I love antique photos. You can learn so much about how things have changed, and again how little has. We inherited 3 trunks of photos from the late 1800's to the 1940s and 50's. Most came from an enigmatic, extremely hard working but photo-loving woman named Lena, an ancestor of my husband, born in 1879. She had more contacts, more postcards (several hundreds) and more photos of herself taken than anyone who is not a well know celebrity. She seems to have collected antique photos from all around her. She unfortunately didn't identify many, only writing "Lena" on many given to her. I think she assumed she would remember, and of course after that it wouldn't matter!

We are still sorting through all the stuff trying to piece together Lena's fascinating and sometimes tragic life. Meanwhile, here are a variety of photos, including some of the highest (and lowest!) fashion.

I have also included the very old family photos I have from my mom's side of the family.

I hope you enjoy, and thank you for visiting my blog.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Awkward Antique Family Photos

I've looked at the "awkward family photos" sites on line. Some of them are funny, or even hilarious. Some just don't seem funny to me (I'm not into slapstick comedy.) But I do enjoy looking at photos of groups of people. One can see a lot by where and how they stand in relation to others; posture, attitude and facial expression.

I am presenting 4 photos from our family's antique photograph collection, which I found very interesting or enigmatic for various reasons. I'll be curious to hear what you think.

The above photo is obviously quite old, before 1900. What piqued my interest is the woman's clothing, especially the head wrapping; and what she's holding on to.  Also she is wearing gloves, which I've rarely seen in these old photos.  Finally, I'm partial to the kid in front. His expression is a little clueless but he looks like a friendly, neat person.

This above photo is interesting for the people and dress, although it obviously isn't as old as the first picture. I'm really interested in why the lady is wearing a headband.  Makes me think of the 1960's and hippie life, but I'm sure this headband has a quite different meaning. I just have no idea what.
This third photo is fascinating to me for several reasons. First, I have no idea why some of the women are wearing the headscarves. I know that this photo was taken in the U.S., as I recognize two of the women from other photos. The sitting woman second from the left, and the woman right above her, are Smith sisters, related to Charles, Lena's husband who died so young (see my first few posts in this blog). This means the photo is probably from about 1910 to 1915.  I also see a lot of  details in the dresses, which are homemade; and some of the faces and expressions I find fascinating.
There are a couple of surprises in this photo I'll let you find; and the people (I didn't see the woman for a  while) have the most interesting faces and expressions --and relations to each other.  This may be a mining group, since so many of the family photos were of mining; I can't tell, but there is certainly a variety of people composing the group. A group dynamics specialist would have a ball!

I have a request to show some of the family's  antique autos for the next post. I have quite a few photos; however I can't tell a Model A from a Ford (or are they the same thing?) so I'll  be presenting the photos with dates when I have them but won't try to identify the autos. I'd love your comments and identifications.

Thanks for visiting my blog.  Chris

My other, new blog, is Resin and Pressed Flowers:



  1. wow these are neat. i like the story with it too. okay in the 1st i am guessing they were at a funeral because of the gloves.
    the headband on the lady on #2 pic says 29's flapper to me. the guy on the far right looks of that period too.
    i noticed in pic 3 even the ladies that don't have scarves on their hair looks like they had a scarf one earlier. ?
    the 4th I want the camper! did the guy on the bench have a bonnet on?

  2. oops that was supposed to be 20's flapper.

  3. Duh, I forgot about flappers, thanks, Terica. Yep, the guy in the fourth photo has a bonnet. Look closely, some other strange things too (hint: people around him). Funeral in the first one, I didn't think about that!

  4. I'm having fun combing that last one! Great pictures as always!

  5. okay Chris YOu got me digging now. I am guessing body language? the 2 beside him have their legs crossed toward him and hands together as if maybe some closeness? His hands are next to both of them?
    that's all I got ,tell me what you see??