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Meet the Rommels: 1915

Meet the Rommels: 1915

Oct. 30, 1915. Fort Collins (vicinity), Colorado. "A case of 'Economic Need.' Jacob Rommel and his family live in this roomy shack, well-furnished, with a good range, organ, etc. They own a good home in Fort Collins, but late in April they moved out here, taking contract for nearly 40 acres of beets, working their 9- and 10-year-old girls hard at piling and topping (although they are not rugged) and they will not return until November. The little girl said, 'Piling is hardest, it gets your back. I have cut myself some, topping.' The older girl said, 'Don't you call us Russians, we're Germans' (although most of them were born in Russia). Family been in this country eleven years." Glass negative by Lewis Wickes Hine. View full size.

 

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The Walla Walla Germans from Russia

My maternal Grandmother was of the first generation of our family to be born in the USA, in 1908. In school, she said they were called The Dirty Little Russians. She was a bit of rebel, marrying someone who was not also German Russian. Grandpa was mostly German, with a little French, although his family had come to this country shortly after the Civil War. Grandpa was very dark when they met, in the early Fall, and she asked her friend if she knew what he was, because her mother had told her never to bring home an Italian (That´s EYEtalian). When it came to marriage, though, not being German Russian was too much of a stretch. When, at 19, they asked their families to sign for them to get married, Grandma´s parents and Grandpa´s mother objected, telling her son he could do better that to marry a German Russian. It took some creative effort to get that accomplished, and they were married in 1929. They were one of the happiest couples I´ve ever known. Grandpa was a terrible tease, but Grandma told me that she had always felt loved. They were happy until Grandma passed away, in 1974. I look at my adopted kids and their multiracial families and marvel at how far things have come!

Stress

Shocking to see the age of Alice, mother. She is 48 and looks well beyond her years. Due to the crushing burden of house chores, cooking, taking care of children, and work. My great grandmother was a beauty but by middle age barely recognizable. Farm, husband died in an accident, 5 children 1912.

Germans from Russia in Nebraska

When I was visiting my uncle in Lincoln Nebraska I noticed a sign for a Germans From Russia Museum while driving about the city. After a quick google I found the museum is run by the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia which has chapters thoughout the US.

Suspended

Is the inner of the pairs of suspenders actually a strap for carrying a basket of produce? The outer pair seems to be doing a perfectly adequate job of keeping his pants up.

The Rommels: Colorado Beet Farmers

This is Joe Manning, of the Lewis Hine Project. I interviewed the granddaughter of Mr. & Mrs. Rommel, who is also the daughter of Martha Rommel, the youngest girl in the photo. The family has a very interesting story, and Shorpy readers can see it at:
http://morningsonmaplestreet.com/2014/11/26/jacob-rommel-family-page-one...

The girl on the left looks

The girl on the left looks so beautiful. She could be ready to laugh, on the verge of a joke... So much emotion in her face. And her face is mirrored so well by the girl on the right. Same tilt, different emotion. Her laugher may not be as free.

Germans

My family is German and also came from Russia. They were driven out by the Russian Army and settled in California. Many times they were referred to as Russians.

Germans from Russia are not Russian. We speak German, cook German food and many of us belong to the Historical Society of Germans from Russia.

When I read that the oldest daughter in this picture asked to not be called Russian, it stirred up some old memories. Please do not refer to us as Russians. We are German.

suspenders

Papa's wearing two pair!

Character

I am continualy struck by the amount of character in each of the faces from so long ago. If you look at each of the 6 in this picture....well, you can read tons of emotion and stories in each one of them

DSS

Shoes

As I look at the photos on this site, I'm frequently thankful that I live in an age when shoes are comfortable.

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