Mitchell LIfe and Times #3
The members/collectors who have been following this Life and Times of Edward H. Mitchell are aware that most of his story, so far, has been devoted to his numerous partnerships. However, it is necessary that these business transactions by his many partners be fully known in order to understand the reasons for many of the cards he published and why some of the same view cards list different company names. When all of these mergers, dissolutions of partnerships and buying into other companies are understood, we can then proceed to examine Mitchell’s Sets, comics, Christmas greetings, Origin of Months, Zodiac cards and special order contracts. One reader offered the “friendly criticism” that San Stark was using too many quotes from news sources and press releases and not doing enough original writing. This is true, but Sam Starks opinions and summations will have to wait until near the end of this writing. It is important that direct quotes from the accumulated material on hand and use the exact wordage as it appears in Mitchell’s handwriting in his ledgers and work sheets. Now, Let us take up the California Sales Company which, according to several queries has confused collectors. In February 1911, Mitchell stated the following:
“To the trade – We take pleasure in informing you that we have purchased the entire stock of brown sepia and novelty cards, fixtures, goodwill, etc., of the California Sales Co. and will continue the publication of the sepia line, adding new subjects as rapidly as possible in order to cover the field now supplied by our famous photochrome cards. We further advise, that, on request, we are prepared to quote prices on sepia cards in lots of one, two, three, five and ten thousand of a subject, made to order from your own photographs. We can assure you that our new line will lack no excellence that can be obtained by our long experience in the making and publishing of picture post cards.”
In February 1911, The Pacific Coast Stationer and Bookseller commented: “This makes a considerable enlargement to Mr. Mitchell’s facilities for turning out sepia cards. Mr. Mitchell is also putting in this month a plant for making photo postal cards of a high order. These will be made to order for his customers from their own photographs in lots of 100 to 1,000 of each Subject. His colored view cards are made in lots of 6,000, 12,000 and 19,000 of each subject…Photo
postals can be turned out in from two to three days, sepia in from two to three weeks and colored cards in from two to three months.” It must be assumed from the above that most of the sepia postcards carrying California Sales Company are Mitchell’s unless postmarked before 1911. Many of Mitchell’s contracts, when he purchased a company, used the legal phrase, “lock, stock and barrel.” Therefore, in buying California Sales, he obtained thousands of cards already in stock to which he added, “Published by Edward H. Mitchell” to the already familiar sword and rose logo and continued using the same prints, when needed, to replenish his own stock of cards. Once again, Mitchell made a move toward becoming the largest publisher of cards on the Pacific Coast by acquiring still another company. This was the Western Card Company and he released this News in May 1911:
“MITCHELL TAKES UP PHOTO CARDS – Edward H. Mitchell, the San Francisco post card man. Announces that he has taken over the Western Card Company’s plant, formerly located at Reedley, Cal., which had the reputation of making the finest photo post cards produced in the United States. The Machinery and the entire equipment of this plant has been moved to the Mitchell factory in San Francisco, and its work will be under the personal supervision of George A. Besaw, one of the former owners of the Western Card Company. Mr. Mitchell says, ‘We now have everything in smooth running order, and are turning out photo post cards at the rate of several thousand per day.
We are prepared to take special orders from dealers for 100 or more subjects, showing views in their own cities. We have on hand fine up-to-date negatives from almost every city in California from which we can print orders immediately upon receipt, shipping them in two or three days time. We are sending circulars to summer resorts and club houses, notifying them that with the acquisition of the photo card plant, we are able to give dealers any style of view card they desire. The Number that must be ordered and the time required to fill orders, are as follows: Photo post cards, 100 of a subject up, two or three days; Sepia Cards, 1000 or more of a subject, two or three weeks after photographs are received; Colored cards, not less than 6,000 of a subject, two to three months. The George A. Besaw, mentioned above, supervised the transfer of the stock and machinery to a new building Mitchell erected next door to his Army Street plant. Mitchell, quite often developed strong and lasting friendships among his employees and he could be very appreciative to those who were loyal, of which more information will be written later. George Clarkson, who had been the owner of Pacific Novelty, remained with Mitchell for years and assumed the position of General Manager. So it is with George Besaw who as a photographer, stayed with the firm for years. For those who are interested, When Besaw was with Western Card, he quite often (through him?) bestowed his name on a view in a curious manner. These cards are very collectible, with “Besaw” imprinted, in white, block letters on a telegraph pole, a business sign, the side of a building or, even on the cubing of a street. Mitchell was expanding his business at a time when other post card publishers were experiencing a slump. In response to a report of many publishers and jobbers throughout the country that the post card business was “going Backward” Mitchell replied that “his business is now as always, constantly increasing, the sales for the year up to September 1st having been 12 per cent ahead of the same period of 1910.”
We will now cover the CARDINELL-VINCENT Company – John Douglas Cardinell and George Vincent had formed a co-partnership in 1904 according to most records, although documented personal letter, was found to be written by Cardinell gives the date as 1902. John Cardinell began his career, on the road, as a stationery salesman for Payout, Upham Company and H. S. Crocker Company of San Francisco. Later he went into business for himself as a representative for several Eastern firms in the marketing of art and stationery supplies including Conklin’s Self-filling pen. In 1902, George Vincent had opened the Vellum Paper Company in San Francisco, which was the only plant in the United States that manufactured tracing paper. When these two enterprises combined as the Cardinell-Vincent Company their offices were located at 414 Market Street. As their business prospered the moved into larger quarters at 28 Second Street…just two weeks before the 1906 earthquake and fire. Along with many others they were forced to flee across the Bay to Oakland, where it was possible for them to witness the complete destruction of San Francisco and their property. When they were able to return to the city, they quickly seized the opportunity, along with other publishers, to supply the enormous, worldwide demand for view cards, folders and books depicting the disaster wrought to the city. Along with this new enterprise, they continued filling orders for the Conklin pens and handling goods received from the Grand Rapids Show Case Company. They were financed voluntary offers of credit and cash from the firm’s Eastern connections, in addition to receiving a full settlement on their fire insurance policies. As the postcard business proved to be successful, they decided to continue publishing cards and opened a Permanent branch at 709 South Spring in Los Angeles. Needing further capital, they incorporated in July 1906, to the amount of $50,000 with John D. Cardinell as president, L. J. Turner, vice president and George Vincent as secretary and treasurer. The Company then moved to a new location in San Francisco at 579 Market Street that provided ample room for offices and salesrooms. John Douglas Cardinell was born on March, 8 1875 at 430 Valencia Street, San Francisco. His Father, John Allen Cardinell, was practicing law at the time and occupied offices with Judge Quint on Montgomery Street near California…on the site of the old California Safe Deposit and Trust Building. The Father was affluent and well-liked in the city and maintained a number of fine race horses. John A. Cardinell, together with his brother Charles, had migrated from Quebec in 1850 or 1851 in search of gold. Eventually, the two brothers settled in Columbia, California where they developed a gold claim in the vicinity known as the Cardinell Mine and John served for a time as Deputy Sheriff. Later The brothers separated and John moved to San Francisco where he died in about 1881. Charles Cardinell settled in Portland, Oregon where his daughter married Senator Cyrus Dolphe of that city.
During the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, John D. Cardinell personally conducted the photographic and post card concessions. He was the official photographer and his 1915 cards are very collectible, with most of them carrying the designations, “Official” or “Official Post Card Concessionaire” and in some cases, “Official Photographers for the P.P.I.E.” Possibly he was the only photographer on hand, during the Exposition, when Lincoln Beachey, the “dare-devil” stunt flyer, crashed into the Bay, in full view of thousands of spectators, on Sunday, March 14, 1915. Beachey had been a tremendous attraction at the exposition, making several flights a day, executing figure eights, “tangoes,” and loop-the-loops before his tragic death in a new monoplane that he was flying for the first time, in place of his customary bi-plane. The four black and white photo-cards Sam Stark indicated he has, all bear the copyright, “P.P.I.E. Cardinell-Vincent Co. Official Photographers.” They Are: “Beachey Leaving the P.P.I.E Grounds in Taube Place on last Flight.” ,“Diver Descending to Search for Beachey’s Body.”, “Diver from U.S.S. Oregon Descending to Search for Beachey’s Body & Wrecked Aero plane.”, “Rescuing Beachey’s Body from the Water.”
PS: There should be more views and anyone having more info, contact: Walter Kransky.
In 1917, Cardinell sold out the prospering Cardinell-Vincent Company for $250,000 and moved West where he opened the Cardinell Vellum Company at 15 Label Street in Montclair, New Jersey. His New firm manufactured drawing materials. Tracing paper and ink eradicators and the move was necessitated by large contracts he obtained from the Federal Government. Around 1936, he suffered a stroke and, in failing health he returned to California for a period of three years to recuperate. In 1940 he traveled East again and was spending a week at the Hotel Suburban in East Orange preparing to open his home at 75 Montclair when he died suddenly on August 26th. He was survived by his widow, Mrs. Edna Peer Cardinell, and three sons, John D. Jr., Richard L., and Roberts S.. Cardinell was the official photographer for the Philadelphia Sesquicentennial in 1926 and his obituary states that legal action taken by him, described as a “friendly suit” led that Exposition into receivership.
The next and last Company to discuss here is the E. P. Charlton Company. The company did not publish post cards. Earl Perry Charlton was the founder of the E. P. Charlton 5, 10 and 15 Cent Stores 19 of them in New England and 35 on the Pacific Coast. His San Francisco store, with motto, “No Article Sold in this Store for more than 15 cents,” was located at 786-88-90 Market Street. Edward H. Mitchell had a contract with Charlton to supply post cards for all those West Coast shops using the credit line, “Published by E. P. Charlton & Co.” in place of Mitchell’s name. Charlton had distribution centers in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, Oakland, and San Jose, Stockton, Portland and Seattle to supply his smaller shops and the Charlton cards reflect these centers. Mitchell used his same numbers and views for Charlton cards resulting in some confusion and conjecture by present day collectors who assume that Charlton was a publisher or a subsidiary of the
Mitchell firm. It is a matter of personal choice in the filing of these duplicated cards. Sam Stark filed his Mitchell cards facing forward in order to differentiate, if he had the same number and view with Charlton’s name, he would place it with the address side facing forward, directly behind the corresponding Mitchell on. This allowed one to determine that areas that stocked Charlton cards. It would aid the research if someone could discover the cities and towns in which those 19 stores in New England and 35 on the West Coast were located. Any Information is invited. Earle Perry Charlton was born in Chester, Connecticut on June 19, 863. His Ancestors had arrived from New England in 1636 on the ship, Mary and John and settled in Windsor, Connecticut. He was educated at schools in Hartford and Boston and in 1889 married Ida Stein of Buffalo, New York. Mr. Charlton was one of the pioneer five-and-ten-cent store merchants in this country, commencing his career in Boston, at the age of 17, in a whole-sale business operated by Thomas C. Newell. Several years later, his territory extended from Boston to Chicago, and on one of his trips he had a fortunate meeting with Sumner Woolworth, a brother of F.W. Woolworth. This meeting subsequently resulted in his opening a chain of fifty-four stores, where he was the first on the Pacific Coast to introduce low-cost items. These shops proved to be so successful that in 1912 the Charlton stores were combined with the F.W. Woolworth Company and Charlton became vice president of the Woolworth chain, a position he retained until his death in 1930. Later, Charlton constructed and, as president, operated the Charlton mills in Fall River, Massachusetts which manufactured cotton cloth. He was a director of the First National Bank of Boston; the New Haven Railroad, of which he was a large stockholder; the National Bank of Providence Rhode Island and the Durfee Trust Company of Fall River, Massachusetts. In addition. He was a trustee of the Eastern Massachusetts Railroad and of Tufts College in Medford, Massachusetts.
During World War I Charlton served on the War Industries Board in Washing ton D.C., and later with the War Department to aid in the purchase of supplies. He was well-known for his philanthropic work and served as national chairman of the “Coolidge Fund” that in 1925 raised $2,000,000. for the Clarke School for the deaf, having contributed #130.000. himself to the total. He also donated $500,000 to the Truesdale Hospital in Fall River, Massachusetts. Mr. Charlton died at Acoaxet, Massachusetts on November 20, 1930 at 67. He was survived by his widow and three children, Earle P. Jr., Mrs. Kenneth Lincoln and Mrs. F.M. Mitchell.