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Mr. Magazine: 1908

Mr. Magazine: 1908

1908. "Smallest news & post card stand in New Orleans, 103 Royal Street." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


Jewel Cafe

The Jewel Cafe, at 131 Royal Street, was listed in the program for the 5th Annual Sugar Bowl Classic in January of 1929 as a sponsor:

        Jewel Cafe ... 131 Royal Street; Oysters 45 cents per half dozen; First time in the history of New Orleans, Oysters a la Rockefeller are prepared before your eyes. This deep mystery of the culinary arts is now almost within the price range of raw oysters. Louisiana's choicest cultivated oysters, served in all styles at our counters and tables; open all night.

Cover Boy

While the individual covers of Sporting News are not readily available, issues of Sporting Life can be easily found. The photo shows the June 13, 1908 issue of Sporting Life with Edward Siever of the Detroit Tigers on the cover. Five days after this was published Siever played his last major league baseball game although he played another two years in the minors. Less than a year earlier he had been in the 1907 World Series. A copy of the front of this issue of Sporting Life, along with the caption that goes with Siever's photo, is shown below. Note that most sources state he was born in Kansas in 1875 (not Illinois in 1878). He died in 1920 while coming home from his job as an inspector for the City of Detroit.

"EDWARD SIEVER. Pitcher of the Detroit American League Club. Edward Siever, the noted south-paw pitcher for the Detroit American Club, was born April 2, 1878, at Lewistown, Ill. Siever was originally a locomotive fireman of the Grand Trunk. He made his professional debut with the London Club, of the Canadian League, in 1899, which, largely owing to Siever's fine pitching, won the championship. He was sold to the Detroit Club the following year, and sported the Tigers' stripes continually until the Fall of 1903, when he was transferred to the St. Louis Club. After a season with the Browns he was transferred for 1905 to the Minneapolis Club, with which he did such fine work that St. Louis re-drafted him for 1906. During that season he was sold to the Detroit Club for which he has played since. In the 1907 season he very materially helped Hughey Jennings' Tigers to bring to Detroit a championship pennant for the first time in twenty years."

About that Argosy

It's the July 1908 edition. What fun hunting this stuff up!


--The younger man on the right has the look of one not to be trifled with;

--The cafe doors are almost identical to the doors on the front of Antoine's Restaurant;

--I wonder who the ball player is on the front page of the Sporting News. Walter Johnson? Ty Cobb? Honus Wagner?

--Among the many old framed articles and pictures on the walls of the main dining room at Antoine's there is a lengthy one about W.H. Taft and his eating exploits at the restaurant during a trip to New Orleans. Marvelling at his stature as a "trencherman," the writer tells that Taft had a great love of boiled shrimp but didn't like to have to peel them. Taft claimed there was no serving of boiled shrimp so large he couldn't finish it. In an attempt to test this claim, Jules Alciatore (the proprietor at the time) had 50 pounds of shrimp delivered the morning before Taft was to dine there. They boiled them and he and his staff peeled them all, yielding a seving bowl with 7 1/2 lbs. of shrimp meat. According to the article, Taft finished them all but was so surfeited that he could barely speak afterwards!

--The items in the case look too big, flat, and uniform to be either beignets or pralines, but I'm not sure what else they would have been. They certainly do look like waffles, which would have kept all day in the case I suppose.

Now I understand

I always wondered why they called it the Kelley Blue Book. Now I get it. It lets you know how the car dealer is going to #@$% you on the value of your car.

Learn something every day on Shorpy.

Politically Incorrect Period Humor

Look inside the kiosk to the left of the proprietor and you'll notice section of postcards devoted to those comical darkies and their antics. Very popular at the time, and very collectible now despite (or perhaps because of?) the transgressive stigma of racism.

Speaking of post cards within postcards

Wonder if any of the pictures featured on those postcards ever appeared on Shorpy?

Now there's a heck of a scavenger hunt for you.

Then and Now

This photo is featured in the 1996 book "New Orleans - Then and Now." In 1996, there's also a newsstand, just to the right of this one.

In addition, I found a vintage postcard (postmarked June 1908) that shows this same newsstand. So it's a postcard of a postcard stand. (I know there's a name for things like this, but my coffee hasn't kicked in yet.)

Sidewalk Cafe

LOVE the tile sidewalk sign for the Jewel Cafe. It's the same type that some streets still have that say Rue Royale or Rue Bourbon. Very cool.

Closing up shop

Regarding how they closed up shop at night. The middle section above the hatch flips down. The two shutters on either side close inwards. The magazines below are simply unclipped and taken indoors.

Dangerous leakages

We can laugh at it now, of course, bit it was common during the early years of electricity for people to believe that electrical sockets "leaked electricity" if they didn't have something plugged or screwed in.

Many families have stories of people insisting on removing the plugs or bulbs and putting in stoppers at night. People even complained of smelling the electrical "vapours" coming from the sockets.

Another Clue

Checked one more thing on why that is probably Taft on the Chicago Tribune cover. The Republican convention that nominated him was held in Chicago from June 16 to June 19, 1908 which would coincide with the time frame here. It is interesting, however, that Grover Cleveland died June 24, 1908.

Please note that the Tribune was a very Republican leaning newspaper in those days, so it's more likely they would feature the new Republican nominee that the recently departed former Democratic president.


Time travel to this place in order to buy these itmes would be very interesting, just don't forget to first get into your family's coin collection and grab some Barber dimes and quarters, Liberty nickels, and Indian Head pennies. You show this guy dead president coins and bills and he'll have you hauled away by the police.

Great magazines, but

tucked in among the postcards is a very interesting, small publication: Sagebrush Philosophy. It wasn't the magazine for everybody, but that's what made it so special.

Clean 'em out

According to my rough count, there are about 100 different postcards on display. Figuring 10 of each at 15 cents per dozen, one could have the entire stock for just over $12.

Sugared Snacks

The stacked, flat items in the case on the far left could be beignets, the Official State Doughnut of Louisana, but more likely are New Orleans-style Pralines.

Dietz Sign Co.

Saw that at the top of the picture. Googled it. Got as far as this page.

Dietz Lantern Company. Read through it, you'll see mentions of places and things seen on Shorpy.

I will start a-looking.

Re: Naughty Bits

The Blue Book would not have been sold openly at a newsstand. It was also very plain in appearance.

Hardly Naughty

The Blue Book Magazine displayed on the bottom row is not the notorious Blue Book guide to "sporting houses." It's a copy of a legit magazine that was published until 1975 featuring fiction by writers like Agatha Christie, Booth Tarkington, and Edgar Rice Burroughs.

[This particular magazine, Stageland Blue Book, was a theatrical publication. - Dave]

Sagebrush Philosopher

"Sagebrush Philosophy" was published by the Wyoming writer Bill Barlow:

Shortly after locating at Douglas he began the publication of a little monthly magazine called Sagebrush Philosophy, which soon had a circulation that extended to all parts of the Union. His writings scintillated with wit, philosophy and optimism, and his vocabulary was both extensive and unique. Sagebrush Philosophy was built up on his personality and when his death occurred on October 9, 1910, it was realized that no one could continue the publication of the magazine, so its last number was issued in November following his death.

Taft of Ohio, Not Cleveland

The Chicago Tribune cover is graced by the future president, William Howard Taft. He was the Republican candidate in 1908.

[I think you're right. At first I thought it was Cleveland, who had died on June 24, but this does look more like Taft. Especially the ear. - Dave]

Re: BlueBook

Another bid for one of each!
From Antiques Roadshow archive:

APPRAISER: "This is one of the later ones-- there's no date here, I think this was done about 1915, 1916 or 1917.the last copy I was able to track down at auction, sold for more than $2,000, some years ago.


APPRAISER: My guess on this is it's worth somewhere between $3,500 and $4,500.

GUEST: My goodness.

APPRAISER: Not bad for something you picked from the garbage, right?

No Business Like It

Publications suspended under the ledge, below the proprietor, are The Dramatic Mirror, Billboard, Variety and Show World. Someone once said that everybody's second business was show business. Looking at these magazines for sale in 1908 New Orleans sort of reinforces that theory.

My Order

"Hey buddy, I'll take a bunch of bananas, two pineapples, some mixed nuts, five melons and a dozen postcards. By the way, do you have July's edition of The Railroad Man's Magazine?"


It took me a while, but here is the evidence. First, "The Railroad Man's Magazine" on the bottom cannot be from 1906, because it wasn't published until October of that year. I then found the cover for Collier's Magazine from June of 1908. Finally, there is an advertisement on the bottom left for the 1908 World Almanac!

[I misread the date on the cover of the 10 Cent Story Book last night when I posted this, thinking the 8 was a 6. Thanks to all who set me straight! - Dave]

For everybody, indeed

Cowboy Bill is surely referring to this.

Oh yes, we have bananas!

Didn't say they were fresh, just said we had them.

Tag Suggestion

Could you also tag this and future images like it with "Postcards"?

Images like this that depict the retailing of postcards are incredibly rare and of great importance to we deltiologists. Thank you.

Just Curious

How did they close up shop for the night? It looks like this is right on the sidewalk. I can see that some of the display looks like it might swing into the opening where the proprietor is standing but it still looks like there's a lot of effort to open and close for the day.

Naughty Bits

Interesting to note that on the bottom row is the notorious "Blue Book," the guide to houses of ill repute in Storyville, the area of New Orleans where prostitution was legal until WWI.


Grover Cleveland--definitely him--has been out of office for nearly ten years. Why is he gracing the cover of the Chicago Tribune?

[His uncanny impersonation of William Howard Taft. - Dave]

June 1908

The Saturday Evening Post in the lower right corner was dated 13 June 1908. I did a quick search online and voila, now I have that warm, fuzzy feeling one can get from a successful treasure hunt.

Thank you, Shorpy, for the thrill of the hunt.

Gimme the lot!

I'd buy the whole lot. Can you imagine what all those are worth today? It looks like this may have been a cafe entrance once.


She came naturally by her confused and groundless fears, for her own mother lived the latter years of her life in the horrible suspicion that electricity was dripping invisibly all over the house. It leaked, she contended, out of empty sockets if the wall switch had been left on. She would go around screwing in bulbs, and if they lighted up she would hastily and fearfully turn off the wall switch and go back to her Pearson's or Everybody's, happy in the satisfaction that she had stopped not only a costly but a dangerous leakage. Nothing could ever clear this up for her.

-- James Thurber ("The Car We Had to Push")

Next door

I see cabbages, bananas, oranges, apples, peaches, walnuts, and ... waffles?

The Big Question

How did he get IN there?

The Jewel

This photo has a great example of an Etched - Glue Chipped Glass doorway on the right. I would lay money down and say that the gilded wood letters (on the upper left & above clerk) are most likely manufactured by the Spanjer Bros.

This photo would look great in color with all those magazine covers too.

The Information Highway

Before the internet was invented.

Magazines and Newspapers

I'll say what we're all probably thinking: I'll take one of everything on your stand, sir. Hey, there's a magazine for everybody.

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