One of the sad aspects of my hobby is that I find so many photographs of babies, couples, families etc., all unidentified. They wind up on ebay, in antique shops, and otherwise available for sale as “vintage ephemera.” It really is sad, when you think about how early photography was not just a simple “point and click” procedure. Studio portraits in the 19th century were carefully set up to emulate painted portraits, and photographers often considered themselves artist, or even came from an artistic background, such as watercolor or oil painting. With the advent of the personal camera it became possible for individuals to take ad hoc photographs of their own subjects, but so often these were not labeled. Following are five photographs from a large packet I bought from ebay. I call them the Mystery Family.
Here is presented the group with the obvious family patriarch seated in the center of the group and probably shows four generations or so. It’s interesting that this particular photo looks a bit like a copy of a copy. I assume that is due to imperfections in the processing at the time.
Here the patriarch is singled out with four younger people. They could be his children & their spouses, or just all his children.
The young girl front left is wearing a really cute pre-teen dress from about the 1900-1920 era. The two older girls are wearing very typical pre 1920 dresses as well.
Another fine grouping of fashions here. The dresses look to be 1900-1910 styles.
While it is difficult to see in this image, the family including a few small children are gathered on the back stoop or side door yard of a fine clapboard house, possibly the same one show in three of the other four photographs. Note the bit of whimsy with the stacked hats in the foreground.
Whoever this family was, they appear to have been close and cherished one another enough to set up these photo ops. I do so wish they had names!
For more mysterious families from around the world, click over to Sepia Saturday. You will be happy you did!