This is a blog about music, photography, history, and culture.
These are photographs from my collection that tell a story about lost time and forgotten music.

Mike Brubaker
{ Click on the image to expand the photo }

Midday in the Pleasure Gardens

26 February 2011

Kaiser Wilhelm's Band sends Greetings from Berlin as they play at Mittags im Lustgrarten.  Though I suspect that in January 1900 1906, they preferred the barracks. Besides their distinctive Pickelhauben, (see my earlier post on the Baden Life Grenadiers ) they carry short swords like most European bandsmen at this time. (see my post on Adolf Adel )  No doubt to defend the Kaiser against an assault from those impertinent anarchist tourists.    Surely there were Eb-clarinets for that. Note also the bassoons in the center. Is this a march or a waltz?

The card was sent to Aunt Mary Merkle in Allentown, Pennsylvania on January 10, 1900 1906 from her niece (maybe nephew?) who felt it unnecessary to sign a name since Aunt Mary certainly would know which relation was traveling through Europe. This is a real test of reading handwriting, but I think I have most of it.

At__ + I do wish you could be here. saw Emperor William's Palace today also saw the same scene which card represents, it is directly opposite the Castle.
Love to all, Please do write, Ham____ Saw the Emperor looking out of one of the windows in the Castle-yard(?)

Mary Merkle is found in the 1900 Census for Allentown, age 43, single but the head of a household that includes four younger adult siblings Hannah, Henry, John, and Ella, all single. So the writer is from another branch of the family. Mary lists her occupation as Grocer. But her birthplace was Germany having immigrated to the US in 1860. Perhaps this is a family visit back to the fatherland? A wedding trip? A school trip?

I found this image on Wikipedia for the Lustgarten  from 1900. It shows the Old Museum, but you can better see the fountains and gardens behind the band. It must have been a beautiful place for a promenade. No doubt a popular place. But not in January. Even the Kaiser stayed indoors.

My contribution to Sepia Saturday


Bob Scotney said...

Linking the band card with the wiki image made this post as it gave us a feep for the scale of the place.

Jinksy said...

What a great looking band - wonder if the sounded as good as they looked? LOL

Howard said...

Great post and a wonderful postcard. Those helmets look pretty lethal!

Karen S. said...

The fountians are dreamy, especially the first one with the band...nice post, thanks!

Postcardy said...

I think the postmark looks like 1906. There would not have been divided backs on postcards in 1900.

Mike Brubaker said...

Postcardy: You are right, it is a card from 1906. I focused so much on the front, that I overlooked the postmark. And the divided back too. But it was still cold in January six years later.

Christine H. said...

I really enjoyed this post. Those helmets crack me up. I have a Kaiser-Wilhelm-related post for tomorrow. Total coincidence.

Tattered and Lost said...

Very interesting. And I love the handwriting. I know a woman who is in her late 80s who writes just like this. Perfect penmanship. Something sorely lacking today.

Alan Burnett said...

Great post. I do love the way that old postcards such as this capture a moment in history and remind us that ordinary people walked through such times.

Nancy said...

I am really impressed that you can discern so many of the instruments in the postcard! I think this was a great post to remind us how different times were in 1906.


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