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Mystery Picture

Eva found the picture below still hanging on the wall of her Grandmother Harlan's house. The house had been sitting empty for at least 16 years. Eva says she remembers the picture from when she was a little girl. So we know it had been hanging on that wall for at least 50 years and probably quite a bit longer. Eva says she thinks she remembers that the picture was in some way associated with some soap product.

We found the picture interesting. We hope you do too.

Here are a few projects and thoughts for our visitors:

87K picture

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We will add the most interesting comments we receive to this page.

Comments Received:

I have both pictures, mother goose & the merry-go-round my mother said it was her grandmothers pictures she wrote to the Swan Soap company & they sent her the prints my Mother is 58 years old & she said they were in her Grannys house as long as she can remember & befor Mother has 2 older brothers in their mid 60's & they were there then. Does anyone knoe how old they are? thanks

Sender: April B Smith in Alabama

I have the same picture, another by the same artists the babies are on a merry-go-round jumping off in a tub of soap suds. I have the tubing it came in also the little certificates . It was made by Levers Bros. for Swan floating soap. I have two cert. one saying 'here is your Swan baby picture hope it brings your lots of smiles and chuckles, Your friend Mrs. Swanny is certainly more than busy with her adorable brood! goes on to tell who the artists are, Louise Rumely and Albert Stachle, it is printed on art paper. The other said they were sorry it took so long to get it because paper shortage and transportation difficulties replacements have been extremely hard to obtain.

Sender: Hayward Hite

I am responding to your request for info on your mystery print. This was one of several prints from original artwork by Albert Staehle (who did the swans) and Louise Rumely (who painted the babies) as part of an advertising promotion in the 1940s for Swan Soap. I have one of the prints in my Albert Staehle collection and they show up from time to time on eBay. I am writing a book about Albert Staehle and his cocker spaniel "Butch."

Sender: Sharon Damkaer

The mystery picture is an old magazine ad for Swan Soap from the early 1940's. There was a whole series of these delightful ads featuring lots of cute bare babies usually by the same artist. If you do a search on ebay in the vintage paper section you'll find frequent listing for the ads; that way you could get the exact date of the ad. Hope I've been helpful.

Sender: Meg Gilbert

I remember the Swan Babies pictures. My mother ordered them when I was very young. As I remember, she sent wrappers from the soap and received the posters. Somehow they got lost and I have always wanted to replace them. The one I remember is of the babies sliding off the swan's back and there was lots of bubbles. If you know where I could find copies of these pictures at a reasonable price, please contact me. Thanks for hosting the web site. Maybe I can find a piece of my past.

Sender: Joan Cox

In reference to the "mystery picture" of babies in a shoe. I found two in a yard sale. They are apparently the third and fourth in a series of at least four annual prints first published in 1942. One of these is babies on a carrousel and the other is babies on a sailboat. A slip of paper is in each of the origional tubes that my pictures are in. The papers say the prints were a joint production of two artists, Louise Rumely, known for paintings of babies, and Albert Staehle, known for paintings of birds. "Lever Brothers Company makers of Swan Floating Soap" and "Swan's baby-mild for everything-pure as fine castiles." are also printed on the paper. Any additional information would be greatly appreciated.

By the way, these are available if anyone wants them.

Sender: Michael Graham

Hi there is 25 babies in the picture, I dont know the history to help you out but it is absolutley adorable. By the way you guy's have done a great job on this web site, I love the new and old pictures of Breathitt County. Keep up the good work.

Sender: GTBUGGSY526@aol.com

i have looked thru 100's of web pages looking for this picture..this picture was hanging in my grandmothers attic (where all us kids slept) in kings mills ohio..but here's the kicker..my grandparents were from breathitt co ky!!!!..jessie jane strong and arco benjamin miller...small small world huh?

Sender: wonderdov ^v^

I have a picture along the same line that I am trying to find out about.
I am 63 years young or old depends on how you want to look at it.
When my mother was expecting me, she saved wrappers off of bar soap to get the picture. My picture has the same babies playing on a carrousel, there is also an old wash tub in front of the carrousel with babies in it.
Any information would really be helpful.

Sender: grannyjo@flash.net


This picture is of the "Swan Babies," from the Swan Soap advertisements dating back to the 1940s. At one time there was an ad campaign to send in box tops to get a picture. I have the one, it is of the babies playing in a pool & on a merry-go round of swans. My grandmother had ordered it when my dad was a baby in 1941. The ads were on the "The Gracie Allen & George Burns Show" on CBS. There were lots of magazine ads featuring the babies.

Here is an ad through "eBay", if you would like to see it.

29K picture

Sender: Crispwhc@aol.com.

I too remember the picture from my childhood. It was published in my mother's nursery rhyme book. She was born in 1954. I'll see if she can look at home and see who put the book out and what year it was published.

Sender: Rebecca Kiester.

At one time I had this same old print. About 16 years ago I found it in an old house built in 1911 in Hopkinsville, Ky. The colors were pretty and I had it framed and matted and gave it to my 1st grandchild who will soon be 16. I do not know the story on the print, I don't think that mine was part of a calendar but might have been. I think it had something to do with swan soap powder.

Sender: Lois Bond Ringham.

The babies in a shoe was really a joy for me. We are expecting our first grandchild any day now. We know that it will be a boy. But we'd take anything that we get because the day that my daughter and son-in-law got married they found out that he had cancer. After all the radiation and chemo. we were told that they may not be able to have a baby.. Your pictures are a real welcome to me because of the memories that it bring back to me. thanks

Sender: Pat Trent.

Thank you for an enjoyable visit to your site.

I am going to share this picture with my parents as I feel I have seen it before as a child.

Again thank you for your efforts and lovely website

Sender: airspares

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