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 }

The Line Up

05 January 2018

Ducks and Children.
We like to get them into nice neat rows.
Though ducks are generally more cooperative,
young band musicians sometimes can be persuaded
to form into a uniform straight line.

Right to left, shortest to tallest,
it looks even better
when the instrument sections
can stand together.

These eight boys, 5 alto horn players and 3 clarinetists including a small E-flat clarinet, offered the photographer with a perfect opportunity to arrange them according to height. They are unknown but an annotation on the back of their postcard photo reads "Warren, O(hio) Italian Band". A few do have Italianate features and I'd bet a couple are brothers but I've been unable to find any reference to an Italian band in this area of Ohio. The postcard style suggests circa 1910-18 but that is just a guess.

* * *

Of course photographers have been lining up families
since cameras were first invented.
This charming boudoir-sized cabinet card photo
of five children, two girls and three boys,
each with their hands placed onto
the shoulders of the next tallest
attracted my attention
as an extra to add onto
a purchase of another musical photo.

Their names are unknown,
but based on their button top shoes
I would date them at around 1900.
The photographer was

Wright Studio
2169 Washington Street,
Roxbury, Mass.

* * *

This last lineup offers an impressive number of bright faces smiling for the camera. They are the 13 musical children of Pastor William Fetler and his wife Barbara Fetler, who performed as the Rainbow Family Orchestra of Riga.

They first appeared in my post from July 2013 entitled The Rainbow Orchestra which tells the remarkable story of how the family band of Rev. and Mrs. Vaseely Andreyevich Fetler-Malof of Riga, Latvia came to America in 1939 just months before Hitler's invasion of Poland.

The first postcard has a date stamped on the back of 21 April 1939 and must have been made while they were still in Europe. This second line up, also by height but not necessarily by age I think, was made in America a few months later to judge by their 1940s American fashions and hairstyles. The names of the 13 Fetler children in descending order of age are Timothy, Lydia, Mary, Daniel, Paul, Philip, John, Elisabeth, Andrew, David, Peter, James, and Joseph. Rev. William Fetler's official US immigration form did not provide enough lines for that size family and their list necessitated a extra piece of paper.

This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday
where everyone is lining up for a Sepia New Year.


Postcardy said...

You have some impressive lineups. I especially like the one with children's hands on the shoulders of the child in front of them.

Susan Kelly said...

Excellent line ups!

Barbara Rogers said...

What a fun family...the second card shows just how much the little ones grew, while the bigger ones stayed about the same! And their clothes! Never seen that kind of trousers tucked into socks, or maybe just gathered at sock level. They do look comfortable.

tony said...

The Shoulder Kids look like they are just about to start doing the Hokey-Cokey !

Mollys Canopy said...

Hats off to the pastor's wife Barbara Fetler! That's quite a family of children -- and musically inclined besides. Wonderful selection of lineups. Love the children's closing, shoes and haircuts in the first photo. A shame that no one noted their names.

La Nightingail said...

Rev. Fetler certainly took the Almighty's words "Go forth and multiply" to heart. Poor Mrs. Fetler!

Little Nell said...

Great line-ups. The Fetlers get thee prize for the smiliest bunch; I wonder why!


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