Friday, June 8, 2018

Caspar Biele Stamp - Back in the family!

It is amazing the things you can find for sale on Ebay.  My most recent discovery was a stamp with plates that create an impression "Casp. Biele Barmen" that was being offered for sale in Knoxville, Tennessee.  After a bit of back and forth, I am now the proud owner of the stamp.

"Casp." is a common abbreviation for Caspar or Casper.  There is only one known Caspar Biele that lived in Barmen and only one that came to the United States, so it is probably a safe assumption they are one in the same and that the stamp belong to my relative Caspar Biele.  How it came to be in Knoxville is still mystery.

Two other Caspar Biele posts can be found here and here.

Caspar Biele Stamp - Front

Caspar Biele Stamp - Impression

Caspar Biele Stamp - Left
Caspar Biele Stamp - Right

Caspar Biele Stamp - Plates


Thursday, July 6, 2017

The "Other" Charles Biele

During the late 1800's and early 1900's two prominent businessmen named Charles Biele lived and worked near each other in New York City.  One was my ancestor Charles F. Biele who ran Charles F. Biele and Sons and the "other" was Charles Biele, the coffee merchant who ran Cafe Savoy Coffee.

Charles Biele was born in February 1866 in New York City to Frederick W. Biele and Elizabeth Zink.  Both parents were originally from Germany and immigrated to New York in the mid 1800's.  (There is no know link between this Biele family and mine)

Charles was the youngest of seven children and the only one known to have married and had children.  His first marriage was to Della Ward in 1894 and there are no record of children.  The second marriage was five years later to Margaret Thomson.  They has one daughter, Elizabeth, one year later.

Charles Biele was a prominent coffee merchant and items from the business are for sale on various web sites:

Charles Biele Cafe Savoy Coffee Tim (front)

Charles Biele Cafe Savoy Coffee Tin (side)

 During the 1909 New York Electrical Exhibition , Charles Biele displayed items that were mentioned in the Edison Monthly magazine that highlighted new electrical devices and in Electrical World

Highlight of Charles Biele of Cafe Savoy Coffee in the Edison Monthly in 1909

Highlight of Charles Biele of Cafe Savoy Coffee in Electrical World in 1909

This ad from 1917 is from Charles Biele but does not use the Cafe Savoy Coffee brand name.
1917 Coffee Ad from Charles Biele 
Charles Biele died in 1918 and his death was recorded in the New York Times.

Charles had a brother, Edward, who died one week earlier.  They were the last two known male Bieles from the Frederick Biele family.  Charles's daughter, Elizabeth, married and took the last name Favarger.  She died in 1993.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Biele Show Case in Ann Arbor

The latest find is a show case that made its way from New York City to Ann Arbor, Michigan and now resides at the Thistle and Bess.

The business name (C.F. Biele) and address (112 West Broadway) on the tag indicate that the show case was likely made around 1880.  The 1880 Trow’s Directory lists the business address of Charles F. Biele as 112 West Broadway.  By 1885, the business had moved down the street to 42 West Broadway.

C. F. Biele Show Case at Thistle and Bess in Ann Arbor

Tag on C. F.  Biele Show Case in Ann Arbor 
The design of the show case is the same as one in a catalogue from that period (now at the Hagley Museum and Library) and from a later catalogue from 1909.

C. F. Biele Show Case from ca. 1885 catalogue that is now at the Hagley Museum and Library

C. F. Biele Show Case from a 1909 Catalogue

Thank you, Diana, for sharing.  

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Biele Showscases at Teddy Roosevelt's Sagamore Hill

In the 1938 New York Sun article on Charles F. Biele and Sons, one of the references to well known customers is to showcases for "Theodore Roosevelt for his Japanese art objects".

These showcases are also referenced in a 1917 letter by Carl Biele of Charles F. Biele and Sons to Charles L. Freer, a wealthy businessman and art collector.  

1917 letter from Carl Biele of Charles F. Biele and Sons to Charles L. Freer referencing showcases at Theodore Roosevelt's Sagamore Hill for his collection of Japanese objects.  Letter from the Freer archives at the Smithsonian.

The letter states - "We enclosed some photographs which we though might prove of interest of you.  The small figure in armor was presented to Theodore Roosevelt by Admiral Togo.  The smaller sword was presented to him by the city of Sendai; while the other two swords were presented to him by His Majesty, the Emperor of Japan, through Baron Komura at the close of the Portsmouth Peace Conference."  (President Roosevelt won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on this conference which ended the Russo-Japanese War in 1905).

Below are the front and page of the picture of the sword showcase that were included with the letter.  The other pictures were not part of the Freer archives.

1917 picture from Carl Biele of Charles F. Biele and Sons to Charles L. Freer referencing showcases at Theodore Roosevelt's Sagamore Hill for his collection of Japanese objects.  Letter from the Freer archives at the Smithsonian.

Back side of picture of Biele showcase with the inscription "Theodore Roosevelt".

Below is a modern picture of the North Room at Sagamore Hill with the three items referenced in the letter.

North room at Theodore Roosevelt's Sagamore Hill with three showcases highlighted.
Close up of Biele showcase at Theodore Roosevelt's Sagamore Hill.

According to a source at Sagamore Hill, the two showcases on either side are original while the one housing the small samurai is made of modern plexiglass.  There are no records of when it was replaced.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

1919 Biele Vitrine to McCormick Heir

My latest find is a receipt for a vitrine sold to an heir to the McCormick fortune.  The receipt is from the Wisconsin Historical Society which maintains the archives of correspondence by Anita McCormick Blaine.

Anita was the daughter of Cyrus Hall McCormick, the inventor of the mechanical reaper. His farm innovations helped revolutionize farming around the world and made the McCormick family a fortune. She was a major stockholder of their farm implement company, which later became International Harvester.

More on Anita McCormick Blaine can be found on her Wikipedia page and other online biographies:,AnitaMcCormick.html

A few items of note:

  • The purchase price was $60, which is around $900 in today's dollars.
  • The shipping address was 101 E. Erie Street in Chicago.  That was Anita's home until her death. The mansion no longer there.  It was demolished in the late 1950's for the new headquarters of the Kiwanis and that was later demolished for a modern building that now houses a Conrad hotel.
  • Charles F. Biele and Sons was located at 379 & West 12th Street in the Greenwich Village area of Manhattan.  They later moved a street over to Bethune Street.

Receipt for a Biele vitrine for Anita McCormick Blaine

Mansion at 101 E. Erie Street in Chicago before demolition

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Bad Landeck an der Biele

Continuing on the prior post about places named Biele.....

Bad Landeck an der Biele is the German name of a town in Poland that was part of the Bohemian Empire and later part of Germany.  The “Bad” (German for bath) refers to the natural springs located in the area.  While “an der Biele” means “on the Biele”, with Biele being the German name for the river running through the town.

In 1742, most of Silesia, including Bad Landeck, was seized by King Frederick the Great of Prussia in the War of the Austrian Succession, eventually becoming the Prussian Province of Silesia in 1815.  After King Frederick and other members began visiting the baths in the area, Bad Landeck became a popular health resort and remained so up until World War II.
After World War II the region was placed under Polish administration and ethnically cleansed per the post-war Potsdam Agreement. The native German populace was expelled and replaced with Poles.
The name of was then changed to Lądek-Zdrój  and the river was renamed Biala Ladecka

Wikipedia articles on Bad Landeck / Lądek-Zdrój  can be found in English and German.
Below are some vintage postcards of Bad Landeck and der Biele.

Places Named Biele

There are a number of places in eastern Europe named Biele or with Biele in the name.  In the Slovak language biele translates to white.  In Polish, biel is white and biele is whites.  

There are five small villages in Poland with the name Biele:

Biele [ˈbjɛlɛ] is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Bądkowo, within Aleksandrów County,Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, in north-central Poland

Biele [ˈbjɛlɛ] is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Sochocin, within Płońsk County, Masovian Voivodeship, in east-central Poland. It lies approximately 3 kilometres (2 mi) south-west of Sochocin, 6 km (4 mi) north-east of Płońsk, and 63 km (39 mi) north-west of Warsaw.

Biele [ˈbjɛlɛ] is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Juchnowiec Kościelny, within Białystok County, Podlaskie Voivodeship, in north-eastern Poland. It lies approximately 5 kilometres (3 mi) south of Juchnowiec Kościelny and 15 km (9 mi) south of the regional capital Białystok.

Biele [ˈbjɛlɛ] is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Sompolno, within Konin County, Greater Poland Voivodeship, in west-central Poland.

Biele [ˈbjɛlɛ] is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Ślesin, within Konin County, Greater Poland Voivodeship, in west-central Poland.

Villages named Biele in Poland are noted by the yellow stars
There is also a range of mountains on the Czech - Slovakia border:

The White Carpathians (Czech: Bílé Karpaty; Slovak: Biele Karpaty; German: Weiße Karpaten;Hungarian: Fehér-Kárpátok) are a mountain range on the border of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, part of the Carpathians.
They are part of the Slovak-Moravian Carpathians, stretching from the Váh river and the Little Carpathians in the south along the border between the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the Morava and the Javorníky range in the north.

Bielefeld is a large city in the state of Nordrhein-Westfalen (North Rhineland - Westphalia) in Germany.  The “feld” in German is “field” in English, but there is no translation of “biele”.  The archivist of Bielefeld did not know either.  He stated that Bielefeld’s name went back to the Middle Ages and there are no records of its origin.

There are also smaller cities in Germany, including Biel and Bielen.