JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

Mother: 1933

1933. "Mrs. Vincent P. Ahearn, portrait." Mr. Ahearn was executive secretary of the Industrial Sand Association. Harris & Ewing Collection. View full size.

1933. "Mrs. Vincent P. Ahearn, portrait." Mr. Ahearn was executive secretary of the Industrial Sand Association. Harris & Ewing Collection. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

No one has mentioned it

What a striking woman Mrs. Ahearn was, and what a pleasant, placid face she has. She radiates love and patience. I'm sure she was a most beloved wife and mommy.

True Grit

When you hear the word sand, you may think of a child's sand box or an ocean beach. Yet we depend on industrial sand for many uses. ...

Beloved Wife

Washington Post, Jan. 25, 1969

On Thursday, January 23, 1969, Mary Belle Ahearn of 8024 Hampden Lane, Bethesda, Md., beloved wife of Vincent P. Ahearn Sr., mother of Mrs. Richard H. Walsh, Mrs. Roland H. Berger Jr. of Camp Hill, Pa., and Vincent P. Ahearn Jr.; sister of Mrs. Nonnie C. Geary of Nashville, and Mrs. Edward Brunn Bruner of Dallas. Also survived by 14 grandchildren. Services Saturday, January 25 at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Bethesda, where Requiem Mass will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Interment private. Please omit flowers.

Brigadier Sir Charles Arthur Strong, Mrs.

Yes, I'm pretty sure he was joking about the name affecting her mood (hence, nothing to "stand by"), and I'm also pretty sure there was no "rage" anywhere, either.

More to the point, we weren't talking about the couple being addressed together, but of the wife being addressed by (or addressing herself by) her husband's given name when she's on her own. So your 2009 Christmas card having "Mr. and Mrs. John Smith" on the envelope might not be extraordinary (although in all but the most formal, conservative circles "John and Mary Smith" would be more likely), but if you show up solo to a parent-teacher conference and say, "Hi, I'm Mrs. John Smith," your kid's Kindergarten teacher is going to get nostalgic for the smell of Granny's lavender scented lace hankies.

Hits and Mrs.

I understand what prompted Tom's rage. I stand by my point that reducing someone's identity to their name is a strange measure (and, though I think he was joking on this score, that their mother's "lack of identity" is not the reason the kids look serious!)

Also, I don't know the etiquette for actually calling someone by their married name to their face, but as for written addresses, it's still common practice to use "Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Smith," (unless the woman has kept her maiden name, in which case it would be "Mr. Thomas Smith and Ms. Jane Andrews".) Using "Mrs. Joyce Smith" would usually imply that the woman was widowed, or perhaps divorced (although "Ms. Joyce Smith" would be more standard for a divorcee.) So I don't anticipate too many double-takes.

Anyway, use whatever name you wish. I just think it's a stretch to assume that women are automatically unhappy just because they share their husband's name. I have to read a lot of history where current ideas are projected backwards, often unfairly. Sort of a pet peeve of mine, so I apologize for the rant.

Name Change

Catherine, I'm pretty sure Tom was referring to the custom of a wife adopting not only her husband's surname, but of being addressed by his given name as well (i.e., if the First Lady called herself "Mrs. Barack Obama" instead of "Michelle Obama").

My grandmother's generation was the last one to do so as a matter of course, so if you do choose to revive the custom at some future date, be prepared for some double-takes.

Re: No Joy

Yes, I'm sure that's why they're not smiling. Ever try to get a three-year-old and an eight-month-old to smile when they're not in the mood? I think it's a remarkable portrait that they managed to get all the kids sitting still and looking at the camera. They probably wouldn't have taken 300 shots like they would today.

It's a lovely family, and if you base someone's identity on their name, well, that's as strange of measure as any I've ever heard. You're entitled to be outraged on behalf of women who share their husband's names if you want to spend your energy on it, and if a woman chooses not to do so, then I think that's a matter between her and her husband. But not all women view this as some horrible symbol of masculine hegemony. When I get married, I'll be proud to share my husband's name as a symbol of of our partnership. I sincerely doubt that my "identity" will suddenly vanish and I'll become a cipher because my last name changes--just as I'm sure that this woman's did not. Maybe she was very happy to be Mrs. Ahearn, and maybe not, but at any rate, her feelings on the subject were probably unrelated to her last name.

It's a slippery slope to judge people of the past with modern-day attitudes and ideas. They did not necessarily hold the same values as you do, and that does not automatically make them simple, oppressive neanderthals.

No Joy for the Missus

Only one (slight) smile out of the four. I'm sure that's due to Mom not having an identity.

When I was about 9 years old (mid 1950s), my mother got her picture in the local paper, being saluted for Community Chest work. I asked why she was listed in the caption as "Mrs. Harold E. Moore" instead of her own name. She replied simply, "That's the proper way to identify someone's wife." I told her she got gypped, and that I never wanted to be a girl.

Parents, I guess, are used to this. I found it to be the same at school. I was known as "Justin's father." Only rarely was this convention abandoned. I do recall one parent who was referred to as "Cindy's Hot Mom." (Probably only by the dads).

Early cloning

Are the girls' names "Mini-Me I" and "Mini-Me II"?

I wonder...

If there was a "Sand Advisory Board"?


There is a calm poise to this mother and her children; they seem guileless. Perhaps Lewis Hine's children were actually more equipped for the turmoil of the outside world than this family.


Angelic, every one of them.


Industrial Sand Association! No doubt these charming rug-rats had the best sandbox in the city.


The Depression is not touching them.

Good Grief

It's Charlie Brown!

Syndicate content is a vintage photography site featuring thousands of high-definition images. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago. Contact us | Privacy policy | Accessibility Statement | Site © 2024 Shorpy Inc.