Pic of the Week (#125) - Jim Nailer and His Awesome Hat

Every Friday The Psychogenealogist shares a "Pic of the Week." The intent is to encourage thought and imagination about the spaces where psychology, genealogy, and history converge.

The knot in this gentleman’s necktie is almost as large as his hat! I was struck by both when I found this antique photograph on eBay. The bottom of the front says “Thompson & Audas” and “Crowle”.


Written in pencil on the back is:

Jim Nailer

Clear Lake, IA

There is a also a repeated mention of “Thompson & Audas” and “Crowle” along with a logo design and “Photographic Artists”.


I am doing some very basic research on ancestry about possible matches. One of the first entries that comes up on Ancestry is of a George “Jim” Dwight Nailer who is said to have lived from 1887-1958. I think there is a striking resemblance between the two men, but I am not sure if they are the same. The man in the second photo is listed as from Battle Creek, Iowa, only a few hours from Clear Lake.

Do you think this is the same man?

Jim Nailer.jpg

The original eBay listing had the following information:

1800s CDV Carte de visite Photograph Man GREAT HAT Crowle UK Clear Lake IA w4190

I had a difficult time finding any information about “Thompson & Audas” but did find one other example of a similar photograph:

It does seem that this photographer was from the United Kingdom (Crowle). And, given the type of photo (a carte de visite) the time frame doesn’t quite fit the information about the George “Jim” Nailer described above. Plus, that Jim is from Iowa and there is no reference I can find to the U.K.


  • Who is Jim Nailer and what is his story?

  • Are the side by side “Jims” the same man?

  • What can you learn about “Thompson & Audas”?

  • What sort of hat is that?

  • When, where, and why was this photograph taken?

  • How did it end up on eBay?

  • What do you think, feel, a wonder about as you look at the photo?

I would love to hear your thoughts about these questions or other ideas that occur to you about the photograph. Please feel to leave a comment below!

Do you need some help finding or telling your family stories? I would be honored to help you. Click below to learn more.