Tuesday, January 14, 2014
I was recently contacted by Faith G. who told me that she had purchased a Toloff photo in an antique shop in Crested Butte, Colorado in 1998. She was nice enough to agree to share it with us:
She says, "I was so smitten by her-she intrigues me still. The woman, girl really, in the photo captured my attention the minute I walked into the shop-her eyes are haunting. It's as if she has lived a life well beyond her years. I would love to learn more."
We know that Toloff only worked from his studios in Chicago, but his reputation was such that many people made appointments with Toloff to have their photos taken by him when they passed through Chicago.
So, can anyone identify or tell us anything about Toloff's "Woman from Crested Butte"? .
Monday, July 22, 2013
This week we have another offering from Architecture and Design Magazine from 1937. Here are J.D. Toloff's photos of the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Jack Egon Lederer of Winnetka, Illinois:
According to the 1937 Winnetka City Directory, Jack Egon Lederer lived at 474 Sheridan Road, in Winnetka. Jack was an immigrant from Czechosolvakia, and was a "women's apparel salesman." Very few women's apparel salesmen could afford a house like this. Lederer's obituary from 1972 said that he was vice president of The Rothmoor Corp., a clothing manufacturing firm, and that his wife Greta owned Greta Lederer, Inc., a house building company. They had two daughters, Jacqueline and Linda.
Here's the front of 474 Sheridan Road in 1937:
and here it is in 2007:
Looks like they took out the long entry walk and put in a circular driveway. Still looks pretty good to me. Thanks to the artistry of J.D. Toloff, we have a snapshot in time of this beautiful home.
Monday, July 15, 2013
For this week's Toloff selection we will accompany him to the wedding of Martha Elisabeth Pape and Charles Joseph Bleidt on May 11, 1921. Charles was a widower but this was Martha's first marriage so they pulled out all the stops. And who better to memorialize the day than the premier photographer of the North Shore, J.D. Toloff:
I think it is interesting that in so may of the "posed" photographs of the era there are ferns in the background.
Here's the bride in front of two fern arrangements:
Obviously there was a lot of money spent on this wedding, and everything had to be perfect. J.D. Toloff certainly did his part to make the day unforgettable.
How did things turn out for Charles and Martha? Pretty well, from the looks of it. They had two children: Mary Jane (1924-1965) and John (1929-1973). Charles died in 1959 at the age of 89; Martha died in 1981 at the age of 90.
Special thanks to Amanda Pape and Bill Parker for allowing me to use the Toloff photos of their family for this article. Amanda has a fascinating blog about her family that is a must-read for anyone interested in Evanston history. You can find it at:
Monday, July 8, 2013
This week we have another offering from Architecture and Design Magazine from 1937. Here are J.D. Toloff's photos of the residence of Mr. and Mrs. John H. Platt of Winnetka, Illinois:
According to the 1940 Census, the Platts lived at 221 Winnetka Avenue in Winnetka, Illinois. Mr. Platt was the Director of an advertising company. The Platts had four sons: Robert, John Jr., James and William, and a live-in servant Letitia Ward. The put the value of their house at $35,000.00 (!!!).
Here's the front of the house again from 1937:
and here it is today:
I'm glad to see that not much has changed. Thanks to J.D. Toloff for another masterpiece.
Monday, July 1, 2013
Several weeks ago I featured J.D. Toloff's photos of noted dancer Ruth St. Denis as "The Peacock". In my writeup I mentioned that Ruth St. Denis was 1/2 of Denishawn. Denishawn was a School of Dancing and its Related Arts, and also a Dance Company. This week's Toloff feature is from the other 1/2 of Denishawn - Ted Shawn. Ted Shawn was, without a doubt, the greatest male dancer who ever lived. A short biography of Ted Shawn can be found here:
Here is a vintage advertisement for Denishawn (photos not by Toloff):
And here for your enjoyment from 1914 is Ted Shawn as the god '"Pan" by J.D. Toloff:
|Ted Shawn as "Pan" by J.D. Toloff|
I have also seen the photo in black and white:
I don't know if Toloff added the tinting, or it was added by someone else.
The glory that was Denishawn lives on today at Jacob's Pillow, in Becket, Massachusetts, in the Berkshires. Jacob's Pillow is a dance school, retreat, and theater founded by Ted Shawn. There is a good writeup on Jacob's Pillow here:
J.D. Toloff has left us many fine examples of the versatility of his work. His photos are superb whether taken indoors or out. The man was truly an artist.
Monday, June 24, 2013
For this week's Toloff selection, we will return to the Architecture and Design Magazine from 1937 (Volume I, No. 2) featuring homes from the North Shore by J.D. Toloff, F.R.P.S.
This time we will offer photographs of the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Lou G. Kailer, in Evanston, Illinois.
According to the 1940 Census, the Kailers lived at 2030 McDaniel Avenue in Evanston.
Here's the front of the house again in 1937:
According to the Census, Mr. Kailer was an automobile dealer. Further research shows that Louis G. Kailer was a co-founder of the Kailer-Youngquist Oldsmobile dealership, 4925 N. Broadway, in Chicago.
Good taste is always in style at:
Monday, June 17, 2013
I have mentioned before that J.D. Toloff photographed the famous, and "just plain folks". This week's selection fits in both of those categories: Charles Gates Dawes of Evanston, Illinois. Dawes was the Vice President of the United States (1925–1929) under President Calvin Coolidge. He was also the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1926. An excellent summation of the life and works of Charles Gates Dawes can be found here:
But to the people of Evanston, Illinois he was just another citizen who they saw on the street, at church or Evanston civic events. So it was not unexpected that Dawes should approach the "Photographer De Luxe for the North Shore" J.D. Toloff to have his portrait taken. Here is the result:
If you take a close look at the photo you can appreciate Toloff's photographic talents. Parts of the photo are soft focus, some are sharply clear. Part of Dawes' face is in shadow, part in a light that is almost harsh. But through it all, you are drawn to the sharp, non-wavering gaze of his piercing eyes.
Toloff has left us a piece of history, and a work of art.