Emma and Mary Alice Hall

What it is:

Cabinet card measuring 4.25 x 6.5 inches.

What I know about it:

Written on the back is Emma Hall & Mary Alice


I just watched the movie The Secret Garden for the first time.  I read the book last year, but hadn’t gotten around to seeing the movie.  This picture isn’t intended to be a direct representation of that story.  The fact of a loving mother/daughter relationship is difference enough.  But it put me in the mind to find something lushly romantic and vaguely Edwardian.  I have other photos of these two, as well as photos of their extended family.  It will be interesting (at least for me) to try to sort out their relationships.  Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this one.

14 comments on “Emma and Mary Alice Hall”

  1. What made you decide to read ‘The Secret Garden”, Matt?. I reread it for about the 6th time last year. I think of it as a little girl’s story. I think you are the first man I’ve ever come across who has read it.

    • Well, I’d always heard that it was a beautiful story, and hadn’t particularly heard that it was a girl’s story. In retrospect I guess I can see why they say that, but I think anyone can enjoy it.

  2. Know what I love, Matt? Other than live babies and happy mamas? The inescapable reality that no baby could ever hold still for the exposure length required back then. Babies are wigglers, and this happy wiggler is sweetly blurred.

    I still haven’t read the Secret Garden. It’s on the list of 300+ I really should read.

    • Yes, I’m sure the blurriness must have been maddening in most cases, but it has a certain charm here. (And I’m glad you approve of this one. I really don’t think I have any more post-mortem photos to alarm you with. At least not for now. 😉 )

      Admittedly, my response to Photobooth Journal above was partial. The situation was that my job had a lot of down time, but I couldn’t sit there reading a book. I could, however, go online, so I discovered the wonderful world of public domain books free on the internet (I was mostly using Google Books, but there are other sites). Since the work environment was still a bit distracting, I stuck with a lot of short stores (Sherlock Holmes, Poe, etc.) to start with, and realized that children’s novels would probably be readable in that setting as well. So I read “The Secret Garden”, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass”, “The Wind in the Willows”, etc. Then I moved on to adult novels. That whole experience reignited my interest in classic literature, which I continue to indulge today, alongside the usual mysteries and non-fiction that I had been reading all along.

  3. “The Secret Garden” is popular with many–the San Francisco Opera is producing a brand-new version of it in 2013, and most of the production team is male. PJ–if it was really a “little girl’s story,” why would it keep you rereading after you’ve grown up? ; ) I wonder how many people have missed out on books they would like, because of these classifications. I recently got some old favorites out of the children’s section of the library, and I felt like I wasn’t even supposed to be in there without a kid chaperon.

    Matt, you’re not done with children’s literature yet–check out the E. Nesbit section on gutenberg.org. Personally recommended by Noel Coward (& me). (Warning: the books were written beginning around 1900, and so can sometimes contain racist and classist comments, but they’re relatively mild.) Here’s one to start with:
    Many of her books were originally written for “The Strand” magazine (also the home of Sherlock), so the chapters are episodic, which sounds appropriate for your situation.

    • I think PJ was referring to gender more than age, but I could be wrong, and the points are taken all around. I guess the lesson is that good literature is good literature, regardless of genre, and that we can be pleasantly surprised when we dip into areas we assumed aren’t intended for us.

      And thanks for the recommendations for further reading.

    • Harried costumer – PJ–if it was really a “little girl’s story,” why would it keep you rereading after you’ve grown up?
      Matt is right, my classification of it that way, is due to the fact that it was given to girls to read at my primary school and not boys. I wasn’t criticising Matt for reading it. I was impressed, as it is indeed a fabulous story and it should be widely read. I keep rereading it out of love of the characters and nostalgia. I also read a lot of contemporary children’s literature to keep up with the interests of my nieces and nephews and classics that I somehow missed out on in childhood even though I read a lot.

      • Don’t worry, nobody thought you were being critical. 🙂 I think we all agree that this is a good example of the benefits of looking beyond the received wisdom of what we are expected to be thinking and enjoying. By the way, while contemporary children’s literature wouldn’t be free for us to read online like the classic stuff, is there any that you particularly recommend for adults like us?

      • Thanks for your note Matt! I can recommend without even thinking about it, anything by Phillip Pullman but particularly His Dark Materials trilogy. I also love Terry Pratchett’s children’s books (and his adult ones, which had NO appeal until I read the kids ones.) I read the first of the Twilight saga with my niece but wasn’t inspired to move on to number two.. . My memory isn’t great so I will have to think a bit more about the others I’ve read.

      • Thanks for the suggestions!

  4. HarriedCostumer, I am curious about E. Nesbit. She couldn’t possibly be Stanford White’s Gibson Girl, could she?

    • I’ll take the liberty of answering the basic fact of your question (since I just looked it up). The author referenced here is Edith Nesbit. Stanford White’s lover was Evelyn Nesbit. But beyond that I know nothing of the author, so Harried Costumer is welcome to chime in with further info. 🙂

  5. Thank you for looking it up and for answering my question, Matt!

    • You’re welcome! 🙂 (I already knew Stanford White’s mistress was Evelyn White, but I had never heard of the author and didn’t know what the initial stood for.)

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