaves (3 blank). With 128 mounted and five loosely inserted original gelatin silver photographs, from ca. 9x14,5 cm (3 ½ x 5 ¾ in) to ca. 2,5x5 cm (1x2 in). No captions. First leaf with a mounted paper label, bearing the white ink manuscript title. Two photos with period ink dates “1912” and “July 7, 1914” inscribed on the images. Period black cloth “Badger Line” album fastened with metal bolts. A couple of images mildly faded, but overall a very good album of interesting photos.
Attractive collection of lively original photos, picturing early automobile trips in southern California. Most photos were taken during a journey along the historic El Camino Real route, which was originally built to connect Spanish Catholic missions between San Diego and Sonoma just north of San Francisco Bay. The album starts with a photo of the travellers and their car posing next to the historical sign “El Camino Real. To Santa Barbara 23 miles. To San Buenaventura [7?] miles.” The other photos show them on a truss bridge, next to a beach pavilion (with the signs “Cigars & Tobacco,” “Bathing Suits,” “Soft Drinks,” “Ice Cream”), at the entrance to the historical “Hotel El Paso de Robles” (built in 1891), at the sign “Go Slow, Summit, East Pass, Danger” (possibly, at the East Casitas Pass). Several photos show native Americans posing next to their house, with the travellers and their car. There is also a photo of a town street with a large banner advertising the Chautauqua event (“Chautauqua, July 19-26”).
The album depicts several cars. Two of them have visible license plates (“26368, CAL” and “29508 CAL”), another one has a clearly seen logo of the American Automobile Association (a diamond with the enclosed text “AAA, California State Automobile Association”). The other photos include portraits of the compiler, his family and friends, scenes of picnicking, boating, playing sports and games, swimming &c. Four photos at the rear show a group posing, most likely, at the grounds of the Panama-California Exhibition, which celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal (San Diego, 1 January 1915 – 1 January 1917). Overall an attractive collection of original photos, showing private cars and leisure trips in southern California in the early 20th century.
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