The People of Pancho

At Play In The Archive

Mystery Ladies, Part One

Here are some beautiful mystery friends of my great-grandparents, Leo and Margaret Lessiack.

Earlier, I published the mystery children’s portraits I found among their things, and later there will be some mystery men’s portraits, along with a few group shots. Some of these picture are from Hamburg, where Leo grew up, but a few are from New York and New Jersey, where Leo arrived as a young man of 21 in 1912, and where he and Margaret settled. The quality of the images is so exquisite — the paper is creamy, they’re mounted on durable (and seemingly acid-free) board, and they look as if they haven’t faded at all.

People, may I present to you… the mystery ladies.


Although the message is written in German, the photograph is signed E. Hocffle, Bogota NJ (where my great-grandparents lived). I tried running the words in the message through Google Translate but didn’t get anything meaningful. Any German speakers out there who can help?

Ladies 2

This beauty was definitely photographed in Hamburg by the Willy Wilcke studio. Date unknown.

Ladies 3

Here’s another image of the same lovely young woman. Based on the clothing, I assume that this image was taken on the same day as the previous image.

Ladies 4

This image is also from Hamburg, but by Atelier Ideal. The writing on the back indicates that it was taken in 1914. I can’t make out the rest of the handwriting, unfortunately. Can any of you, readers?

Ladies 5

"Xmas 1923 To Gretie - With Love, Eleanor"

This sultry Miss was photographed in New York by the Sarony Inc. studio. The message on the back says “Xmas 1923 to Gretie – With Love, Eleanor.” I suspect that Gretie is actually my great-grandmother, Margaret Spielmann Lessiack.

Ladies 7

Here is the studio mark on the folder in which the image above was stored.


“Lest you forget me. With all my love, Minna.” There was no studio mark on this image, so I don’t know where or when it was taken. She is wearing quite an elaborate costume, isn’t she?

More mysterious ladies to come. Stay tuned.


2 comments on “Mystery Ladies, Part One

  1. Pingback: Mystery Ladies, Part Deux | The People of Pancho

  2. Pingback: Lissy, Another Mystery Friend | The People of Pancho

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