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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • TO EUROPE THE AMERICAN WAY

Four Generations: 1902

Four Generations: 1902

From left to right is May Meek-age 65,Ann Keeler-47, John Kline- 6 months, and Mae Kline-19. This was taken in 1902 in Shelby, Ohio. That's four generations, and May Meek looks likes she's on the older end of 65. Mae Kline looks pretty hot...for a mom. I think May is a distant grandma. View full size.

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After a little research

It is amazing the these ladies look so much older than their true ages. After talking to my mom (the family historian in residence) she told me that May, the really old gal, apparently has always looked old. May also led a somewhat difficult life on a farm too. Again, I think she just aged prematurely.
As far as I know, they are not mourning. To me, they just look tired.

Age or Sadness?

Expressions of age and aging vary greatly with time and place, as seen so strikingly in this family group. For many people in 1902, 60 felt more like our 80, and, once a woman was widowed, conventional society expected her to look like it. But most women in 1902 "new baby" photos made an effort to express some level of pride and joy. It looks like these women are wearing mourning dresses, maybe not full mourning, but at least the slightly relaxed mourning worn for at least a year after a close death. In that case, the startling glumness of the two older women might be deliberate, as if they thought it improper to smile at an occasion that would otherwise be a very happy one.

teeth

I think a lot of the look of premature aging has to do with tooth care. Both of these older women look as if they have lost some (or even most) of their teeth. I can make myself look 15 years older by removing my partial dentures. Add to that no makeup and severe clothing and hairstyles, and they look ancient. I have pictures of my grandmothers in their unflattering house dresses which add years to their looks.

Shocked at the ages!

This is a fine picture, but I am totally shocked that these could be the ages of these women. Other than the baby, they all look at least 10 years older than stated, by today's standards anyhow. I don't mean to criticize; I just think it's fascinating. Perhaps they saw some rough times.

 
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Shorpy.com | 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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