The Great War in Stereoviews

Back to:     Home    French Stereoviews    Brentano's/Over There Group

Brentano’s/Over There Group Title Bars

            There are distinct types within the group of glass stereographs associated with Brentano’s, and Over There Review, Inc., an American retailer. They are arbitrarily designated Types I, II, and III.

Type Description
I

Stereoviews of this type have wide, clear centers that were typical of the small format camera. The distinctive rectangular cutouts were artifacts from the camera, although medium format views often showed similar cutouts.  Most views of this type also have narrow black bars at top and/or bottom that probably reflect the part of the plate that was not exposed through the lens.  The varied positions of the bars and sizes of cutouts indicate these features were due to plate placement within the camera, not reproduction equipment.  All Type I views were 45x107.  Sometimes views of this type were altered into other types.  A range of examples is shown below.

Titles and numbers were written on bottom and top in different styles, reflecting individual writers.  If no bars were present, the information was placed directly on the images.  If bars were present, writers usually tried to fit the description into that space.  At least three or four different writers appear to have been involved.

This type had characteristic 2-, 3-, 4-, and 5-digit numbers, but not all were numbered.  Series names, e.g., Artois, Verdun, and Allemand, were often applied as well.

No bars; description placed directly upon images.

3071 Bombarde Région des Monts

Trench Mortar Shells Region of the Mountains (Champagne)

Description fits within bottom bars.

4023 Cathédrale de Reims

Reims Cathedral

Number is within the bar, but the writer could not fit the text in.

23252 Retraite vers Dormans

Retreat towards Dormans

Bar at top, description fit into the space.

4027 Marne 1914 Cadavres de Zouaves

Marne 1914 Bodies of the Zouaves

This image would not have been cleared for wartime publication.

Bars top and bottom used for description.

23249 Igny-le-Jard L'Évacuation

Igny-le-Jard The Evacuation

Left top bar and right bottom bar used.

23609 Régiment Hindou

Hindu Regiment

II

The second type has handwritten titles in the clear center. They may or may not have cutouts and often have traces of the black lines at top and/or bottom. Alterations to the image and handwritten descriptions made many Type I stereoviews into Type II. Minor differences in penmanship and wording evident in otherwise identical views show that each view was titled by hand.

Black bars top, traces of cutouts, and remnants of title and number beneath whiteout mark this slide as originally a Type I.

Explosion d'un 420 à Nieuport

Explosion of a 420 (shell) at Nieuport

The top view (223) has a handwritten title in center and appears to be a Type II, but it has traces of bars at bottom.  The bottom view (167) is Type I; it shows the same guard mount, but the soldiers are at Present Arms instead of Shoulder Arms. This shows that 223 was cropped to eliminate the bars and cutouts typical of Type I.  Other examples of such cropping are known.

223 Berlin 1914 Rèleve de la garde

Berlin 1914 Relief of the guard

167 Berlin La rèleve de la garde

Berlin Relief of the guard

Handwritten titles in the center of 6x13 slides were always oriented vertically, since the center space was much narrower.

Ste Marie à Py tranchée conquise

Ste Marie à Py Conquered trench

Handwritten titles were often written vertically on 45x107 slides as well, especially when the title contained a long word.

Un américain au fortin de Beausejour

An American at the small fort of Beausejour

III

The third type had a printed center title bar, probably to save handwriting the title on each slide.  There are numerous title bar styles, which fall into the four principal varieties below.  Title bars were used on both medium and small slide formats.

IIIa

Handwritten title bar with or without a number.  The variety of styles shows the bars were written by different people.

Several different 3-, 4-, and 5-digit number series were used, probably indicating different photographers.  Some had letter prefixes.

The 8xxx series cannot be confused with LSU 8xxx series title bars, which consistently have a different appearance. The block printing in the examples below are typical.

Brentano's:

LSU:

IIIb

Neatly lettered with the number preceded by a “No.
IIIc

Black-on-white machine font with an “A” or “S” prefix.
IIId

Light-on-dark machine font, usually upper and lower case, various prefixes including “S”.  These bars are seen on both 6x13 and 45x107 formats, but are more characteristic of the former.  When used on 45x107 slides, clear areas on either side of the title bar were usually created.

 These title bars tend to be exceptionally dark, so the images at left were enhanced.

 

Below is an example of one image known in all three types.  Presumably it started life as Type I, then was cropped to have a clear center with handwritten title (II), and finally had a title bar added (III). While it cannot be proven with currently available information, it is likely that this example shows evolution and that title bars are characteristic of later slides, with typed font title bars being the latest.  The image numbers in title bars may reflect original sources of the images. This example is one of a mini-series of six images of the battle for Courcelles; all the views are common and reflect the full variation of titling.

Pleine Attaque Courcelles 1918

Main Attack Courcelles 1918

Un episode de la prise de Courcelles en 1918

An episode from the price of Courcelles in 1918

3903 Prise de Courcelles Juin 1918

Price of Courcelles June 1918

A group of almost 900 Brentano's 45x107mm stereoviews had the distribution of label types shown below. This distribution is typical of large groups of views from this manufacturer.

Distribution of Types

Total slides (inc. duplicates): 881  
Type I:  331 (37.5%)  
  —Info mainly at bottom:              280 (84.5% of group)
  —Info mainly at top:                       45 (13.5% of group)
  —Type I cut down to Type II:            6   (2% of group
Type II: 443 (50%)  
Type III: 104 (12%)  
  —O3a:   70 (67% of group)
  —O3b:     6 (  6% of group)
  —O3c:   11 (11% of group)
  —O3d:   17 (16% of group)
No Title:     3 (00.5%)  

Copyright © 2007 Great War Photos. All rights reserved