The Mystery of the Embossed Album

26 Aug

I’m going all Nancy Drew on you this week.

Imagine for a moment that you’ve just moved into an old house… What is the coolest thing that could possibly find when moving in?  Here’s my list (in order):

  1.  A pile of money
  2. All my things unpacked already
  3. A ghost
Well, admittedly today’s object does not fall into any of these categories, per se.  But when Bonita Baer moved into her apartment at 1121 Wertland Street in the 1980s, she did have a rather interesting experience.  One that, in my opinion, could have involved any and all of these.   Needless to say, I would have totally traded places with her that day.  …um, had I been born yet…

1121 Wertland Street

Ms. Baer was a really nice lady, and gave ACHS what she found in her new apartment that day- so now we can share it with you all!


Okay then, here goes:

Do you know what Ms. Baer found yet?

If today’s title hasn’t given it away yet, maybe this will help…

An old photograph album!  Ms. Baer found this in the attic of her apartment at 1121 Wertland Street.  Inside the first page, an inscription can be found:

To Dean Lid
From Mag.
Xmas 1909

Truly, its quite a lovely gift.  The book is covered with embossed leather, decorated with leaves and scrolls.  Inside, the pages are embellished with colorful printed flowers and small landscapes.  The pages are thick, with recesses to place photographs.   An intricate-looking, yet inherently simple pin design locking system keeps the album closed.

The Mystery of the Album

So the album is really pretty, and we know where it came from, but who is “Dean Lit”?  And why did “Mag.” give him this album?

Well, I’d sure love to know, if you can find out…

1121 Wertland Street was built by Mr. Baker, the Registrar of the University at the turn of the (last) century.  It was occupied by his daughter and her husband -the Truymans- until 1924, when the Hill family moved in.  The Hills then rented out part of the house as apartments.  We assume that the album must have belonged to one of these tenants, of whom we have no record.  None of the known residents were Deans or Mags.

In any case, I’m sure it must have been quite an exciting find for Ms. Baer!  I know that it certainly was for me, and this isn’t even my house…  So the next time you find yourself moving into a new place, don’t dismay.  You probably won’t have a ghost help you move your stuff in and then present you with a big pile of cash.  But if you’re lucky, you might find something really cool in your attic.


3 Responses to “The Mystery of the Embossed Album”

  1. Scott August 26, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

    If you have access to any type of ancestry data (I’m thinking or geneology books…) you could try looking at the extended family of the first owners… maybe the album was willed to them by a parent or sibling?


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