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.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The (temporarily) Well Dressed Young Man; and a dog who needs dressing up!

Have you noticed that in old photos, the dressed up boys look, well, really  dressed up. The photos always make me want to see the kid in "real clothes."

I'm bringing 5 examples of this today from our cache of antique photos. I welcome your comments or other examples.

The first is an obviously  quite old photo; no identification came with it.  The poor kid looks dazed. Probably the photographing took a long time. What he doesn't look is comfortable, although I suspect his outfit looked much less wrinkled when it was first introduced to him.

The next photo is from about 1893. If anyone knows what the decorative objects by his boots are, I'd be beholden! Are they spats, or the tops of boots? I have no idea, even after having blown up the picture.

The next picture is from about 1912. The poor boy does NOT look comfortable or natural in his outfit. But the purpose is accomplished: he does look "spiffy," which was the idea!

Now the next young man looks like a dandy in the making: he makes the clothes look great, and he looks as if he could always dress like that!

The final "boy" photo is dated 1930; somehow, the clothing just doesn't look right. For one thing, it doesn't fit well.  The hat, and bow tie don't go together with the rest of the suit. The pencil in his pocket may be useful, but it doesn't do much for his outfit . He does not look pleased to be the subject of the photographer's creative processes.

This next picture presents a young male who could certainly use a little cleaning up!:

Thank you for visiting my blog!  Chris.

Monday, September 6, 2010

MISSOURI LEAD MINERS; and a Funny Picture

                       (click on the photos to enlarge them)

My husband's  (Craig's) family came from Corry, Missouri: now a tiny spot in the road, but in the late 1800s and early 1900s a booming mining town for small surface lead and silicate mines.  A man could start a mine operation with a pick axe, shovel, windlass, wheelbarrow and rope.  Whole families, kids included, worked with the mines.

    Large lead mining has been and continues to be a major industry in Missouri; generally the mining is in tunnels and large refineries are closely associated. In Corry, the mining was surface or shallow mining, but  smelters were built nearby built to process the lead and silicate. Lead permeates the land--and water there. Craig's grandmother told him the water tasted wonderfully sweet, due to the lead. Of course, the long term effects of the lead and silicate in the water and dust affected everyone. Even now, Missouri's children have the highest blood lead levels in the U.S.   Craig's family in Missouri  had a long, very heavy  history of strokes.  I did some reading on lead exposure; those with long term high levels of lead have a 350% higher rate of strokes than anyone else. Symptoms resembling  alzheimer's was another problem, and his grandmother was diagnosed with severe alzheimer's syndrome.

  I find it hard to imagine the incredibly hard work done by these people. They didn't have tractors,  only mules. They didn't use any protective equipment, not even the hard hats used by the coal miners. Certainly not masks or gloves. The pictures, especially this next one, bring home to me the reality of the life these miners faced. (Besides, some of them were my husband's relatives!):

 Now on to happier (I think!) subject, but not apparently for the mom and kid.  This following picture just tickles my funny bone.

Thanks for visiting my blog!  Chris