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Liberty Bell

Close your mouth, son

Well, here it is. The last photo from the Liberty Bell Album. It began in mystery and has ended that way. Site reader John Roberts did find some information on our one name, Bertha Ham, which through my own disorganization I don’t have linked to the face of the photo. One day I will be able to unpack it and match the name to the face, but until then, we only know the following:

1900 Census, Bertha M Ham, single, age 25 (born Nov 1874), living with her mother, Mary J Ham, age 64 (b Oct 1835) at 36 South Street, Exeter, New Hampshire. Mary and her deceased husband both were born in New Hampshire (as well as Mary’s parents), and Bertha was born in Massachusetts. While her occupation isn’t listed on the census sheet, Bertha is listed as an ‘Operative’ in city directories produced around that time.

Using that information, I was able to find a family tree listing her family.

Joseph Ham (b 1835, d 1875) married Mary J Currier (1835-1914) Nov 25, 1858. They had four children:

Joseph (1860-????)
Mary E (1861-????)
Frederick S (1865-1914)
Flora Bertha (our subject from above)

Frederick and his mother both died in March of 1914 within 3 weeks of each other, but I wasn’t able to determine why.

And there you have it. Perhaps someone searching on Bertha, Frederick, Mary E or Joseph Ham will find this page and make the connection to their family tree!

This last photo was made by N. A. Nealey of Linden Street, Exeter, NH. We previously saw images made by Nealey, click here and here for the women. You will notice that this, the last photo in the album bears a remarkable resemblance to this, the subject of the first photo in the album! Is that a funny coincidence or ironic placement by the original owner? We shall never really know.

Coming up in a few days I have a real treasure to share with you…a gem album! I found it online and it has been a real delight to examine. We will learn a little bit about gems and a lot about the faces.

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Sweet baby in a bonnet

Today we have a sweet little baby in a bonnet. While we retrospectively think these bonnets are cute and were for show, they served a very practical purpose of keeping the baby’s head warm. Even today, there are caps, knitted beanies and all sorts of cute adornments for an infant’s head. The infant mortality rate even in the early 20th century when this photo was made was still quite high, and the belief that cold weather could make a person sick was still fairly common. It makes perfect sense to turn the utility & safety of a baby bonnet into a wearable piece of art with fine stitching, tiny ribbon bows and various other vintage sewing techniques. Family heirlooms survive to reveal the care and expert needlework that went into making these fine garments.

Baby was photographed by Tilton of Exeter, NH. To see all the family’s photographs by Tilton, click on the category Tilton or W. P. Tilton Jr.

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Faded and damaged

There are only a few more photos left of the Liberty Bell album. This one is faded badly and it is difficult to discern what is happening in the photo. It appears to be a man in a white doctor’s coat, with one hand raised, perhaps in thought. You can see his hand and wrist or wristwatch. But then again, it is so badly faded, this fellow could be wearing a white sear sucker suit and I would not be able to tell. There is no photographer’s information and I believe the photo is from about the 1920s. Beyond that, I got nothing.

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Natty stripes and bow tie

I have previously described some of the fellows in the Liberty Bell album as dandy and fashionable, but this dude, well he takes the cake! Just look at the striped suit and vest and bow tie, with a lapel pin and the high collar, the carefully parted and waved hair……it’s just too much! He must have felt dressed to the nines, snazzy, spiffy even! The photo made by Tilton is a post 1900 image. To see more photos by Tilton, click on the category Tilton or W. P. Tilton Jr, to the right.

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Oh really?

This gentleman has a rather inquisitive look, doesn’t he? The photograph made by E. W. Smart in Exeter, NH is from post 1900, due to the longer shape of the bristol board and fancy embossed border around the image. We have seen several others from the Liberty Bell album that feature similar styling. According to Brett Payne’s Victorian & Edwardian Photo Album Collection, Elijah W. Smart was born in 1859, spent time working as a brass finisher, and then did a stint as a photographer before going back to the brass finishing business. Brett Payne is a fellow photograph enthusiast and I enjoy his other site Photo Sleuth which I found through Sepia Saturday.

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Bushy Eyebrows in Exeter

Sorry it has been a bit since I last gave you a photo. My family moved house and that is an undertaking in itself! We are finally getting settled and I’ll be back to posting more frequently.

Today’s photo taken by Tilton in Exeter, NH shows us a somber looking young man with busy eyebrows and fashionably curled bangs. His three-piece suit is accented by the starched white collar and bow tie so popular around the turn of the century. Notice that his bow tie seems to have some sort of chain across it in a V shape. I’m not certain what that is, but perhaps it is a type of tie ornamentation that has simply faded from style.

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Dandy Man

I do so love this photo! The carefully coiffed hair, the mustache, the slightly crooked bow tie, and the oversized overcoat all come together for a terrific image of a dandy fellow. The image appears to have been made in the late 1890s or very early 1900s, based on the card type, image size and clothing style. He was a handsome gentleman who clearly liked to present his best appearance. His coat was probably dark gray or black, similar colored vest, and the tie might have been his pop of color against a white shirt. I’m going to say yellow.

Unfortunately, there was no photographers mark, so I cannot tell where the image was made. My guess is probably in the Exeter, NH area considering the bulk of other images in this album are from there.

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