If you’ve spent much time sifting through collections of vintage photographs, no doubt you’ve seen samples of the hand-crafted art of photo colorization. For many decades, various techniques were used to colorize parts of all of a photographic image. When done well, the process created a rich, high-end look that stands the test of time. It is possible to digitally apply these effects to images today, but there’s something about these old photos that make them heirlooms.
As you will see in the gallery below, samples from our photo archive vary in sophistication. Some look almost like watercolor paintings, others like pastels and some appear to be airbrushed.
Marvin R. Treutel, circa 1938.
Helen E. Northcott
The colors used on this image are brighter than most in our collection.
Skin tones were the focus on this portrait. Pictured are Laura Mulqueen, David C. Hanneman and Joe Hanneman.
Most of this photograph of Charles F.C. Hanneman was hand tinted.
This U.S. Marine Corps portrait of Earl J. Mulqueen Jr. looks like colored pencil.
David D. Hanneman’s Boy Scouts uniform, as well as the surrounding grass, received tinting.
Lynne and Richard Hanneman, children of Wilbert G. and Irma Hanneman.
The roses in this bridal portrait of Ruby V. Hanneman were tinted. This digital restoration punched up the colors from the now-faded original from 1925.
This Hanneman family vacation portrait was somewhat clumsily done, with colors spilling onto skin and other areas. At front and center is David D. Hanneman. In the back are Donn G. Hanneman, Ruby V. Hanneman, Carl F. Hanneman and baby Lavonne M. Hanneman. Photo circa 1940.
As many times as I’ve traveled to central Wisconsin, I was not aware of a beautiful, sprawling religious shrine built by a Catholic priest in thanksgiving for having his health restored after a visit to Lourdes, France in the early 1900s. The Rudolph Grotto Gardens near Wisconsin Rapids were the dream fulfilled of Father Philip Wagner, who developed and dedicated the site to the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1927.
I learned of Rudolph Grotto Gardens while researching a photo of my grandmother, Ruby V. Hanneman, standing near a statue of St. Philomena in 1958 or 1959. St. Philomena, who was martyred at age 13, is known as the Patroness of the Living Rosary. Her shrine at Rudolph Grotto Gardens was built in 1957 by Edmund Rybicki, Father Wagner’s right-hand man.
The first grotto shrine at the Rudolph site, dedicated to the Our Lady of Lourdes, was completed in 1928. When a young and sick Philip Wagner visited the famous shrine at Lourdes, he promised the Blessed Virgin Mary that if he were healed of his illnesses so he could become a priest, he would build a shrine to her in America. And so he was healed, and was ordained a priest in 1915. He was assigned to St. Philomena Catholic Church in Rudolph in 1917.
Over the years, the site expanded to include the Stations of the Cross, the Ten Commandments, a Last Supper Shrine, A “Wonder Cave” modeled after the catacombs, a Shrine of the Resurrection, a soldier’s monument and more.
Father Wagner and Rybicki labored on the site for decades. After Father Wagner died in 1959, Rybicki became the site caretaker. In 1961, St. Philomena Church was rededicated and renamed St. Philip the Apostle in honor of Father Philip Wagner. The last project at the grotto gardens was finished in 1983. Read more about the site here.
There are several great things about this image of my Dad and his two siblings, taken in 1956 at Nekoosa, Wisconsin. The colors from the Kodachrome slide film are vivid, from the blue sky to the slicked-back black hair. The clothes are natty and the hairstyles are so 1950s. Right to left are Donn Gene Hanneman (1926-2014), Lavonne (Hanneman) Wellman (1937-1986), and my Dad, David D. Hanneman (1933-2014).
The photo was taken at the home of the trio’s uncle and aunt, Marvin and Mabel Treutel. The occasion was a Treutel family reunion. Their mother and my grandmother, Ruby V. Hanneman (1904-1977), was a Treutel before marrying Grandpa Carl F. Hanneman (1901-1922). It’s sad to think all three of them are gone, but I find comfort in the hope they are together in Heaven.
My Dad’s family made several trips out West, to Arizona and the Dakotas. Sorting out and matching photos with cities has been a constant challenge. A couple of intriguing photos show Dad with a cowboy identified as Hiram Greene. I wondered, was Hiram Greene a famous rodeo rider, a film star or some other celebrity?
My first source of information was the caption on the back of one photo, written by my grandmother, Ruby V. Hanneman. It listed the name “Hiram Greene” and said he was from Billings, Montana. The photo, according to the caption, was taken at Canistota, Minnesota. As it turned out, that caption was problematic in several respects.
I took a chance by doing a generic search engine query and came up empty. I quickly ruled out the idea that Mr. Greene was a major celebrity. Using databases at Ancestry.com, I was unable to find anyone by that name near Billings, Montana. But I did find what appeared to be a good match right in South Dakota, where the Hanneman family vacationed several times in the 1940s.
Hiram Hoyt Greene was a farmer who lived much of his life around Mitchell, S.D. I ran a quick search and discovered the major tourist attraction in Mitchell is the Mitchell Corn Palace, home to world-famous murals made from corn. That quickly rang a bell with me. I had numerous photos of the Hannemans outside the Corn Palace. This led me to conclude that it was possible that Dad met Hiram Greene on the streets of Mitchell. Especially since there is no Canistota, Minnesota. There is a Canistota, S.D., another city the Hanneman family visited on vacation. Canistota is home to the famous Ortman Chiropractic Clinic. I could find no link between Hiram and Canistota, although it is only 40 miles from Mitchell. I took yet another look through the photo library and found an image of the Ortman Clinic. The building next to it appears to match the brick building that Dad and Mr. Greene are standing near. So it was Canistota after all.
According to the 1940 U.S. Census, Hiram Hoyt Greene was a livestock and grain producer. This made sense. A cattle rancher would certainly dress like a cowboy. Perhaps Dad saw Mr. Greene on the street and wanted to have his photo taken with a real cowboy. I wonder if that had happened to Mr. Greene before? I started out looking for a celebrity, but found a regular, hard-working cattle rancher. It was an even better story, in my opinion.
Hiram Hoyt Greene was born in May 1898. At the time of the World War I draft, he was a farmer in Mitchell, S.D. In May 1920, he married May Luella Moe. The couple had nine children. At various times in his working life, Greene farmed and lived in Mitchell, the Town of Beulah and Mount Vernon, South Dakota. He was hospitalized in November 1958, just a day after celebrating the wedding of one of his sons. He died on November 28, 1958 at age 60.
I learned several key lessons from this photo detective assignment. First, it is always a good idea to write down information on the back of photographs. Or in the case of modern digital images, to embed a caption and keywords in the photo files. But you can’t always trust the information on old photo prints. Sometimes captions are written long after the events shown in the photo. Memories can be jumbled, so it is good to check the information and correct it if necessary.
— This post has been updated with more information.
Marvin and Mabel Treutel operated a roadside root beer stand near their home on Wilhorn Road in Nekoosa, Wisconsin. Aside from 5-cent Rochester root beers, they served the “Best Roast Beef BBQ.” Pictured behind the counter in this late-1940s photo are Mabel Treutel (left), niece Lavonne Hanneman (center) and Marvin Treutel (right). Out front are daughters Bonnie Treutel (left), and Patricia Treutel (center, holding dog). The woman at right and the little girl at center are unidentified.
I just learned with sadness of the death of my Dad’s older brother, Donn Gene Hanneman, who died in Minneapolis at age 88. Uncle Donn was the last of the Mauston Hanneman family to pass away. My Dad, David D. Hanneman, died in 2007 at age 74.
I have many memories of my uncle. He was foremost the father of nine wonderful human beings, my cousins Diane, Caroline, Tom, Jane, Mary Ellen, John, Jim, Nancy and Thomas Patrick (March 1-4, 1949). The cousins were raised by a saintly mother, my aunt Elaine Hanneman.
Donn was a veteran of World War II and served as a seaman-second class on the USS Hoggatt Bay. The USS Hoggatt Bay (CVE-75) was a Casablanca-class escort carrier (crew of 860) commissioned in December 1943.
Donn was born on August 20, 1926, in Wisconsin Rapids to Carl Henry Frank Hanneman (1901-1982) and the former Ruby Viola Treutel (1904-1977). In 1936, the Hanneman family moved to Mauston in Juneau County, where Carl took a job as a pharmacist attached to the Mauston hospital and clinic. By that time, my father had come along (March 1933). In August 1937, the family expanded to include Lavonne Marie Hanneman Wellman (1937-1986).
As a boy, Donn had his share of illnesses and injuries. He spent more than a week in the Marshfield hospital in September 1929, then returned there in April 1930. Just before my Dad was born in March 1933, Donn was hospitalized in Wisconsin Rapids for more than a week, after an operation for appendicitis.
Just after his 11th birthday in August 1937, Donn was standing on the running board of a moving vehicle while leaving the Juneau County Fairgrounds when he fell and suffered a head injury. He was seen at the Mauston clinic and taken home, but soon after “lost his power of speech and all consciousness,” according to an account in The Daily Tribune in Wisconsin Rapids. “He was then rushed to the hospital.” Donn was diagnosed with a concussion and put on two weeks of bed rest, although that was extended. The September 8 edition of The Daily Tribune said Donn “is making a satisfactory recovery, although he will be confined to his bed for two more weeks.”
Back in those days, a family’s every move ended up in the newspaper. In the case of the Hannemans, it was thanks to the faithful correspondence of Ruby Hanneman. “Mr. and Mrs. Carl Hanneman and little son Don Gene were completely taken by surprise last evening when forty friends arrived to give them a house warming on the occasion of moving into their new home on Hale Street,” the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune reported on April 8, 1932.
Some of the most charming photographs in our library are of a 5-year-old Donn dressed up as a cowboy playing with friends on the sidewalks on the 1200 block of Washington Avenue in Wisconsin Rapids. We detailed those photos in a previous post.
As a youth Donn enjoyed books, and collected enough that his father built him a bookcase that held up to 175 volumes. Carl wrote to my then 6-year-old father about it in August 1939. Dad was staying with an aunt and uncle in Waukegan, Illinois. “Say David, I made a book case for Donn for his birthday, and you know that you still have something coming,” Carl wrote, “so what would you like to have Dad make something for you too, if so tell mother and I will try to start it as soon as I can.”
For a time Donn attended St. Patrick’s Catholic Grade School in Mauston, then run by the Benedictine Sisters. He was among the graduates attending the school’s 100th anniversary in 1995. At the event, he ran into one of his teachers, Sister Emeric Weber, who was just 19 when she started teaching at St. Patrick’s.
“Sister Emeric, I’m sorry I’m late,” he quipped, to which the aged nun replied, “What’s your excuse now? What’s your excuse?”
Like his brother David and father Carl, Donn was a longtime Fourth-Degree member of the Knights of Columbus, the world’s largest Catholic fraternal and service organization. He most recently belonged to Council 1013 in Rochester, Minnesota.
There are many others better qualified to provide more recent stories about Donn. And even though he tossed my father through the bay window of their Mauston home when they were boys, my Dad didn’t hold it against him. When he was ill with cancer in the fall of 2006, Dad put it simply and succinctly: “He’s my brother and I love him.”
Donn G. Hanneman (center) in his U.S. Navy uniform, with sister Lavonne and brother David in 1944.
David D. Hanneman and older brother Donn G. Hanneman, circa 1935. Read more about the photo: http://wp.me/p4FxQb-v7
Donn G. Hanneman lounges outside his Grandpa Treutel’s home in Vesper, Wisconsin, circa 1930.
Donn G. Hanneman in the world’s smallest swimming pool.
Donn at the family home in Fond du Lac.
Donn Gene Hanneman, son of Carl F. Hanneman (1901-1982) and Ruby V. (Treutel) Hanneman (1904-1977), sits in an indoor baby swing at the Hanneman home in Fond du Lac, Wis, ca. 1927. Carl Hanneman was a pharmacist for the Staeben Drug Co. in Fond du Lac at the time.
Donn in his cowboy threads at Wisconsin Rapids.
Donn G. Hanneman wears a convincing looking police uniform, perhaps a Halloween costume.
Donn G. Hanneman looks like a lonely cowpoke with his wagon, circa 1930.
David D. Hanneman on the shoulders of brother Donn.
Donn G. Hanneman towers over his little sister, Lavonne Marie, circa 1941.
Donn G. Hanneman at the Mauston rail station, circa 1944.
Donn G. Hanneman in his U.S. Navy uniform in 1944.