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Here's a mystery for the militaria grognards

The scene: a lady paging through her family albums chances upon an old photo that piques her curiosity.

Several young men in uniform, possibly 19th Century European, are joyously posing for the camera with -- banjos and ukeleles.

They have billed caps, and the insignias thereon appear to have been either removed, or cut off.

I did a double-take when I saw the chevrons.

I made a guess, and I have a couple more, but they are only guesses, and there are a lot of 'way-more-smarterer-than-me of you out there.

Oh, yeah -- you have to leave your answer at *her* place, because there's cake involved.

A mystery, a chance to impress a Lady, and cake -- why are you still here, reading this?


That's the original Singing Telegram Troubadours from Tirol.
Yeah, I *know* you said I *have* to answer over there.  Pretty much guaranteeing that that ain't happening.

*Ditto* Sly about posting there.

But, they look like the folks in the ads for Norwich Military Academy.
My thought was Bandsmen from Norwich or Citadel.
I was surprised, to recently learn that up until 1913 all male students at The University of Maryland were compelled to be part of the Corps of Cadets. They were not expected to join the Army upon graduation. They just had to be in uniform and drill all throughout their college career.

I latter learnt that this tradition was prevalent in the land grant universities of The South, and became popular in the post Civil War era. I guess that the universities of the time wanted to have abled bodied men capable of leading their country-folk into battle, just in case those "dammedyankees" decided to restart their war of oppression against their beloved dixieland.

Look at THIS, THIS, THIS, THIS, THIS and THIS pictures.

My guess is that Susan's picture was taken in one of these southern schools during that era.
I'll go with Norwich. A couple of them are wearing leather gloves and the scamp with the grin wearing the civvie sheepskin coat tells me it was chilly when the pic was snapped, and Con-netty-cut can be downright *brisk* during graduation time...
The cast iron spiral staircase and granite(?) building may suggest a location.

The caps seem to have a lyre (harp thingy) on them confirming bandsmen of some sort.

I would agree some sort of military school/corps of cadets other than USMA, but probably American circa 1890-1917.
 Norwich is in "Con-netty-cut"?

Norwich is in Vermont. I called the commandant's office, and with any luck, the nice lady from Archives will tell me yay or nay. But of course, I will post  the Big Reveal (if I get one) at my place. Nobody tell Sly or Kevin... make them look for themselves, even if they don't want to comment <grin>

OK, back to baking. This time I'm giving cakes for effort. Lotta batter in the kitchen....
i posted my 2cents worth of guesswork over there.
And it made me bust a gut laughing out loud. Seriously. "Kimchi squat dude?" "Ukelele Boy?" Good thing I'd already put down the coffee cup....
 WE know Norwich is in Vermont; you get to tell Bill.

And the Armourer's substance encompasses more than just cake batter.

Yup, Norwich *is* in Vermont. I was multi-tasking and had a synapse slip when New Hootchmate started talking about seeing a boomer visit Groton.
"I was multi-tasking and had a synapse slip..."

'Tis a shame, considering all you have to go through to get one to fire in the first place.
*skipping away under the cover of large, heavily canopied trees*
Yer lucky that the diorama of "Sherman Crossing the Alps" still needs some fine-tuning, young lady.

And I'm pondering the use of *real* snow. To increase the elevation of the dizzying heights, yanno...
The more I look into this, the more I'm convinced these are not cadets at a college level institution like Norwich, VMI, the Citadel, etc.

Because of the age of the cadets and the fact that 2 of them are wearing knee-high knickers, I think they are from a high school military prep school of some sort.

The photo at this link shows the dress uniforms of the present-day New York Military Academy. The stripes look almost identical to those in the Katz/Meyers pic, especially the sleeve cuff piping where more senior officers have 2 stripes and more junior cadets have just one:

But because NYMA is at "Cornwall on Hudson", which is a little further north from the Plainfield/Neptune NJ area where the family settled, I think it's possible that these cadets may have been attending a now defunct military prep school in NJ ... namely, either the Freehold Military School or (more likely) the New Jersey Military Academy in Sea Girt, NJ, just south of Neptune.

However, I've been unable to locate any pics of the NJMA or Freehold, or a link to anything to substantiate this further.
"And I'm pondering the use of *real* snow."

Heh, like that scares me.  After the frozen icing debacle, I had my Wardrobe Mistress do a little extra shopping for the next scene.  Where she found that in Hawaii, I have no idea. Although, I was originally concerned that she might come back with something like this.
Not the right construction materials for the NJMA -- the permanent buildings were brick, except for the theater, which was wood.
Bill, you're probably more familiar with the Sea Girt area, and I think I was wrong when I mentioned the NJMA where there now seems to be some sort of joint Nat'l Guard, NJ State Police/whatever else facility.

Apparently, in Freehold, NJ, there were 2 military prep schools that were either co-located or close to each other ..... the Freehold Military School and the New Jersey Military Academy. This NJMA is different from the one in Sea Girt. Both of these 2 schools are no longer open.


"The map also identifies some of the borough’s early private schools at South and Institute streets, schools which no longer exist, including the Freehold Institute, which was run as a leading boys private school from 1848 until the 1890s. From 1900 until 1947, it was the site of the New Jersey Military Academy. The St. Rose of Lima School is now located on the site. "

Oh, well ... I think Freehold  / NJMA is a dead-end.  Found some old postcard photos, and the building styles are too different.

 With a Va. connection, Augusta, Staunton, Fishburn and Fork Union come immediately to mind for military prep.
Fishburn and Fork sounds like the name of a vaudeville act...
"Fishburn and Fork sounds like the name of a vaudeville act..."

....from your misspent yout'?