More Photos!

Here are a few more photos from the second, recently discovered “Mystery Dancer” photo album. Enjoy!

The new neighbor. 516 Jones Street, San Francisco.

The new neighbor. 516 Jones Street, San Francisco.

Above, Alfred and Clara Cheshire (bending over the carriage) introduce baby Ursula to the neighborhood kiddos. They, and one of Ursula’s aunts, are in front of the house where Ursula was born in 1902: 516 Jones Street near Geary. The house burned in 1906, the year of the great earthquake and fires.

Alfred, Ursula and Clara are at the top of the steps under the canapy of wisteria.

Alfred, Ursula and Clara are at the top of the steps under the canapy of wisteria.

A family affair, on the steps of the Uphoff family home in Grass Valley, where Ursula’s mother, Clara Uphoff Cheshire, grew up.

Conservatory, Golden Gate Park

Conservatory, Golden Gate Park

Described as a “gem of Victorian architecture,” the Conservatory of Flowers today is the oldest public wood-and-glass conservatory in North America. It opened to the public in 1879, and, according to the Conservatory’s website, “was an instant sensation and quickly became the most visited location in the park.

Clara, Alfred and Ursula Cheshire, and aunts Jeannette and Mathilde.

Clara, Alfred and Ursula Cheshire, and aunts Jeannette and Mathilde.

Fabulous dresses!

Fabulous dresses!

First run of the electric car between Grass Valley and Nevada City, CA

First run of the electric car between Grass Valley and Nevada City, CA

The handwritten caption under this photo says it was the first run of the electric car between Grass Valley (where Ursula’s mother grew up) and Nevada City, California. According to Wikipedia, the Nevada County Traction Company constructed the electrified railway in 1901; it covered a total of about 6 miles of track using streetcar technology.

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Photo Feature

The discovery of the second photo album came at an auspicious moment. I have been so busy with my “day job” that I have not had much time to spend researching and writing the continuation of Ursula’s story at UC Berkeley and beyond. Finding this album allows me to stick to my posting schedule of every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month: when I don’t have time to research and write, I will just post a few random photos from the new album. Enjoy!

In black: Grandma and Grandpa Uphoff. In white, seated in chairs: Alfred, Clara and baby Ursula; and Ursula's aunts

In black: Grandma and Grandpa Uphoff. In white, seated in chairs: Alfred, Clara and baby Ursula; and Ursula’s aunts

Left to right: Aunts Mathilde and Jeannette, mother Clara, and little Ursula. Golden Gate Park?

Left to right: Aunts Mathilde and Jeannette, mother Clara, and little Ursula. Golden Gate Park?

Left to right: At the beach with father Alfred, two aunts (most likely Mathilde and Jeannette), Uncle Charles, cousin Marion, mother Clara, and Ursula

Left to right: At the beach with father Alfred, two aunts (most likely Mathilde and Jeannette), Uncle Charles, cousin Marion, mother Clara, and Ursula

Ursula and Clara in Grass Valley Garden. Ursula's father had just recently died.

Ursula and Clara in Grass Valley Garden. Ursula’s father had just recently died.

Thomas Taylor Drill's Children's Choir. Ursula is in the front row, center.

Thomas Taylor Drill’s Children’s Choir. Ursula is in the front row, center.

 

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A Surprise Discovery Marks 1st Anniversary of ‘Mystery Dancer’

Ursula and her parents on San Leandro Bay (San Francisco)

Ursula and her parents on San Leandro Bay (San Francisco)

Guess what? MysteryDancer.net just marked its first anniversary. When I started this blog, I had no idea what, if anything, I would find out about Ursula and her family. It turns out quite a lot, and there is more to come!

I also had no idea I would enjoy this project so much. I love researching Ursula’s life and times, and sharing her story and photos with you, my readers. Thank you for coming along for the ride.

Two-year-old Ursula and mother Clara

Two-year-old Ursula and mother Clara

Now I have a tale of synchronicity and surprise for you. You may recall that I started this blog and my “search” for Ursula after buying an antique photo album at last year’s Leiper’s Fork yard sale from Yeoman’s in the Fork, a rare book and document gallery that had participated in the community event.

Just this past weekend, my husband, Michael, and I were visiting Leiper’s Fork again, after having gone to a nearby vintage and antique “pop-up” event. It was a brief stop to re-fuel ourselves and check out a gallery or two. We were pooped, so didn’t stay long before heading for home. As we pulled out of our parking spot, it crossed my mind to stop by Yoeman’s in the Fork just for fun, but I quickly dismissed the thought because we were tired and the store was in the opposite direction of home, a 45-minute drive.

Apparently, I was even too tired to check e-mail on my iPhone. If I had, we would have zipped over to the bookstore in a heartbeat. For when I got home and opened my e-mail on the computer, there was a message from Mike Cotter, Yeoman’s in the Fork’s director of operations.

“Ursula…” read the subject line. After a brief moment of curiosity (“Hmm,” I thought, “Is he writing to me about a recent Mystery Dancer post?”), I opened the e-mail. There, to my shock and amazement, were the words:

“Elizabeth,
I just turned up an entirely new photograph album that belonged to Ursula!”

At Yeoman's in the Fork: Mike Cotter and me holding the newly discovered album and loose photos

At Yeoman’s in the Fork: Mike Cotter and me holding the newly discovered album and loose photos

Wow! I couldn’t believe it, and I couldn’t wait to see it. The very next day, Michael and I headed once again for Leiper’s Fork, this time expressly to stop at the bookstore.

When we got there, Mike Cotter retrieved the album from the back and set it gingerly on the countertop. About 10 inches wide by 6 ½ inches tall, it is bound by string in what looks like a homemade, soft leather cover with flowers, leaves and the word “Photos” outlined in pen. Inside are dozens of variously-shaped photos glued onto pages of black construction paper. They are images of Ursula and her family engaged in many different outdoor activities, as well as scenic shots taken around Grass Valley, California, where Ursula’s mother grew up, and San Francisco.

Needless to say, I bought the photo album, which, along with the first album, as I learned from Mike, was part of a 2-semi-trucks-worth collection of books and documents that Yoeman’s bought five years ago from an estate in Virginia. What a wonderful, and serendipitous, anniversary “gift” to celebrate the birth of Mystery Dancer!

I will share many of the photos with you in future blog posts, but for now, this post includes just a few of the highlights from the newly purchased album. And who knows? Yoeman’s is still processing the collection, so it’s possible yet another Ursula album will turn up!

Ursula and her dollies outside the Cheshires' Los Angeles home

Ursula and her dollies outside the Cheshires’ Los Angeles home

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