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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • CARNAVAL EN LA HABANA, 1941

Five Little Naons: 1912

Five Little Naons: 1912

"Naon children, 1912." Romulo Naon Jr., son of the Argentinean ambassador, and siblings. I can't shake the feeling that some Goreyesque mishap is about to befall these gloomy tots. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

 

Rómulo S. Naón (1875-1941)

He had a very distinguished political and diplomatic career, as well as in finance, and there are schools and streets in Buenos Aires named after him. He was head of the Argentine legation in Washington from 1910, and when it became an embassy, in 1914, he became Argentina's first ambassador to the United States, a post he retained until 1917.

I find records for only four children: Felisa, born 1903; Juan-José, Isabel and Carlota.

Where's Cousin Itt?

They look like something straight out of "The Addams Family"!

Lives of luxury

These kids don't look especially scary or creepy to me (although I love the redrum and Gorey comparisons!) but rather a bit stuck up and snobbish.
They seem to lack the humble charm of the other Shorpy kids, who have had to work for whatever toys and treats they may have had.

Don't Cry for Me

That youngest girl is absolutely adorable. Yes, they look a little uncertain about something, but still, a good looking group of kids. I like stanton_square's added info (as always)--it makes it easier to picture these kids as more active, "normal" children, which I'm sure they probably were.

I wonder if any of them did end up staying in the United States? 1912 would have been a part of Argentina's glory years, when iy was one of the wealthiest countries on earth. Things went downhill after the 1930s, and the country has kind of had a rough go of it since. I was there for a summer a couple of years ago though, and it's a terrific place to visit. And if you like amazing, filling food, you'll probably gain a lot of weight. Meat and bread, and more meat. Like I said, it's a great place.

Sounds of terror

Did'ja ever notice that when horror movies preview on the big screen that if they have five-year olds' voices singing a familiar childhood tune, it makes peoples' blood run cold? When they show a well-dressed, well-behaved serious child in any "standing still" scene, people are scared silly? Psychologically, it defies explanation as to why adults are so scared of youngsters who don't act like real-life children. Seems as though if you want to make a scary hit movie, you need only work into the script some very serious, disciplined toddlers who keep showing up and singing. Why izzit? P.S. The two girls doing "sister act" need bigger bows on their hats.

My new favorite picture

This replaces the picture of Eleanor Tierney at Starlight Park as my favorite Shorpy image. How it delights the imagination!

Isabel and Felisa remind me of the spooky Diane Arbus "Identical Twins" picture. They also remind me a bit too much of my sister and myself, who were not twins but were raised - and dressed - as such.

Naon Children

Following is a caption from a different Harris & Ewing photo of children carried in the Washington Post.


Children of the Minister
From Argentina and Mme. Naon.

These beautiful children gladden the home of the Argentine Minister and Mme. Naon. They were all born in Buenos Aires, but they love Washington, and are not anxious to return to their own country because they like America so much better as a place in which to live. They are Isabel, age 12; Felisa, age 10, Romulo, age 9; Juan Jose, age 5; and Carlota, the baby, who is only 2. Isabel and Felisa attend the Convent of the Visitation and Romulo and Juan Jose go to St. John's College. They all speak French and English as well as their native language, Spanish. Carlota has not yet learned French, but she can chatter in Spanish, and knows a little English. She is a dear baby with large dark eyes and a lot of silky curls of a beautiful chestnut brown. She is devoted to her doll baby and loves to sing it so sleep. When vacation days come the children are going with their parents to Buena Vista, where they will spend the summer.

Washington Post, May 19, 1912

Redrum, Redrum!

In a previous appearance:

When you're right, you're right

They are very Gorey-esque aren't they? I can practically hear the old PBS "Mystery" theme song when I look at that picture.

Handsome family though.

High Anxiety

I wonder what's going through the mind of the boy on the left. If I had that glorious toy car, I'd be all smiles!

Bored to Death

"N is for Naon who died of ennui."

The Obvious

The one in the carriage is a real doll.

Lemony

That's just too Lemony Snicket for words. Love it!

Shining Example

Geez, I don't know what's creepier about this photo: the doll in the stroller or the Kubrickesque twins in the back!

The Vehicle

I'm not an auto expert but isn't that the 1911 prototype of the Dodge Neon?

That's just too good, Dave!

I stared at this photo thinking that there was something slightly creepy and familiar about this image; then I read your caption. I'm a Gorey fan and collector, but I don't know how long, if ever, it would have taken me to make the connection; now I can't see it any other way! It is the perfect analogy - in absolutely every detail.

Thanks.

 
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