Thursday, February 28, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday ~ The Traveling Dentist's Business Card

Last week I shared with my readers the Doctor of Dental Surgery Diploma which was awarded to my Great-Grandfather, Frederick Emory Webster in 1896.

Today I have another treasure to share with you.  It's Frederick Emory Webster's business card.  This little gem was included in a bag of photos my mom brought over to me.  I wish I knew just how old this business card is.  I know it's at least 67 years old because Frederick died on July 21, 1946 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Frederick E. Webster Business Card

It looks like Frederick, or "Frederico" in Portuguese, had a business partner, a Mr. Benjamin Tomas.

Frederick and Benjamin's business was in Santos, Brazil.  This business card is written in Portuguese, and I neither read nor speak Portuguese.  But my mom does, so I asked her to translate this for me.

Escriptorio Commercial, Cartas
de Chamadas, Naturalizacao,
Certificados, de Reservista, e Licencas em geral.

Das 8:30 as 12: e
Das 14: as 17: hrs.

Praca Ruy Barbosa 14, 2 andar,


Commercial Office, Calling Cards,
Certificate of Reservist and Licensing in general.

Office Hours
From 8:30 to 12:00 and
From 2:00 to 5:00

Praca Rui Barbosa 14, 2nd floor,

Well, this is a rather surprising translation.  Why?  Because I thought this business card was for Frederick's dental practice.  But, according to this business card, it seems that Frederick was involved in another type of business venture as well.  And I'm not really sure what kind of business it was.  Calling cards, naturalization, licensing, etc.?    It's a mystery to me.  But, whatever kind of business it was, it appears that Frederick had a side business in addition to his dental practice.

I shouldn't be surprised that Frederick was involved in more than just dentistry.  After all, he did have an Optical Boat and a Photo Boat docked next to his Dental Boat.  And speaking of his Dental Boat, have you seen the photos of the shark hanging in front of the Dental Boat yet?  Whoever caught that shark must have had a great fish story to tell!

Oh, Great-Grandpa Frederick!  You were such an interesting and colorful character.

Thanks for reading!


© 2013 Copyright by Jana Last


  1. Jana: Isn't it great to learn about ancestors well before our time? One of my great grandfathers ran a very successful liquor and bottling business in Providence. My great grandfather and his wife were both born in Germany and came to the US as adults. It is probably the reason I took German in school and I wish I could have met them and tried out some German with them. I posted his business card in late January as the first of my "Friday Fotos" series.

    On translation of your great grandfather's card, it is nice your mother could translate for you. Do you know about Google Translate? I have used it with a Swedish friend and to translate some German documents i had. It's far from perfect but it sure gives the essence of what its being said. It is access from the Google main page under the "More" drop down.

    Thoughts on what the card is saying. Mr. Tomas is not designated as a "Dr." as your grandfather is and I agree the translation is not about dental services. As a lawyer, I suspect that there is a good possibility that your grandfathered had partnered with a lawyer, Mr. Tomas, to leverage business with his dental patients on matters related to legal matters like naturalization and licenses. The business cards are a mystery if it means strictly what we think of -- the cards themselves such as your great grandfather's and the one used by mine. Maybe your great grandfather agreed to funnel patient legal business to Mr. Tomas, but wanted some of the action so they formed a partnership. The top billing your great grandfather has wold support this theory. :-)

    1. Hi John,

      It really is so fun and interesting to learn about ancestors. My mom was born in Brazil and she and her family immigrated to the United States in 1952. I wish I had been taught Portuguese, but alas, I wasn't. I did hear it spoken around me when I was a kid at those times when my grandparents visited, which was cool.

      I do know about Google Translate. And I actually used it first to try and translate this business card. But, since I had access to someone who actually spoke the language, I turned to my mom for translation help.

      You pose a very interesting theory regarding Fred's side business. Wow! Thanks for your input on this.

  2. Too bad your Great Grandpa Frederick couldn't have met my Grandma Loraine - they both kept lots of treasures for us!

    1. Hi Debi,

      Aww, that's awesome! So you have family history treasures too. I'm both amazed and thankful that my ancestors kept these treasures for their descendants to enjoy.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  3. Certificados can also mean certified. So I wonder if they were notary publics.

    1. Hi Wendy,

      Wow! Thanks so much for this info. This is a good theory. Very interesting. Both you and John have given me great ideas as to just what Fred's side business was. Thanks!!

  4. Cool. And mysterious, at least to me. I've never heard of a "naturalization" business card -- this card caused me to look up "naturalization," which means what I thought -- the process of becoming a citizen. Maybe citizenship was handled differently in Brazil, or maybe this was just getting official papers signed, like a notary. Fred was a character of many talents!

    1. Hi Mariann,

      Oh yes, Fred was definitely an interesting character. He continues to supply me with surprises.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog post and for your comments!




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