I was going through my Doris and Ray pictures to bring you some more 1950's-1970's vacationing goodness, when an album otherwise filled with Polaroids from the seventies' produced the following four pictures, decidedly from an earlier era. All the way back to the Victorian era in the first case!! Since there are almost no pictures of Doris or Doris's family from before the 1940's, I'm pretty sure these are Ray's relatives from Minnesota (where he was born in the earlier part of the twentieth century...around 1919, I think?). None of these have captions, so you'll have to bear with me for some wild conjecturing! Let's take a look:
We LOVE posed Victorian photography studio pictures. Can you imagine a dapper little guy in a pince nez standing behind a huge box camera saying from under the cloth- "Now, you look at the book! And the other two of you look at her looking at the book! A little closer....PERFECT!" Additionally, first word that comes to mind with this picture? HATS! Wow, those are some hats. It's always interesting to me in turn of the century photographs to see how stark and simple some of the women's everyday ensembles are, but then they've capped off their look with a hat that looks like something that might take wing. In closeup:
I thought maybe the one in the middle is the mother? Or the eldest sibling? See the complicated taffeta ribbon typing on inset one and three, and the black plumage on inset two? Being slight-of-shoulder-and-chest even for the Valkyrie sized woman that I am, I don't think I could do these billowy shirtwaists, but the millinery has my full-attention.
A little later (twenty years or so?), these photos:
Grandpa on the left looks like just about any man of sixty plus years in the twenties and thirties-- between the glasses and the conservative hat, he actually looks a little like a shorter version of my grandma's Grandpa Hill (a telephone pole of a man in similar clothes, hat, and spectacles). See the chinked-log cabin to the left of frame? The tall trees? The main attraction of this photo, however, is Flapper Lou and Gamblin' Pete, the other 2/3rds of the composition. See Lou's cloche hat, gathered drop-waist dress, sheer hose, and black pumps? See Pete's VISOR HAT (how is this appropriate outside of the croupier profession?) and pin-striped pants? I would love to know the story behind these two characters.
This next picture I think is from the same time, but could be earlier. Standing in the shadows of a clapboard house, a woman in a loose white dress with short cropped hair, and a guy in 1900's boxer/Irish nationalist civilian clothes of turtleneck, pants, and a derby hat if ever there was one. People like to stand alone or far apart in lots of pictures from this era! I'm glad to see these two in a friendly embrace.
Last but not least: group shot!
I still don't know who any of these people are, though the awkward grouping is hilarious to me. Look at the one guy in the middle standing stock still in his almost invisible bow-tie! The shy, downturned face of Flapper Lou! Flapper Lou's more zaftig cousin, Flapper Sal, in a long string tie! No one looks prepared for this photo to be taken, with the exception of the David Lynch bow-tie guy. I do now want some white stockings and Mary Janes to wear with an everyday outfit, however.
What do you think about Ray's possible relatives? Do you have any weird, out of place antique photos in your family albums?
More vintage insanity next week-- as soon as I get out of work, I'm off to some East Nashville estate sales. Keep your fingers crossed for me. See you next week!