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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • VINTAGE ALASKA, c. 1920s

Crosswise: 1902

Crosswise: 1902

Washington, D.C., between February 1901 and December 1903. "Wink, Longley (crosswise)." 5x7 glass negative from the C.M. Bell portrait studio. View full size.

 

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What Goes Around Comes Around

Mary Theresa Longley (nee Shelhamer), shown on our left, was a well-known medium and lecturer. She was born in South Boston in 1853 and at the time this photograph was taken she was the Secretary of the National Association of Spiritualists and had written a few books on spiritualism under both her maiden and married names. She obtained a medical degree in Massachusetts and used her clairvoyance in her medical work as a medium healer. In Boston in 1888, when she was 35 years old, she married Chalmers Payson Longley, who was 61 years old. By 1898 they were living in Washington D. C. at 600 Pennsylvania Avenue Southeast (now a commercial office building).

Chalmers was born in Hawley, Massachusetts in 1827. His first wife, Maria Shaw, died in 1875 at the age of 42. Although he listed various occupations over the years such as a Massachusetts Merchant Tailor in 1855, a regular Tailor in 1860, a Mechanic in 1863, and a Connecticut Gun Manufacturer in 1880, he had been composing spiritualist music since at least the early 1850s and the Boston Marriage Registry lists him as a musician in 1888. In 1896 he and Mary were living in Los Angeles near his relatives and his voter registration listed his occupation as a music publisher, while the city directory had him as a musician. Although also an accomplished singer, he finally settled on the job description of ‘composer of music’ and wrote the music for a number of spiritualist era songs, with "Only a Thin Veil Between Us” (1887) being his best-known work. He died in Washington in January 1920 at the age of 93. The photo of him below was taken from Mary Longley’s 1912 book “Nameless” which was dedicated to her husband who had become totally blind earlier that year.

Longley

The younger lady to our right is Agnes Orlon Wink (also a spiritualist) who was born in Iowa in 1873. By the time she was 12 her family had relocated to Nebraska. When this photo was taken, she was boarding in the Longley house and working at the War Department as a clerk. She came to Washington via Los Angeles, where she attended Cross Shortland College, in the fall of 1898 to work as stenographer to Assistant Secretary of War George de Rue Meiklejohn (from Nebraska). Meiklejohn stepped down in March 1901 and Agnes transferred to the Office of the Quartermaster General.

In August 1905, after several years of courtship, she married Robert Eugene Fugett who was also a clerk at the War Department and all their wedding notices said she was from San Francisco. Despite having just received a raise at work, Agnes had left her position there to become a homemaker.

When the Washington D. C. enumerator for the 1920 census called upon the Fugett household at 310 S Street Northeast (a newer house stands there today) he found residing therein: Robert E. Fugitt, 58; Agnes O. Fugitt, 46; Robert P. Fugitt, 13; and Elmer W. Fugitt, 11. Also listed were two boarders: Chalmers P. Longley, 92; and Mary T. Longley, 66.

She is no dummy

The image first presented itself on my screen from the waistlines up. My impression was that Wink was Longley's dummy. Wink is appropriately named for the role.

Who's watching whom

Wink is thinking, "I'm pretty sure he's checking Longley out. I would have expected a higher code of conduct from the CM Bell Studio. On the other hand, he's kind of cute in a geeky way. All the same, best remain alert."

Longley is thinking, "It's obvious that this chap has unchivalrous designs on Wink. Better keep both my eyes on him just in case. Unless I pass out from oxygen deprivation first, on account of this collar gives new meaning to the expression 'high and tight.'"

Mother & daughter?

Looking at the resemblance and the possible difference in age I wonder if this could be a mother daughter portrait? The woman on the left has a wedding ring, the woman on the right does not might be another hint.

Also the woman on the right has one cuff rolled up and the other is down. I agree with Mattle, that the photographer was not very good at posing his subjects.

Crease-wise

The horizontal crease in each woman's bodice is unflattering and awkward. The photographer apparently didn't care about making these two look their best.

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