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by Maureen A. Taylor

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# Sunday, 29 November 2015
A Timeline of Portraits
Posted by Maureen

Candace LaPrade send in several images of one of her ancestors. She's very lucky to have more than one picture of this man! 

When you have multiple pictures of the same person, try to put them in chronological order using their attire and age as a guide.

Peter Whitmer (1828-1909) of Lancaster, Pa., and later Bloomington, Ill., liked the chin beard. As a young man he wore the full chin beard. Later on, he groomed it into a small chin beard often referred to as the "spade."


Here, Peter is dressed in typical attire for the 1850s/early 1860s with a patterned vest and horizontal tie. In 1860, he'd be 32.


This is likely an 1880s photo. By now, Peter's hair is more gray. He wears the under-the-collar tie popular in the 1880s.

 
This image has the appearance of a late-19th to early-20th century portrait. Note the way the photographer has lit the face to draw attention to it. 

Three pictures. One man over a 40-year time frame. His face changes in subtle ways from his 30s to 60s. What do you notice?

Certain facial features identify this man in all the images. The shape of his nose, his straight mouth and eyes, for instance.

Each of these images was likely taken for a specific reason. The middle one was probably posed for a local history and the last one might signify his retirement. The next step is to place these images in a timeline of his life and see what milestones line up with these portraits.

Next week, it's Peter's wedding portrait from 1855.  Such a treasure!


Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now


  • 1850s photos | 1860s photos | 1880s photos | 1900-1910 photos | men
    Sunday, 29 November 2015 18:05:06 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Sunday, 22 November 2015
    Thanksgiving Shopping in Old Photos
    Posted by Maureen

    1919, Library of Congress

    This little girl is delighted with her Thanksgiving turkey but I'm not sure how I would have felt about carrying home a turkey complete with feet and head. Shudder!  A lot has changed in our Thanksgiving prep.

    The 1918 Fannie Farmer cookbook came with instructions on how to prepare poultry.  My grandmother's likely bought birds like this and did everything from cutting off the heads to cleaning out the cavity.  As a child I watched my father's mother singe off any remaining feathers from chicken whether they were present or not. It was a long ingrained habit and likely a cooking skill she developed early. 

    In addition to the turkey in this picture are a lot of clothing clues for the period. Take a good look at the girl's legs.  She's wearing long leggings beneath her dress to keep her legs warm.  In the background the woman looking at the action wears a plush (perhaps fur jacket) and wool hat decorated with botanicals (berries and branches).  Her dress is a little long for 1919, but it fashion sense due to the cold weather.


    1919, Library of Congress

    This young boy holds a thin but enormous turkey.  He's worn jacket and pants suggest that he could be working at the market rather than buying something for his mother.

    Neither child wears gloves! Wonder if either child got ill from handling raw poultry. They are unnamed in these photographs so researching their lives isn't possible.

    As you get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving, ask older relatives about their roles in meal preparation and their childhood traditions. Download the free Storycorps app to your phone and join in the #TheGreatListen2015. Documenting our contemporary family history starts with a story.

    Happy Thanksgiving!


    Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now


  • 1910s photos | children | holiday | thanksgiving | World War I | storycorps
    Sunday, 22 November 2015 18:11:49 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [1]
    # Monday, 16 November 2015
    Twentieth-Century Mustache Mania
    Posted by Maureen

    From the White House to Hollywood, mustaches of the 20th century were iconic and considered manly. The underlying message was that strong men wore facial hair. Teddy Roosevelt to Clark Gable and beyond, the presence of a mustache conveyed a sense of strength in personality and actions. Each of these men were facial hair fashion icons for their generation.

    Teddy Roosevelt
    One can only imagine the shock on Vice President Teddy Roosevelt's face when a photographer in 1901 suggested he shave off his mustache before being inducted in office. As President from Sept. 14, 1901 (after McKinley's assassination), to March 1909, his iconic facial hair set the tone for his time in office. He was a forceful personality in life and in politics.


    Library of Congress


    This poster is a collage of images of T.R. from childhood to the Presidency—from the long sideburns of his years at Harvard to the brush- style mustache that became equated with being manly.

    Charlie Chaplin
    Charlie Chaplin used his small under-the-nose mustache as a comedic element in silent films.

     
    The Tramp
    , 1914

    This style of facial hair is still known as a "Charlie Chaplin."

    Errol Flynn
    Errol Flynn's portrayal of dashing adventurers of the 1930s and 1940s wasn't complete without his iconic pencil-thin mustache. The look is named for him.



    It took careful shaving underneath the nose and at the top of the lip to get this tiny mustache just right. 

    Clark Gable
    Clark Gable's notable performance as Rhett Butler in Gone With The Wind is memorable and so was his facial hair.


    Clark Gable with the 8th Air Force in Britain, 1943


    Like Errol Flynn, his mustache was an integral part of the characters he played in the movies.

    So which mustache did the men in your family emulate? The full brush mustache of T.R., the "Charlie Chaplin," the "Errol Flynn," or the look popularized by Clark Gable?


    Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now


  • 1900-1910 photos | 1910s photos | 1920s photos | 1930s photos | 1940s photos | World War I
    Monday, 16 November 2015 17:23:03 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Sunday, 08 November 2015
    The True Story of Abraham Lincoln's Beard
    Posted by Maureen


    Abraham Lincoln, 1858, Library of Congress

    The story of Abraham Lincoln's beard is a sweet one. In 1860, a young girl named Grace Bedell wrote to the then-presidential candidate, advising him to grow a beard to aid his campaign and his appearance.

    "I am a little girl only 11 years old, but want you should be President of the United States very much so I hope you wont think me very bold to write to such a great man as you are. Have you any little girls about as large as I am if so give them my love and tell her to write to me if you cannot answer this letter. I have yet got four brothers and part of them will vote for you any way and if you let your whiskers grow I will try and get the rest of them to vote for you you would look a great deal better for your face is so thin. "

    Lincoln responded that he wouldn't make any promises yet a few months later he's photographed with the beginnings of his trademark facial hair.
     

    1860, Library of Congress


    Lincoln was the first President to have a beard. 


    1863 at Civil War photographer Alexander Gardner's studio, Library of Congress.

    It's a remarkable tale of how a preteen may have influenced a political candidate's appearance (and perhaps his career). Lincoln's beard made his a fashion icon of the 19th century and led many men to follow his lead. You can see more male fashion trendsetters in Hairstyles 1840-1900.

    Many books are written about Lincoln, but two of my favorites focus on photographs of him:
    • Lincoln Photographs: A Complete Album by Lloyd Ostendorf (Rockwood Press, 1998)
    • Lincoln Life-Size by Philip B. Kunhardt III, Peter W. Kunhardt and Peter W. Kunhardt, Jr (Alfred A. Knopf, 2009). 
    Online sources of pictures of Lincoln include the Library of Congress Prints and Photograph Division and the Allen County Public Library's Lincoln Collection.


    Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now


  • 1860s photos | Abraham Lincoln | beards | cased images | children
    Sunday, 08 November 2015 16:09:19 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [1]
    # Sunday, 01 November 2015
    Beards and Mustaches: 5 Styles in Old Photos
    Posted by Maureen

    It's November so expect to see a lot of facial hair on the men you meet.  Growing mustaches is part of Movember, a fundraising and awareness effort for men's health and cancers.

    Our ancestors proudly sported fashionable beards and mustaches, too.   When they went to the barber they could choose styles based on charts like this one:

    c.1884 Library of Congress

    Since each of these facial hair types has a name, I thought it would be fun to spot them in some old photos:


    In the 1880s, James Wilkins chose a mustache known as the Pennant. In the 20th century, artist Salvador Dalí was famous for an exaggerated version of this style. Library of Congress


    This unidentified man in the 1880s wears the beard but not the mustache for the Imperial style. I've also seen this beard referred to as the Spade.

     
    Here's another version of the Imperial from the same period.



    A young Teddy Roosevelt chose the Burnsides Short style for this 1882 portrait. Library of Congress


    Orville Wright wears the Pennant style in 1905, 20 years after the publication of that beard trimming chart.  Library of Congress

    Beards and mustaches sometimes stayed in style for decades, so it's important not to jump to conclusions when you see an 1880s style on your ancestor. In addition, not all men chose to wear facial hair.

    Can you spot any of these mustaches and beards in pictures of your ancestors? Use the the chart depicted in this article and the examples in Hairstyles 1840-1900 for comparison.

    I'd love to feature your pictures here. Click the How to Submit Your Photo link on the left for details on how to email your pictures.



    Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now


  • beards | men
    Sunday, 01 November 2015 14:13:19 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]