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Those Were the Days: 1942

Those Were the Days: 1942

March 1942. Baltimore, Md. "Sergeant Franklin Williams, home on leave from Army duty at Fort Bragg, singing with sister Sarah, brother Thomas and best girl Ellen Hardin while his sister Annetta plays the piano." Photo by Arthur Rothstein, Office of War Information. View full size.


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For some reason I’m really noticing the tactile nature of those clothing fabrics: the smooth wool, the heavier wool, the velvet (velour?), the leather of Franklin’s belt. Plus, in the happy department, that’s five for five people.

More on Sgt. Williams


There is some unusually ornate crown moulding on the piano along with the carved medallion on the music rack. It might have been a very nice piano. I hope it wasn't one of those that got sent to the dump.

I believe they were married

Ellen Harden appears in the 1920. 1930, (skips 1940) and the 1950 census with her mother Lelia. In the 1950 census, her name is Ellen Williams with marital status listed as separated.

In 1940, Ellen's mother Lelia lived at 2451 Woodbrook Avenue, just half a mile from 2025 McCulloh Street.

I believe I found the Williams family

in the 1940 Census, the head of the household is Annie Williams, 54. Living with her were her married daughter Annetta, son-in-law, grandson, sons Thomas and Franklin, daughter Sarah, and two lodgers. In Arthur Rothstein's 1942 photograph Franklin Williams is 27, Annetta 23, Thomas 31, and Sarah 17. The exterior of their address at 2025 McCulloh Street (house with iron handrails on both sides of the steps) matches the interior photo (stairs straight up from front door, parlor on the right).

Sergeant Franklin Williams

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