Sepia Saturday 268: Street Parades, Revolutions, Russia, Banners

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Another tough one for me! I have nothing that really fits for this at all – no Russian ancestry (none known anyway), no photos of demonstrations.  However, it’s easy to imagine these two gents with their instruments marching in some sort of parade, so I’m going to call that close enough for this Sepia Saturday.  It’s well known that Alfred Herbert Powis (on the left, affectionately referred to as “Herb”) played the trumpet as part of a number of different bands.  Seated next to him, holding some sort of french horn (a piccolo french horn perhaps?), is Bert Brown.  I haven’t quite been able to pin down who “Bert” is, but it’s possible he’s Albert Brown who lived in and around Clearfield County, PA.  Herb was born in 1892 and the two look to be about the same age, so I’d imagine Bert was about 28 or 30 when this photo was taken.

The stamp box on the back indicates this was taken somewhere between 1907-1929.  Herb served in WWI and passed away in 1926, and this looks to be from his post-war days, so I’d say somewhere around 1920 or thereabouts would be good for a date.  You can just barely make out a ring on Herb’s finger, and he was married in 1918, so that helps set my idea of a date.  The location is most likely somewhere in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, and it’s pretty interesting that they took a photo somewhere in the woods instead of in a nice studio, but it makes for a pretty backdrop.  The uniforms appear to be non-military, but would be something I’d expect an organized band to wear.  It’s really a lovely photo, and clearly Herb and Bert were close enough friends to have a photo taken together and shared with family.

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6 Comments

  1. Yes, interesting for the musicians to be in the woods instead of a studio. If Mr. Mike makes it here, he’ll be able to tell you about the instruments, the uniforms, and probably the names of their grandparents. He’s amazing at analyzing photos like this.

  2. La Nightingail

    A nice picture of, as you say, perhaps good friends. The names certainly caught my attention: Herb and Bert. My father’s name was Herbert & he was called, variously by family, Bertie and Bert. But when he married my mom, she decided he looked more like a Herb or sometimes, a Herbie. 🙂 It is a sort of mystery – the two bandsmen’s picture being taken in the woods, but it’s a nice backdrop all the same.

  3. I can see that they are a great pair of friends. They probably just finished a concert at the local picnic park bandstand. The instrument on the left is a cornet as the trumpet was not commonly used in bands until the 1930s, The other instrument is quite unusual and I’ve rarely seen one pictured. It is called a ballad horn, a kind of alto voice similar to a fluegel horn or mellophone. Their uniforms are a kind of imitation military style first popular around 1910. Basically a modern style that was cheaper to make than the previously fancy embroidered jackets. I’d estimate the photo closer to 1910 because of the ballad horn and mustache which come from an earlier time before the war.

    1. Sheetar

      On second glance, I think you’re right about the date.. what I thought was a ring on Herb’s finger may be the finger placement ring from the cornet. VERY interesting about the ballad horn! I’ve never even heard of it before – figured it was somewhere in the mellophone or french horn range, but that’s really neat. Mike, you are a treasure trove of knowledge, thanks for commenting!!

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