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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Family Portrait: 1915

Family Portrait: 1915

From ca. 1915 we bring you the John Doe family and their cat. 5x7 glass negative from that dusty box in Grandma's attic to an estate sale to you. View full size.

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The Correct Title

Is spelled "Fambly Pitcher, Back in The Day".

Family resemblances

After studying this photo, I've come up with the following: the dressed-up folks are visitors (man in suit, boy in wagon, girl in hat), and the shlubby folks are at home. Grandma is the matriarch, of course, and the two men may be brothers-in-law, both widowers. The blonde girl and the boy standing by the wagon are siblings. The little girl with the blurred face may also be a visitor. It's a bit like trying to figure out the family lines of "The Beverly Hillbillies".

The girl sitting just behind her is wearing a middy blouse, modelled after an enlisted sailor's shirt. It was a very popular style for tween and teen girls from the 1890s to the 1920s, and then was worn for gym clothes in school.

Still in mourning

The elderly lady in back probably began wearing black when her husband died who knows how long ago and will wear it till she dies.


My wife would refer to this family as suffering from "HRF," or Hostile Resting Face. By the way, she refers to me as having the same affliction. I think she should look in the mirror!


Among the things prohibited by my college (Bates College in Lewiston, Maine) in the early 20th century was "walking for pleasure" on Sundays. Scenes like this were, I imagine, quite common.

Do the math

The fellow on the right looks like a Civil War vet. The fellow in the wagon looks like a WW II vet.

Hasn't changed much

The attitude of the two young ladies on the left, I mean. The head tilt, the facial expression, and the bored lean of the older one. You just know they'll pull out their iPhones as soon as the photographer says "OK, thanks".

And the top the older one is wearing was called a "middy blouse" if my late mother is correct.


Sees the funny side.

Hold it!

Let me take another exposure, exclaimed the photographer, one not so gruesome.

I'm guessing

The cat's probably dead by now. Ran out of lives in the 1940s.


That cat is never going to pull that wagon.


Or maybe not.

Mysterious and Spooky

Why do I keep hearing the "Addams Family" theme?

The Neighborhood No-Nonsense Committee

... is now in session.

Quite colorful

The Badger Wagon looks to have been rather high-end stuff in its day.

Say Cheese

All happy families are alike; each unhappy family
is unhappy in its own way.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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