Malachi's Promise "And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers...." Malachi 4:6

Saturday, April 30, 2011

There's a Story Here but There's No One to Tell It

These look like Meinzen sisters, daughters of Henry Carl and Elizabeth Armitage Meinzen. I think the photo was taken about 1904, a date based on the pouf-fronted waists with narrow sleeves widening to gathered cuffs, and on the two wide bertha collars on the dresses of the lady on the left and the young woman in the front. This photograph was probably taken in the Steubenville area of Jefferson County, Ohio.

Possible Meinzen sisters and their ages in 1904 are Hannah, 29; Belle, 24; Mina, 19; Lula, 17; and Bertha, 16. I think Mina is sitting at the back and Lula is standing. Do they look 19 and 17? I've never seen a photo of Bertha, but the girl in front looks like she could be about 16. The lady on the left: 29 or 24? Hannah or Belle? What do you think? Maybe the fifth sister is the photographer.

I would like to hear the story behind this photo because it seems to me that they've set a scene to remember an event of the day. But what are they doing? The lady who is standing has her foot on a handkerchief on the lap of the lady sitting on the left. Is the sitting lady fixing a hem? Is she buttoning a boot? Why are they in a field, sitting on the grass/weeds, dressed in clothes that are definitely not work or play clothes? Is it a Sunday afternoon outing? Is it a Fourth of July picnic?

Three of them are gazing directly at the camera's lens. Three of them have broad smiles, one a narrower smile. Who told the joke and what was the joke? Who was the photographer? Amateur, probably, considering how off-center the quartet is. And yet, there's an interaction between the women and the photographer, as if all five are part of the story. It looks like they have composed themselves just enough to be still for the photograph or like they will burst into laughter as soon as the camera clicks. I wish someone could share the story with me!

This is another one of those poor photocopies of a photograph from my aunt's papers. I wish I had the original photograph. Not having it, I'm pleased to at least have a photocopy.

This is a Sepia Saturday post. Visit and see what photos others are sharing this week.

13 comments:

  1. It's a fascinating image, photo or not!

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  2. It looks as if some assistance is being given with a boot button, and the fifth sister saw it as a quirky photo opportunity: "Hold that pose a moment ladies, whilst I set this up!"

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  3. I just wonder whether the picture has been 'cropped' to remove someone form the left. Interesting group.

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  4. So much speculation as to what can be going on when we don't know the real story, it is just as well to make one up. I have a similar type photo of my husband's relatives somewhere and we decided they were on their way home from church which was the primary social outlet of the day. It is a good photo copy of times gone by.

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  5. Three of them look like they are having fun. The one in front apparently doesn't want to play along.

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  6. Bob, I hadn't thought about the picture being cropped. I haven't seen the original so don't have any way to tell. But it sure is possible. Thanks for thinking of it.

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  7. Interesting ideas as to what they were doing. I wonder if they are playing, let's take the garter off, like as in a wedding.
    Either way, it's a nice photo of which will probably always be a mystery.

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  8. Beautiful photo, I wish we could see a scan of the original. It seems very informal for a 100 year old photo. Extraordinary.

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  9. Very good for a photocopy.
    And a nice shot too.

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  10. An interesting picture indeed and like you I always want to know the story behind such pictures. I was struck by the framing of the picture as well - the photographer seems to have gone out of his or her way to include a fair portion of green fields as well.

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  11. My goodness, how alike they look.

    And it's always nice to see old photos of women having fun. I've always felt that the Kodak Brownie gave women a freedom to express themselves that they'd never had before.

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  12. I love this photo. Seems that it may have been made by someone they knew, rather than a professional photographer.

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