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Baby Picture: 1908

Washington, D.C., circa 1908. "Sherley, Rep. Grp." Kentucky congressman Joseph Sherley and family. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

Washington, D.C., circa 1908. "Sherley, Rep. Grp." Kentucky congressman Joseph Sherley and family. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.


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Mignon Obit

Newspaper accounts suggest that the Sherleys were living at 2600 Upton St (a tony neighborhood adjacent to Rock Creek Park) as early as 1925.

Washington Post, Nov 19, 1969

Mignon Sherley

Ex-House Member's Widow, 91

Mignon Critten Sherley, 91, the widow of the former Rep. Swager Sherley (D-Ky.), died yesterday at Doctors Hospital after a brief illness. She lived at 2600 Upton st. NW.

Born in Springfield, Ohio, Mrs. Sherley moved to Grymes Hill, Staten Island, at an early age. She was educated at the Brearley School in New York and studied in Paris.

Mrs. Sherley was married in 1906 and her husband served as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee for many years.

Mrs. Sherley was an active churchwoman and a member of St. John's Church. She devoted much of her time to the work of the Red Cross and was an active member of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America. She also served on the Women's Board of the Episcopal Church Home and was a long-time member of the Georgetown Garden Club.

Mrs. Sherley is survived by three daughters, Mrs. Andrew B. Young, of Philadelphia, Mrs. William R.B. Acker, of Washington, and Mrs. Roland L. Wolcott, of Summit, N.J., and two sons, Thomas H., of Washington, and Swager Jr., of Old Greenwich, Conn.

Olive Sherley Young 1907-2005

From the Chestnut Hill Local Newspaper - November 24, 2005
Would anyone know the descendants? I must presume they have this photo, but sometimes things get lost......

Olive Young

Olive S. Young, 98, died Nov. 16 at Foulkeways, Gwynedd, Pa. Born in Anchorage, Ky, she spent her childhood in Washington, D.C. where her father, Swagar Sherley, was a congressman from Kentucky and the chairman of the Appropriations Committee during World War I.

A member of St. Paul's Church in Chestnut Hill since 1935, she was on the Altar Guild for more than four decades. She was also a founding member of the board of the Academy of Vocal Arts.

Mrs. Young is survived by her daughter, Sherley Young of Devon, Pa., and two granddaughters. Her husband of 70 years, Andrew B. Young, and a son, Andrew O. Young, predeceased her.

A memorial service will be held in the future at St. Paul's Church, Chestnut Hill. Burial will be private. Memorial contributions may be made to the Christopher Reeve Foundation, 636 Morris Turnpike, Suite 3A, Short Hills, NJ 07078.

Arty and Lacy

I wonder if the copious amounts of lace on her dress and the baby's dress is machine made or handmade. I'd be that lovely white-on-white embroidery was done by hand, though. Wow. They both look like they're in christening clothes. This really does remind me of a painting; such dreamy lighting.

Gibson Girl gets married

I'm reminded not so much of the art of Mary Cassatt as that of Charles Dana Gibson. Mrs. Sherley is a classic Gibson Girl, with her beautiful profile, upswept hair and lacy white dress. This family just exudes class, in a century-old manner that's probably not even understood any more except by social historians.


That is one stupendously wonderful family photo

The original Love Boat

The 1904 steamer trip with future president Taft where the couple met is legendary. It was also where Alice Roosevelt and her future husband Nicholas Longworth paired up, either before or after Alice jumped into the ship's pool fully clothed. The NYTimes reported the hookups under the headline "Secretary Taft as Cupid." No mention of Julie the Social Director or Gopher the Purser and future Congressman.

Perfect Baby

What a gorgeous kid! Look at those eyelashes and those dimpled knuckles. Hope you had a good life, kid; you got off to a great start!


What an extraordinary name. And I find it interesting that the groom is spoken of in the news article as 'about' 34 years old.

Mary Cassat

For some reason, this reminds me of a Mary Cassat painting.

Great photo.


Some times you see a beauty in these old photogrpahs that has that timeless beauty quality about them. Someone who would have been a knockout in any age and whose beauty you can imagine translating right to the present. Grace Kelly sticks out in my mind, but this lady - Va-va-va-voom!

From The Sherley Family Website

Name: Joseph Swagar Sherley
Birth: November 28, 1871
Death: February 13, 1941
Spouse: Mignon Critten Sherley
Children: Olive Critten Sherley, Mignon Sherley, Swagar Sherley, Thomas Huffman Sherley (2), and Marjorie Sherley
Grandchildren: NA
Joseph Swagar Sherley was a Democratic US Representative of the 5th District from 1903-1919.

Joseph Swagar Sherley was born in Louisville, Kentucky November 28, 1871. He graduated from Louisville Male High School in 1889 with an A.B. In 1891, he obtained a law degree from the University of Virginia Law.

In 1900, he joined the Masonic Order and the Louisville Pendennis Club.

In 1902, he ran for US House of Representatives for the 5th District of Kentucky. He was reelected seven consecutive times and finally lost in 1918. He served in the 58th through 65th Congresses.

In 1905, he joined William Howard Taft on a Philippine cruise, to study the United States' new acquisition. At this time William Howard Taft was only the Secretary of War. It was on this cruise that he met Mignon Critten of New York whom he married on April 21, 1906. Mignon was a friend of William Taft's daughter Alice.

During the 1930s, with Franklin D Roosevelt, Swagar completely reorganized the federal government departments and budget system. He wrote numerous confidential reports to Roosevelt on topics such as sewage plants, post offices, public works, Navy department, and the Bureau of the Budget. FDR offered him the position of Director of the Bureau of the Budget, but Sherley declined. Likewise, he also declined a judgeship on the U.S. Court of Appeals.

He died after surgery on February 13, 1941 at the age of 69. He was buried in Cave Hill Cemetery.

Beautiful picture!

Even with the blurred figure on the right side, the lighting and especially the expression on the mother's face is at once simple and beautiful. Thanks!


This picture inspires me some kind of weird melancholy, when I consider that all of this people, even the baby, so full of life back then, are now dead. Life is short, this photo is saying to us, carpe diem.

José Luis Santana

How perfect

Mignon is a beautiful young mother, Olive an angelic baby and Swager a handsome stalwart father. I love the two soft lacy dresses on the mother and child.

I also guess the photographer's assistant (or the photographer himself?) got in the way somehow. Was he trying to get little Olive's attention or something?

Gorgeous portrait!

I hope Olive's family knows about this portrait, the lighting is beautiful and her parents are handsome. Hm, makes me want to paint this picture! Wonderful portrait!


I love the quality of light on Mignon's face. It makes her skin look like porcelain. I also love the look on her face -- so full of love and adoration for her child.

Is that the photographer leaning in to the right? Then who's taking the picture? 1905 seems a bit early for multiple photographers or multiple cameras in the room, although I may be wrong about that.

Swager, Mignon & Olive

Joseph Swagar Sherley apparently preferred to be known by his middle name. According to this genealogy, the first born of Swager and Mignon was Olive Critten Sherley, born 06/13/1907 so I'm guessing that makes this photo circa 1908.

Washington Post, Dec 26, 1905

Met Going Across Pacific

Engagement of Representative Sherley and Miss Critten Announced

Announcement is made by Mr. and Mrs. De Frees Critten, of Grymes Hill, Staten Island, of the engagement of their daughter Mignon to Representative Swager Sherley, of Louisville, Ky.

Miss Critten is a friend of Miss Alice Roosevelt, and accompanied the President's daughter, in the Taft party, last summer to the orient. Representative Sherley was also a member of the party, and the two met for the first time on the steamer going across the Pacific.

The date for the wedding has not been fixed, but it will take place next spring.

Representative Sherley is serving his second term in Congress. He is a lawyer and is about thirty-four years old.

Washington Post, Apr 22, 1906

Sherley-Critten Nuptials

Kentucky Congressman Weds Miss Mignon Critten, of Staten Island

Miss Mignon Critten and Representative Swager Sherley, of Louisville, Ky., were married this afternoon at "Olive Crest.," the residence of the bride's parents, Mr. and Mrs. De Fees Critten, Grymes Hill, Staten Island.

Little Angel

What a beautiful baby - angelic really.

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