Thursday, June 4, 2009

And now for something a little different. . .

Here we've finally reached the mystery pictures that Maureen sent me. Does anyone have any idea who any of these people are?

We're positing that these are Mulvaney children, possibly James, who was among the oldest, with one of his younger siblings? All speculation, of course. Based on my very rudimentary knowledge of photography, I'm going to say that it must have been taken after 1880. However, this type of pretty standard black-and-white photography remained prominent until color photographs came into being in the second half of the 20th century. Perhaps someone who knows a little more about clothing styles or photography could narrow it down a little more, but that's as much as I've got. I do have to point out, though, all of the really cool aspects of this picture - the awesome old-fashioned baby buggy, the older boy's suspenders, his slightly awkward and stiff-armed stance while supporting the baby, the expression on the face of the younger boy running through the doorway, and, most of all, the kid in the sombrero to the bottom right. Really? Aren't these Irish kids in turn-of-the-century Brooklyn? Who's wearing a sombrero?
This woman is a mystery. This type of photography, which used albumen, was popular from the 1850s through the 1890s and the "carte-de-visite" way of printing photographs on cards that could be given away was most popular from 1860-1870. After that, it began to be supplanted by the slightly larger "Cabinet Cards," of which I think this may be one. However, if you look closely, you can see that the circular mark in the center of the bottom margin is bragging that the Photographers were awarded the "Medal of Merit for Photography" in 1890. This picture, at least, must be from 1890 or later. It must have been someone of Julia and Patrick's generation, since by the time any of their children were as old as the woman in the picture, this type of photography was largely obsolete. Aunt Betty says that she's seen picture of Julia as a young woman, and that this isn't her. It could still, of course, be one of Julia's sisters, or her brother William's wife (if he married, and we don't know if he did), or Patrick's sister Mary Ann, or one of his brothers' wives.
This picture is even less easy to pinpoint, as there's no date on it at all. Again, it's probably someone of Julia and Patrick's generation, although, since it could be older than the other one, it might be of someone older than they. I'm at least sure that it looks nothing like the one photograph of Patrick that I've seen. Again, though, there are Patrick's brothers, John, Thomas, and James, Julia's brother William, or any of their sisters' husbands, if we want to assume that it's a relative.


geneabloggers said...

I always love the challenge of unidentified photographs. Here are some suggestions:

1. Have you posted the photos up at Dead Fred yet? I use this to look for photos and many genealogists do as well.

2. Are there any stamps or markings on the back of the photos especially the last two?

3. The last photo seems to be from the studio of Amos Silkworth (see this post at Ancestry message boards.

Thomas MacEntee

Katie O. said...

Thomas -

1. I haven't posted them on Dead Fred yet, but I've been intending to.

2. I don't have the pictures myself - a relative scanned them and sent them to me - but she assures me there's nothing on the back.

3. Just checked out that post, and it's incredibly informative! Thank you so much! It's silly, but I hadn't even thought about researching the the photography studios - or at least hadn't thought it was possible. That information really narrows it down and dates the two pictures to approximately the same time period.