Edith A Nunn


Bicycle girl

For this week’s Sepia Saturday, I am posting a photo that I’ve been holding onto for weeks! This is my great grandmother, Edith A Nunn. My dad tells me that Ama, as she was called, was tiny, maybe just around 5 feet tall. You can tell she isn’t much bigger than the bicycle she has posed with. It’s ironic because I am 6 feet tall and one of my cousins is 6′ 5″. Amazing what a century of health and nutrition will do for a family!

Edith was born in 1871 in the Sheldon family descended via the McKinstrys and Coles from the Mayflower family of Stephen Hopkins. I don’t know if it meant all that much to her family, but we do have a very old family tree, written in red ink for some reason, charting out the lineage. I suppose I could use that to apply for membership in the Mayflower descendants club or whatever it is called, but honestly the last thing I need is another hobby, lol.

So, Edith lived from 1871 to 1944. A while back I posted a photograph of her husband, Albert E. Nunn (Apa) with his brother Herb and sister Lizzie. That particular photograph led an online friend and fellow old photograph collector to speak with her neighbor, who happened to also be related to the Nunn family via another brother. Small world! Edith had five children, three singles and a set of twins. Sadly, one of the twins died at age three.

Margaret & Mildred

Margaret & Mildred

This photo came with a little story. You will notice that one girl has her hem pulled down while the other’s is up and showing the ruffles. As the photographer was setting up the photo, Apa pulled the dress on the left down to match the other dress and at the same time Ama raised the dress on the right. Neither one caught what had happened and the photo was shot as we see it.

For more photos of people with bicycles and other things from around the world, click over to Sepia Saturday. You will be happy you did!

Two wheeled adventurers

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This post is being reblogged as part of the Sepia Saturday 200th blogiversary! All the posts submitted this week will be included in a Sepia Saturday book to be published some time later this year. Please show your support to other Sepians by clicking through and visiting their sites. It is an honor to be included in such an interesting, prolific group!!

Happy blogiversary to youuuuuu!


35 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Wendy
    Feb 02, 2013 @ 05:49:57

    Did she ride that bike? It looks like she couldn’t have reached the pedals.


  2. TONY
    Feb 02, 2013 @ 06:24:47

    Your Family Is Going Up In The World!
    I wonder how she (or any other woman) could cycle in a frock as long as that?


  3. Bob Scotney
    Feb 02, 2013 @ 07:03:41

    Descended from the Mayflower families must be an honour, surely? I would have expected you to ‘join’ club.


    • Mrs Marvel
      Feb 06, 2013 @ 21:46:31

      The Mayflower families were prolific to say the least! Several generations of Coles had at least 10 children, so the “cachet” is a bit diluted for some. :-)


  4. postcardy
    Feb 02, 2013 @ 09:44:20

    Both photos are great and even better since they are from your own family.


  5. Monica T.
    Feb 02, 2013 @ 10:41:47

    I would not have guessed from the photo that she was that short, to me the bicycle seems to be in proportion. Wonderful post.


  6. Peter Miebies (@patmcast)
    Feb 02, 2013 @ 11:01:41

    I’m with Monica. I think she is 5′ 6″ at least. And I know people who would kill for Mayflower ancestry :)


  7. Helen McHargue
    Feb 02, 2013 @ 13:25:21

    I had a 4 foot tall aunt but she had Turner’s syndrome. She had to wear children’s shoes and have special clothing made. Your aunt looks beautifully dressed – no doubt the clothes were all tailored too. Along with the others, I envy you your Mayflower ancestry. The photo of the babies is lovely.


  8. Karen Sather (@swirlgal01)
    Feb 02, 2013 @ 21:31:22

    I really like that name, and could have been mine growing up- bicycle girl! Yes! Sometimes the way a photograph was shot can make a difference in true size!


  9. gluepot
    Feb 02, 2013 @ 23:23:12

    That’s a very nice family portrait to have, and a relatively unusual format for what I guess from her sleeves to be from the mid- to late 1890s.


    • Mrs Marvel
      Feb 06, 2013 @ 21:44:03

      I was thinking the same about the photo format. The square looks 20th century but the dress looks 1890s. I’m confused about it. Possibly a reprint?


  10. Alan BURNETT
    Feb 03, 2013 @ 02:04:58

    It is a fine photograph (in fact, they both are). I wonder whether the bike was hers or whether it was merely a photographic studio prop?


  11. Kathy Matthews
    Feb 03, 2013 @ 08:46:47

    Both photos are wonderful. I can’t imagine riding a bike in that long dress though.

    Kathy M.


  12. Linda L
    Feb 03, 2013 @ 12:53:53

    I did wonder about the dress. Do you think she actually rode the bike or just had he photo taken with it?


  13. Joan
    Feb 03, 2013 @ 17:47:05

    Ama was a cutie all dressed up to go cycling — well at least to have her picture taken. I was also taken with the picture of the twins — probably because I had twin aunts who had the pictures taken in outfits similar to Ama’s twins.


  14. Mike Brubaker
    Feb 03, 2013 @ 20:56:05

    A fabulous photo. Edith’s height is easily calculated. Bicycle wheels are a fairly standard 27-28 inches and by my rough finger calipers, I’d say she is just a touch more than twice the diameter, so 56-57″ or 4 foot 8 inches say. The bicycle has only a single gear which I think it is fixed with no coaster brake or any brake except to pedal backwards. The chain is neatly covered with a web to protect her skirt. The seat is diabolically small.


  15. Far Side of Fifty Photos
    Feb 05, 2013 @ 08:25:44

    Descendants of the Mayflower..I think that is really cool..I follow another blogger who just sent in her Daughters of the American Revolution papers to be verified it is quite a process.
    Your relatives in this area are getting older and their health is not great..one of the brothers died this past summer. He was a wonderful man:)


    • Mrs Marvel
      Feb 06, 2013 @ 21:41:21

      I’m sorry to hear that Connie. I hope you will pass on the condolences from a distant relative.


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  18. Kat Mortensen
    Oct 25, 2013 @ 12:38:02

    That is quite a story – about the hem and ruffle. One of those things that gets passed down through the family grapevine. Quite excellent.


  19. La Nightingail
    Oct 25, 2013 @ 15:43:22

    Where children are concerned, anything can happen with a photograph – especially when parents step in to ‘help’. Cute story, but sad that one of the twins didn’t survive past three. As for women riding bikes in skirts – they certainly did back then. They did a lot of things in those days in skirts – like hiking in the mountains or riding horses. No thank you!


  20. Jackie van Bergen
    Oct 25, 2013 @ 18:21:11

    I too love the story about the hem and the ruffle – great family story passed down (and proven).


  21. Tony Zimnoch
    Oct 26, 2013 @ 04:56:51

    Nice To See Someone With A Bike Dressed Fashionably ! Much Better Than Modern Day Lycra! Great Photos!


  22. Wendy
    Oct 26, 2013 @ 06:42:37

    It’s always a relief to be able to answer the question “Who Were They?”


  23. Bob Scotney
    Oct 27, 2013 @ 03:58:44

    A delightful post which is a pleasure to see again.


  24. Doug Peabody
    Oct 27, 2013 @ 08:43:26

    I wonder how a woman could ride a bicycle with a long dress like that. They must have had something to keep the material away from the chain. Great post for Sepia Saturday 200!


  25. Little Nell
    Oct 27, 2013 @ 10:50:46

    I must have missed this first time round – one of my rare absentee weeks – so I’m glad you reposted it. Lovely pictures and stories, and from your own family too. I’m only 5 feet tall myself but not under-nourished :)


  26. Karen S.
    Oct 27, 2013 @ 15:46:54

    I like this post, a great edition, and I remembered that lady with her bicycle right off! Imagine riding dressed like they were back in the day!


  27. Boobook
    Oct 28, 2013 @ 02:07:07

    A delightful post and Mike’s comment above about the bicycle adds to the delight.


  28. The Silver Fox
    Oct 29, 2013 @ 07:55:33

    Love that first shot, and hows sad about the twins.


  29. LD
    Oct 29, 2013 @ 15:51:14

    I remember the post but don’t think I actually commented on it. That looks like a lot of dress for bike riding. Having children back then was not always a guarantee of survival. It is a sad part of our early history.


  30. Far Side of Fifty Photos
    Oct 30, 2013 @ 18:48:08

    Another brother from the Mack family died a few weeks ago Thomas is no longer with us. He died suddenly.
    here is the obit


  31. Mike Brubaker
    Oct 31, 2013 @ 11:36:34

    A terrific choice. Edith’s splendid riding costume and evident pride in her new bicycle makes it a first rate photograph.


    Nov 11, 2013 @ 09:50:41

    Lovely pictures with amusing anecdotes, except for the baby’s early demise, of course… I heard so many people claiming to be in direct line to the Mayflower, one wonders what’s the big deal anymore. But I guess those who are REALLY connected know who they are and care not about those who pretend…


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