Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Three Family Portraits

I found these photos at a flea market. It is somehow strange, the way family photos such as these somehow drift away from their place in family history. Rather than being passed on from one generation to the next, they wind up lost and nameless in the public arena. Maybe a family line came to an end, and there was no one left to pass the photos on to. It's a mystery.

Looking at the last photo close up (click to enlarge) one gets the impression the family perhaps had a saw mill. They are standing on rough cut lumber, and a portion of a log can be seen on the right.

Looking at the reverse side of the second photo, it appears to have been adhered to a portion of a hand-painted sign. Notice it advertises paintings for 9 cents. But, the frame costs over five times the cost of the painting!


  1. My family once bought a house where a purse full of old photos had been left. The woman who had lived there died, and her family never responded to offers to get the photos to them. I have so much trouble with photos, since you are throwing away a record of a life, and especially old black and white ones - they might be the only images that exist of the people in them! Finally found an artist to love and cherish them.

  2. Amazing photos. I wonder too why they were never claimed. It just makes me sad.

  3. Family photo records of the past are so relatively scarce in contrast to our present digital capabilities. Now, digital photos are easily shot and stored by the thousands. Back then, you were lucky to have a handful of photo memories to peruse. There are many old lost photos out there these days. I think it would make a museum of its own.

  4. I realize that this is many years after it was first published, but the second photograph is of President Woodrow Wilson, his first wife, Ellen, and their three daughters: Margaret, Jessie, and Eleanor. The latter two were married in the White House. I believe this picture was taken before Wilson became President.