Blennerhassett Family Tree
Genealogy one-name study      by Bill Jehan
   Introduction      Arts      Furniture from Blennerhassett Island
Furniture from the Mansion on "Blennerhassett Island"
Ohio River, West Virginia
Velox "Real Photograph Postcard" c1900
When on 17-Dec-1806 Margaret Blennerhassett fled downriver from their house on Blennerhassett Island, their furniture was left behind. This furniture was sold at two auctions held in 1807.
Several homes in the vicinity of Parkersburg and Marietta claimed to have examples of furniture or other artifacts from the house, received as gifts from the Blennerhassetts or purchased at the auction. Some of these items were brought together for exhibiting in a "Blennerhassett Room" at the Marietta, Ohio, centenary celebrations in 1888, then kept together for a few years after as a public exhibition of "Blennerhassett Furniture". Some of these, and other recovered Blennerhassett artifacts, may now be seen on public display at the reconstructed Blennerhassett Mansion on the island, in the Blennerhassett Museum at Parkersburg or the Campus Martius Museum at Marietta.
"Images of America: Blennerhassett Island" by Ray Swick (Historian of West Virginia State Parks) and Christina Little, published in 2005, reproduces on p.22 two photographs described as follows:
Photograph of the "Blennerhassett Room" at the 1888 Marietta centenary celebrations:
"In April 1888, the citizens of Marietta, Ohio, went mad celebrating the anniversary of their proud city's founding a century earlier. Part of the excitement was a huge exhibition of historic relics, organized by the Ladies Centennial Association and lent by the descendants of the pioneer settlers. Forming such an important part of the local past, the Blennerhassetts, of course, merited their own room full of artifacts. (BIHSP, gift of Gwenyth Phillips Rexroad.)"
Photograph of the "Blennerhassett Furniture" exhibition held at Marietta after 1888:
"When Marietta's centennial celebration drew to a close, a number of its relics, including this c.1900 collection of Blennerhassett items, remained on public display. Alas, not all that glitters is gold. Some of the artifacts, including the Jenny Lind dressing table (back right) and the pianoforte (back left), had never graced the mansion's interior because their Blennerhassett attribution was fake. (BIHSP.)"
This second illustration reproduces a VELOX "Real Photograph Postcard" of c1900, titled BLENNERHASSETT FURNITURE, sold as souvenir to people who visited the exhibition.
Another example of this same "Real Photograph" Postcard

"Real Photograph Postcards" (RPPC) are original photographs developed onto photographic paper of the same size and weight as conventional Postcards, with a standard Postcard back.  A Real Photo Postcard was not printed but a quantity of almost identical cards could be made from a single negative.  The earliest Real Photo Postcard of any kind was produced in 1899.
On the reverse of this card is printed a VELOX stamp box, an aid for placing the postage stamp. "VELOX" is the type of photographic paper used, this invented in 1893 by Leo Baekeland, the Belgian-born American chemist who also invented Bakelite, the first rigid plastic.
VELOX paper was manufactured by Kodak, to whom Baekeland sold the rights. The earliest Real Photo Postcard of any kind is from 1899. VELOX photographic paper was being advertised in 1901.  Real Photo Postcards were at their height of popularity 1905-1907, but declined in the 1920s and ceased to be manufactured in the 1940s, although VELOX photographic paper is still made for other purposes.

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