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Quiets the Nerves: 1915

Quiets the Nerves: 1915

New York, August 1915. "Express track, Ninth Avenue 'L.'" I was about to pass up this photo of the Ninth Avenue elevated line as being too damaged, then saw the giant bandaged kitty advertising Katzen ("Not a Dope -- Quiets the Nerves") and changed my mind. 5x7 glass negative, George Grantham Bain. View full size.


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Reeves Brothers

Amazing to see the D Reeves store. I have the founder brothers, James and Daniel, on my Irish family tree.

Under the Katzen Sign

At the bottom right is a grocery store, D. Reeves. It was one of a large chain of neighborhood stores. There was one on the block I grew up on in the Bronx, East 169th Street between Clay & Teller Avenues, this was in the 1930s-40s. Though it was called Daniel Reeves, it catered mainly to the Irish in the neighborhood. They sold Irish teas and breads etc., and were staffed by recent immigrants. There were also other groceries named Peter Reeves, I don't know if there was any connection.

Katzenjammer Kids

On a related topic, "The Katzenjammer Kids" is the oldest surviving comic strip still in syndication in America.

Captain and the Kids

Now I know why that turn of the century comic strip was called the Katzenjammer Kids. Eventually Captain and the Kids.

["The Captain and the Kids" was a kind of Katzenjammer clone that ran in the non-Hearst newspapers. The two versions ran simultaneously for many years. The cartoonist Oscar Hitt, who ghosted "Captain and the Kids" in the 1930s, rented an apartment from my grandparents in Miami during the winter and drew a panel of the characters for my dad when he was a little boy. Which I have framed here right next to me at Shorpy World Headquarters! - Dave]

German Cats

Yep. In German, "Katze" is commonly used to mean "cat" but "Kater" refers to a tomcat or a hangover.

"Der Katzenjammer" is also used in German to refer to a hangover, but may be a bit more dated. I think today someone today would more typically say that they have a Kater: "Ich habe einen Kater!"

I doublechecked the meaning of the German word "Katzenjammer" in the excellent German-operated German-->English dictionary at It gives one of the English translations as simply "katzenjammer" (same word, but small k), but tagging it as "dated American English." So, I think at one time there were enough recent German immigrants in the U.S. to result in katzenjammer being a well-known hangover term. The Katzenjammer Kids make more sense if one considers this.

1000 Words

Finding the advertisement and having these good and interesting comments supports the famous "A picture is worth..." saying.

There's many other comments to make about this and the other great photos on Shorpy.

This is what got me into collecting old photos many years ago. I would bring one home from a show, sale, shop or flea market and immediately get my magnifying glass and would find things the naked eye couldn't.

Oh, please reconsider!

With finds like this one, never reject a great photo just because of its quality. Maybe give us readers a warning beforehand, but the view is definitely worth the damage. Thanks for sharing!

The Katzenjammer Kids

Short history of "The oldest comic strip still in syndication" (since 1897) from King Features.

Ow my head

I wouldn't want to look at this photo if I was in the throes of a katzen-jammer. The perspective's a killer.

I have to say, though, that the damage doesn't detract from the quality of the photo; if anything, it gives the image a surreal beauty.

Katzen-jammer headache

The "Yale Medical Journal" of 1898 (available through Google Books) talks about what the Germans call the "Katzen-Jammer" headache from the excessive use of alcohol.

Very few photos of 9th Avenue El

Thank you for uploading!

Looking around, I've seen very few photos (especially street level photos) of the Ninth Avenue El where it went through Manhattan's Upper West Side (above what is now Columbus Avenue).

Besides pictures of the S-curve at 110th and Columbus/9th Ave, there are very few that seem to be around. Especially compared with the relative abundance of pictures of the 3rd Avenue El.

Though if you find any more negatives of the 9th Avenue El and you're willing to post them, Dave, I would be most appreciative!

Standing Around

If that's the express track, it doesn't seem like such a good idea to be standing up on the platform when the train comes through.

Are those railroad ties stacked up along the edges? The actually look like the "bars" that run parallel to the tracks between them in the foreground. They'd be placed end-to-end. Maybe the guy is putting those down? What are they for? Mysteries, all!


Katzen-Jammer appears to be a german term associated with the headache that today we would associate with a hangover from excessive drinking.

Poisoning by toxic substances is also the main cause of headache of dyspepsia, whether it be the well-known "Katzen-jammer" - the bursting morning headache and nausea following a joyous alcoholic evening ...

The Diagnosis of Nervous Diseases
By James Purves-Stewart
Published by Treat, 1914

Tacoma Beer Tray - variations on the theme

Been scavenging

Not a Dope

An eerie resemblance to Scratchy, don't you think? So, scavenger hunt. Who will be the first to locate an old box or ad showing the Katzen cat?

12 Angry Men

Something about this reminds me of the movie "12 Angry Men."

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