Family reunion: Green Fan Album

This happy occasion has taken a couple months to come to fruition, but it is oh, so satisfying! As you know, when a photo is identified, the full name(s) are listed in the content of a posting. I had always hoped that someone somewhere would be searching for a family member and identify a photo. I have had several people post about their relative having been the photographer named, but this time, I had a great-grandchild indicate that the photo was of their great-grandmother.

The Green Fan Album

This is the Green Fan Album. You may recall that it contains 22 photos dating from the 19th century through the early 20th century. There are several names, including Vincent Joy, Ellen Wachtel Joy, Marilyn Talbot, and Francis Guisinger Von Kaenel. It is Francis that brought about this family reunion. 

Iggy found out for us that Francis and her sister Clotilda “Vonnie” Guisinger both married Von Kaenels – Hans Otto and Fred, respectively. This is an amazing story and I won’t even be able to scratch the surface here. Hans Otto and Fred were princes in Switzerland (!!!). At the time the Habsburgs were still in control of Austria-Hungary in the late 19th century, there were numerous insurrections and uprisings, bids for democracy and general unstability. (If you remember your history, the assassination of Franz Ferdinand of Austria was the catalyist for the beginning of the Great War, World War 1. There was significant nationalistic unrest in this area for many years.) Hans Otto and Fred came to America in about 1909 to escape the turmoil, and wound up living in the same neighborhood as the lovely Guisinger sisters. Vonnie and Fred married in 1913 and Francis and Hans married around the same time. 

Fred and Vonnie’s child Constance is the grandmother of Kenneth, who I will be sending the Green Fan Album this week. Constance is still alive at age 96, and Kenneth tells me she is sharp as a tack and plays in a band! There are so many stories wrapped up in this album and he believes she will be able to shed some light on who many of the photos portray. I am eager to find out more! Kenneth promised that the family will send us more information about the family and the photos, but also said that he himself is still researching the ties to Europe and the Habsburgs. Apparently, it was a family scandal that Hans Otto and Fred married “common” girls from America, but such uncommonly beautiful ladies they were, how could they have resisted!?


Baby with a curious expression

The dress this baby is wearing appears to be the same as our previous infant in a chair. Baby has a curious expression on her face. Not so much that she is curious, but an unusual expression, as though she is perplexed by this whole experience. “They’ve sat me on a chair in the yard and now they are pointing a box at me and my Mama is standing just over there…”

I regret to say that this is the last photo in the Green Fan Album. We have had some hints of who the people were, but nothing that really ties all the photos together. It is worth noting that the album can hold more photos that it actually does, leading me to believe that someone pulled out the photos they wanted and discarded the rest. We shall appreciate these photos for the slice of life they have captured for us.

The joy of the Joys?

We previously looked at photos of Vincent and Ellen Joy and a “sunken eyed” relative of unknown name. This couple looks a lot like Vincent and Ellen to me, although Vincent died in 1886 so it could not be him. Ellen lived until 1935 so this could be her though she is looking pretty good for a woman pushing 80 years old! Could this man be a Wachtel? She had three brothers, after all. He has that prodigious beard that Vincent cultivated.

I believe this photo is from the 1920s. It is a 4.5×7 matte print. Also note the siding on the house behind them…do you think that is the backdrop for our “street urchins” and the baby in a chair? It looks like it would be a lovely old farmhouse in the Craftsman style.

This is a proud Sepia Saturday post, though not to theme – which is New York this weekend. Please click through for great sepia images from around the world.

Could this be a Guisinger-VonKaenel Wedding?

Our great friend Iggy discovered that Francis Guisinger and her sister Vonnie both married VonKaenels. Could this be the wedding portrait for one of those weddings? The bride is lovely with a beautiful white wedding dress and full veil, elbow gloves and pearls. She cradles her bouquet in such a way as to show off her wedding ring. The groom looks relaxed and happy.

If you love vintage wedding photos, my friend Connie is featuring Victorian and vintage wedding photos for the entire month of June. Check them out at Forgotten Old Photos.

Handsome lad

There are only a few photos left in the Green Fan Album and even Iggy’s fantastic researching skills have as yet to crack this mystery. Of course, the dearth of names to help us has been the greatest obstacle. So far we know the owner was somehow acquainted with the Wachtels, Joys, Guisingers, VonKaenels and Talbots.

This unidentified young lad (I think) is quite handsome. Note the bowl haircut and round face. Also of note are his shoes, which are a popular children’s style from the Victorian era through the 1930s or so for children. They are a “prewalker” style that are sometimes called Chinese Slippers. The strap goes around the ankle rather than across the top of the foot as a Mary Jane shoe does. I have a pattern to make these shoes, and did, when my daughter was learning to walk.

Ruined photo

This small photo has been almost ruined by a fold right across the center of it. The photo itself appears to be a piece of plastic and the film coating that is broken and wrinkled pulls off the image as it flakes away. You can just barely see the photo is of a man and at least one woman, possibly a second woman to his right or a child. It’s a shame it has been ruined.

Another infant in a chair

This photo is of another infant in a chair, this particular chair draped with a black cloth and the siding of the house used for the backdrop. Does this look similar to our recent photo that looked like a couple of street urchins? The photo itself is 3.5×4.5 and the card is 4×7. You can see the embossing on the black card in what might have been an oval shape, with the rectangle baby photo pasted over that. I don’t know if that is something this particular photographer did. Perhaps he had a lot of these cards left over? It isn’t a cabinet card but it’s also not a CdV. What exactly would this be called?

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