Monday, December 27, 2010

Two old pictures. I check Ebay a couple of times a week for items from my home town, Traverse City, Michigan. I edit the local genealogy society newsletter there, so I am on the look out for letters, photographs, and other items of genealogical interest. Two of my recent purchases were photographs.

The first picture is of Cecil and Willetta on their wedding day in 1888. Notice that Willetta is wearing a dark dress. Practical 19th century women wore dresses that could be worn over and over again for special occasions- other weddings, funerals, parties.

Cecil and Willetta.

As it turns out, I am distantly related to Willetta on my father's side of the family. We don't have a single picture of any of my father's ancestors, since these were destroyed by the Evil Bitch from Hell (AKA, my grandmother). I am glad to see that Willetta was a hearty gal. And Cecil was kinda hot.

The second picture turned up in the last week. I had just completed an article on early photographers of Traverse City, when this picture appeared on Ebay. The backstamp was for a photographer who wasn't in my article! I looked at the photographer's 1872 marriage record and there is occupation was listed, "artist." Nineteenth century photographers were often called artists, since it was considered a difficult skill to master. Back in the early days of photography, before the personal camera was invented, you went to a studio, dressed in your best clothes, and carefully posed for a picture. It was an expensive and time consuming process.

Unidentified boy.

The exposure time was very long so you had to sit very still. In the above picture you can see the metal legs for a head clamp stand (click on the picture and look behind the chair). This clamp was used to keep the head from moving, and thereby ruining the picture.

One of the things that I really hate is to see unidentified photos at antique stores. If a photo has a name on it, and the name is unusual, I will purchase it. I have been able to re-unite photos with relatives several times.

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