Older New York Couple

photo-36

I find this photo to be quite unusual, in that the couple has some clothing that is different from what we consider the “norm” in antique photos. The lady looks world weary, doesn’t she? The poor thing looks beat down, really, maybe from child rearing or illness, who knows. Her dress hangs like a bag on her, making it look like she has a big gut and no bosom. The wide lace collar doesn’t do much to dress up the ugly bodice of her dress.The gentleman has an interesting hat, one which I tend to associate with the Orthodox Greek tradition for some reason. His coat looks worn and boy does he look tired. His tie is in a modern Windsor knot style.

The photo itself is in fair condition and the bristol board is worn, broken and damaged in several areas. It was not well loved and preserved for some reason.

The photographer is Horn’s Studio at 1684 Madison Ave, New York. The location is just two blocks from Central Park North and Fifth Ave, in Manhattan. The location is north of the advertising district made famous in recent years by the television show Mad Men. I couldn’t find anything on the photographer with a brief search on Google; I just don’t have the time this morning.

What do you think about this photo and the couple pictured?

UPDATE: Thanks to insightful reader input, this photo is probably of a Jewish couple. “East Harlem was where the second largest number of Jews from Eastern Europe lived at the time next to the Lower East Side which had the largest population. She, of course, is not wearing a corset–not surprising for an immigrant woman. And his hat differs a little bit from the Greek Orthodox ones. It’s called a High Kippah and is worn most often by older men.”

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ava (Sherlock) Cohn
    Mar 22, 2013 @ 13:39:20

    Unless you have other information that this couple is Greek, I believe they may be a Jewish couple. I located the photo studio address between Central Park North and East Harlem, near East 112th Street. East Harlem was where the second largest number of Jews from Eastern Europe lived at the time next to the Lower East Side which had the largest population. She, of course, is not wearing a corset–not surprising for an immigrant woman. And his hat differs a little bit from the Greek Orthodox ones. It’s called a High Kippah and is worn most often by older men. Hope this helps you. I can’t resist a good mystery.

    Reply

  2. Peggy Feltmate
    Mar 23, 2013 @ 10:42:00

    I agree with Ava. I have just been doing a lot of research on my husband’s family who immigrated to NYC from Eastern Europe in this time period and settled on the Lower East Side and from there moved up to East Harlem. The clothing, as Ava says, is in keeping with the Eastern European Jewish immigrants. I am happy to be Watson to Ava’s Sherlock.

    Reply

  3. Peggy Feltmate
    Mar 23, 2013 @ 10:49:08

    By the way, it is possible that the fact that the photo survived at all may be an indication that it WAS well-loved. In the crowded tenements of Manhattan at that time, working from dawn to dusk in the garment sweat shops and strangers boarding in your tiny apartment and a ton of kids running about, how many pictures fell into the fire or into the hands of a tantrum-throwing toddler! This one was rescued!

    Reply

  4. Peggy Feltmate
    Mar 23, 2013 @ 10:52:46

    Ava, maybe we’re related. My husband had a great-uncle Avie (Avraham) Cohen, although the name in the old country was Kogen. My husband’s father formally changed the name from Cohen back to its original Kogen in the 1940s. I wonder how many hundreds maybe thousands of Avie Cohens there were in Manhattan at the time this photo was taken!

    Reply

    • Ava (Sherlock) Cohn
      Mar 24, 2013 @ 09:05:44

      Thanks, Watson! Don’t know if we’re related. My Cohns came from Romania. I too had an Abraham Cohen in my family. I think Kogen may be a German version of the name. Hardest name possible to trace because there are so many Cohens. But keep up your searches anyway. You’re bound to find some links.

      Reply

  5. Mrs Marvel
    Mar 23, 2013 @ 11:05:09

    Thank you both for your insight and input! It is really valuable for someone like me who has never set foot in the wilds of Manhattan, lol. New York history is not my strong suit. :-)

    Reply

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