Friday, March 14, 2014

Photo Friday: Mesmerizing Edwardian Addie Edition (1900's-1910's)

Good morning!

IT'S FRIDAY PRAISE THE LORD. And didn't I find the best, and I mean, THE BEST flickr set to show you for Photo Friday? This day is looking up from yesterday already. :)

I was on flickriver and looking for family photos (natch, this is what Fridays are all about here at She Was a Bird), when I came across this user's stream and about flipped my wig. People! This is a beautifully curated, exhaustive photo account of the user's family history, stretching back to the 19th century and the frontier of the American southwest. Does he have hundreds, upon hundreds, of high-quality resolution scans of pictures dating as far back as the 1860's? He does! Does he have descriptions of each photo subject, carefully separated into individual sets? He does! I spent almost all afternoon pawing through these galleries and marveling at the exhaustive work that went into photo documenting his ancestors' histories. What a labor of love these uploads must have been.

The best of the best, though? Addie, born in 1886, and her turn of the century and Edwardian portraits. Let's take a look!

The exhaustiveness of the collection alone is something that makes it stand out from other people's online photo archives-- the quality of the photo scans are also noteworthy. But the subjects of the photos themselves are actually the best selling point of this user's photosets, and none so much as his grandmother Addie. From the description on the site:
My grandmother, Addie, was born in Wythe County, Virginia on November 30, 1886. Her family left Wythe County in 1899, and resided in Camden, Arkansas, then Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. During 1905, Her father and 3 of her brothers filed for homestead land a few miles west of Melrose, New Mexico, and the family moved there. On August 4, 1912, Addie married Walter of Clovis, New Mexico. Other than a few years in Wheeler County, Texas and near Ranchvale, New Mexico, they always resided in Clovis, New Mexico.  Walter and Addie had 5 children, J.W., Leslie, Virgil, George, and Marie. Addie died on January 4, 1971 in Clovis.  Her gravesite is located in the West 7th Street cemetery, in Clovis.
Her wide set, dark-eyed, piercing gaze and wonderful clothes get me in every. SINGLE. picture. I have laid off buying vernacular photographs (a fancy way of saying "other people's pictures") in recent years, excepting large portraits. ALL OLD PHOTOGRAPHY IS FASCINATING TO ME, ALL THE TIME-- which became a problem in terms of storage/display space/ room in the dang house for things that aren't photographs. However! I am almost certain that had I come across a collection like this, I would have to bend my rules a little to allow for inclusion of this wonderfully expressive-faced woman.

Here's Addie at 13, in a series of locket-photos:

Addie a few years later, in a checked high collared dress, a picture hat to beat the band, and a wary, pensive look to her that veritably leaps out of the photograph:

As stated in the biographical blurb above, Addie lived in New Mexico at the very end of the 19th century as well as the very beginning of the 20th, and lived into the seventies'. Can you even imagine? From horsedrawn carriages to the Nixon administration. That's completely amazing. From some of the ephemera and news clippings in the same set, we learn that she was a domestic for a time with a family in Melrose and later an office girl for doctor in town before marrying and becoming the mother of five children.

Here she is a little before her marriage, and WILL YOU GET. A LOAD. OF THAT HAT. I know most of you are probably going "well, if I wanted to wear a barrel drum on my head, I guess I would!" but I am no-joke, not all facetiously in love with the woman's pluck and extreme haberdashery. The whole outfit is so elegant and Gibson girl that I wish it was something you could wear in public today without looking like you were AWOL from some dinner theater company of an Oscar Wilde play. Why can't clothes be as elegantyly extreme nowadays?!

In a black lace overlay and possibly Southwest Native American necklace? Do you see the star-burst like pendant at her neck?

In another picture hat and crisp white day outfit...notice how tiny her waist is!

In another hat and a black velvet cape like the one I blogged about a little while you notice it;s the same necklace and collar and lace piece from the photo before? Think it was the same day with different outfits, à la picture day at school, except in a 1900's photography studio context?


And here, as a married woman with her young baby and husband. That watchful look gets me every time! Her wedding announcement mentions how she was known for her sunny disposition, which I love in contrast with this severe expression. It reminds me of my great grandmother, who was truly one of the kindest and most loving people who ever walked the face of the earth, yet of whom not a single picture existed where she didn't look a bit like something out of American Gothic...pensive and serious in the extreme. Maybe it was the time? Maybe it was just the way her face settled? I don't know! But I love it.

Last but not least, the photos continue throughout Addie having raised her children and then had grandchilden and then celebrated her golden (!!) wedding anniversary...but I must say, the one I like best from the non-Edwardian years is this photo from the state fair in 1955, which was taken in a photo booth with her young granddaughter. See how she had lost none of her style-- that print dress! The turban! The ever-serious expression!

Do yourself and me a favor by going to check out this truly marvelous photo record. The man deserves such kudos for having brought these photos out from trunks and attics and photo albums and into the wide world, where people like you and me can enjoy them!

I've got to scoot off to lunch at the Indian buffet (yessssssssss), but what do you think? How do you like Addie? Which photo is your favorite? Found any pictures lately with a subject of such an arresting quality that you had to stop and look, and look, and look? What is it about other people's pictures that are so fascinating? Let's talk!

Have a great weekend! Find good stuff, and let's meet back here on Monday for more vintage fun. Take care. I'll see you then!


  1. INCREDIBLE. Wow, talk about a genealogical collection in amazing detail! I wish that I had time to sit down and read and study every one. She actually looks like one of my Facebook friends so much that it's freaking me out.

    1. HA, isn't that weird when you notice a resemblance to someone you know in old photographs? It can be downright eerie!

      And I am SO. INTO. this guy's flickr stream! Lots of time on the nonfiction desk to pore over the details. Check out this member of another branch of his family tree, I want this outfit exactly as she's wearing it (and half her panache, the ribbons might be the best part):

  2. Wow! What an excellent collection and archiving of an era!

    1. I can't believe how much loving care and work went into the archives of this family photo project, the guy deserves a medal. And such interesting people, to boot!

  3. Outstanding. A person's life cascading before us on the internet. What would she have thought of this? Thanks for finding and sharing it with us! You do find interesting collections! Oh and Eartha Kitsch, happy to read your name up there as a first comment. I have missed your creativity and wit. Lisa you also need to be commended on your endless creativity and commitment to your blog! Outstanding as well!

    1. I love that every week I go "this is the week I won't find anything" and I never come up empty handed ((knock wood fast!)). Thank you for reading and your kind comments, as always, Vivian! :)



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