Madness Monday!

2/22/2010 7 comment(s)
Who are you, Little Girl? This is what I ask her, as she stares back at me, with that “You should know” look on her face. My husband and I discovered her in 2008 among a stack of photos lent to us, by his mother. The photo, silver and blue with a flaky texture, as best as I can tell is glued to an old blue and white paper frame. There was no identifying information on the back. No date. No name or caption. Just the idle doodles of a child’s restless hand and some adult's mathematical computations.

As my mother in law is now in a rest home, she cannot clearly see, let alone recall the subject of the photo. This little girl is definitely in our family. She carries distinctive Wright features. But whose child is this? To help narrow it down, I’m asking my Genea-Friends to help weigh in on what you can surmise about her from the photo. Do her clothes give you any idea of the year the photo was taken? How about the background of the photo or even her hairstyle?


Kathleen Brandt Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 5:59:51 AM
I can't tell if the dress is a drop waist or a straight 3/4 sleeve. I place it between 1900- 1910 based on the style, but what do I know. I suggest you take it to a local university with fashion history dept. They should be able to put a year on it or close if the photo is clear enough. I use Stephens College Fashion dept, but I would suggest for your work use a southern school, since there may be other regional hints.
With someone touching the photo, they will also be able to date it by the production of the photo (was it taken on tin -type plate, etc.?).
Thanks for sharing and good luck. Let me know what you find out.
Janine Smith Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 6:00:21 AM
When you say the photo is "silver and blue" that tells me that it's a silver gelatin process photo. This was the most common process from the 1890's until after the 1930's when resin coating came into being. Most early 1900's photos are silver gelatin prints. They can be mounted or unmounted, but most were unmounted, making your print even more special. The earliest examples were bright white, while later examples tend to be off-white to heavily toned. The more silvering in the photo (the bluish to silver parts) the older the photo. White borders would date the photo to after 1910. With the information you've given and by looking at it, but not being able to see it in person, I'd agree with Kathleen and date the photo in the 1900-1910 range. What a wonderful family heirloom you have!
Roberta Martin Brown Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 6:00:40 AM
Looking at the building structure behind the little girl tells me it is very early 1900s. It appears to be the clapboard stucture that I heard my father talk about. I am no authority on building structures, but he said a lot of the homes were sitting off the ground on bricks. It was an area that they used to play under. The children's clothing worn during that time was a loose fitting dress without a waist. I date the picture between 1900-1930. It is a wonderful artifact to have in one's collection. You should try and have the picture restored without losing its original quality. I admire the genalogy work you do.
Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 6:01:09 AM
Three great help comments! How nice!

Keep these ancestor stories coming!

Bill ;-)
Author of "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories"
Sanjay Maharaj Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 6:01:37 AM
I am no expert on this but I can tell you that by looking at her dress and her hairstlye, you are definitley on the right track. Good luck in your search
kristin williams Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 6:02:09 AM
you say she looks like family members - who would have been about that age during the 1900 to 1910 time frame? maybe you can narrow it down that way.
Airplane shirts Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 6:02:38 AM
That is really a nice and interesting blog.its just the information i was looking for. :) Thanks mate.

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