Father with two children, Boston, 1897

What it is:

Photo (approx. 5.5 x 4 inches) mounted on cardboard frame/backing (approx. 7 x 5.5 inches).

What I know about it:

Photographer is Emily Stokes of Boston.  Written on the back in pen:  Our sincere love to Aunt Mary. / Donald / Margaret / Fletcher / ’97.


I have other photos of these two children a few years older (they grew up to be quite attractive), but this is the only one I have of them with an adult.  A couple of the other photos are from the same photographer, but one is from a photographer in Providence, Rhode Island, and the other is unspecified.  This is the only one where the people are named.  Assuming that Fletcher is not a surname in this case, I would hazard a guess that Donald is the son and Fletcher is the father, with the oldest child named first, and the parent graciously listed last.  That’s assuming a parent/children relationship here in the first place, of course.  (At first glance I thought the man was wearing a clerical collar, making him more of a Father than a father, but on closer inspection I realized I was mistaken.)  Whatever the case, I’m sure Aunt Mary was quite pleased.

4 comments on “Father with two children, Boston, 1897”

  1. I feel like it’s really rare to see fathers pictured actually cuddling their children during this time period (I’m going to guess around 1910). I wonder if that’s true, or just a stereotype I have.

    • I completely agree! (The date handwritten on the back is 1897, for what it’s worth.) Such poses in vintage photos are rare in part because such casual poses would be hard for people (particularly children) to hold during the longer exposure times, though that’s more true for even older photos. But I agree that it’s mostly unusual to see portrayals of such affection back then. That’s part of what I like about this picture, and I should have said so in the comments. Thanks for pointing it out!

  2. “(The date handwritten on the back is 1897, for what it’s worth.)”
    Dammit! So close. I guess I could have noticed the date in your title! I was led astray by the somewhat longer jacket lapels.

    yes, I notice the white-bedecked child’s left hand is movin’ around a bit.

    • LOL, it’s hardly an exact science. One of the things I always have to remind myself is that these aren’t fashion shoots, and that the clothes being worn may not be the newest styles, or even any style at all.

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