I have to hit a doctor's appointment in just a little bit, so this Photo Friday entry will be brief. I know how much you like me yammering on and on about photos whose provenance is a mystery to me, but time waits for no man (or girl...blogger...you get the idea)! Take a look at today's very special photo:
There you have it. A 1920's woman, possibly early thirties', dressed in all her finery....corsage, hat, some type of fur wrap on her arm....and cradling very precious cargo indeed. People...where on EARTH did she get that baby chimpanzee?!
I've seen a lot of photos where people are posed astride taxidermied bucking broncos at a dude ranch, children are riding taxidermied alligators at an alligator farm, or vacationers are standing next to live bears and tigers and such in cages at gas stations on major tourist routes (I think Rae probably has one of each of these in her marvelous photo collection!). What I haven't seen is an almost one hundred year old photo of one of my relatives standing in a lush, pastoral Tennessee setting, inexplicably holding a baby chimp! Something about the time, the setting, and the utter lack of context makes this a humdinger of a find if ever I've seen one!
You could imagine, curiosity peaked, that I went back to the source of these family photo scans. I asked my dad, who has asked his Uncle James when returning these photos from said scanning, who the woman was and what the circumstances were of this strange encounter. Know that my dad is GREAT storyteller from a long line of great storytellers, and the exchange went down like this:
Dad: So, I was looking through these old photos, and I happened across this one [profers photo]. Any idea about when or where the photo was taken, or who it is holding the chimpanzee?
James: ChimpanZEE? What chimpanzee? [takes photo, takes a long look at it] Well, you know, the thing about that picture is....[taking his sweet, slow Southern time about it] that there's a very interesting story behind it. [Long pause, as he continues to study the image]. Only problem is I have NO idea what that story may be.
Dad: You don't know who the woman in the photo is?
James: Not a clue.
Anyone else in the human world would have just gone "Nope, don't know" right off the bat, but there's something about the beautiful framing of his lack of information on this photo that makes me treasure that dialogue as much as if he'd had a real yarnspin about what had happened before the shutter clicked.
What do you think? Have you seen any domestic photos of people holding monkeys in a non-zoo setting in your vintage travels and travails? Have any just UNEXPLAINED, unsolved mysteries of a photograph in your family scrapbook? Let's talk!
I gotta get going, but I'll see you guys on Monday! Have a great weekend, and meet right back here for more vintage mania next week. Til then.