The prize winner of Brazoria County

What it is:

Photo measuring 5 x 7 inches.

What I know about it:

Written on the back in pen is return to Peggy in classified.  The repeating manufacturer’s mark on the back is THIS PAPER / MANUFACTURED / BY KODAK.


I’m finding too much conflicting information about when Kodak used this particular mark on their paper, but even though this is clearly one of the newer photos in my collection, its age can still be measured in decades.  This photo came with a collection of family snapshots.  It appears to be a newspaper photo, so I’m guessing somebody swiped it from the newspaper archives for the family.  Brazoria County is in Texas.  I searched the internet to try to find more about the prizes and categories at this fair and accidentally downloaded a 226-page pdf document detailing more than I could ever want to know, at least about the fair in 2011.  Assuming not much has changed, there is a “Crafts and Hobbies” division, and within that are categories by age group, with further categories for “handicapped” adults and “special” youths, six categories total.  So it looks like our craftswoman won first prize in her age category (the ribbon on the right), as well as the Tri-Color ribbon, awarded to the best in the entire Crafts and Hobbies division.  No wonder her picture was taken for the paper!  My only question is, what exactly did she create here?  I mean, I know it’s a decoupage of the Declaration of Independence.  But did she just glue on the paper and attach some pretty hardware around it, or did she actually do all that calligraphy and illustration, too?  Having had some experience with entries at various rural county fairs, I would say they can really run the gamut, from dazzlingly impressive entries to ones that make you wonder if that’s really the best the county has to offer.  So while the Tri-Color might imply she did the artwork herself, I have to admit that might not be the case.  Regardless, she’s the winner, and she’s happy, so I’m happy for her.

6 comments on “The prize winner of Brazoria County”

  1. My very first public speaking assignment was giving a talk to the Gippsland Decoupage Guild in rural Victoria in 1991. I was promotions officer for the Crafts Council. Nice people but decoupage is such a dubious “craft”!

    • What an experience! Yes, I remember doing decoupage in arts and crafts class in junior high school. I was delighted as a child to find something creative that I could do, since I can’t draw or paint or sculpt or anything like that. 🙂

  2. This photo must be 1954 or after, since the words “Under God” weren’t added to the Pledge of Allegiance until then, but if I hadn’t known that, I would have dated it earlier, judging by the general look. On closer inspection, though, I can see that her dress looks a bit polyester-y, so maybe the photo is even from the 60’s. The style of illustration around the calligraphy looks a lot earlier than the 50’s, so maybe the picture didn’t originally go with that text, and was part of the decoupaging. (The whole ensemble might have just been a retro patriotic piece, however.) I wonder if Peggy in Classified had the image because somebody was trying to sell the piece through the newspaper want ads, or if she was personally connected to the winner.

    • Oh, of course, thanks for the reminder about “under God” making it post-1954, I had forgotten that. I was actually thinking it was more recent. I agree the piece looks rather retro patriotic, which in my mind would coincide nicely with the Bicentennial fervor of 1976, not to mention the popularity of arts & crafts in the 1970s, like decoupage, macrame, pottery, etc. All that might combine to sway the judges. Good question about Peggy in Classified. I was just assuming she had some family connection and loaned them a copy that they never returned, but perhaps there was an attempt to sell the item. The rules I read about entering items in the fair stated that you couldn’t include business cards or “for sale” signs or anything similar with your art entry, but I didn’t see anything that said you couldn’t cite the prize later.

  3. Is it more common than I think that a b&w photo of this type could be from the 70’s? I guess people still had their old b&w cameras (I remember we did, complete with single flashbulbs), but something about the printing made me think it was older–but since I haven’t seen it in person, my impression of it could be totally wrong.

    BTW, the b&w camera was kept in the same cabinet as my mom’s jar of “Modge Podge” for decoupaging and such.

    • I guess I was just assuming that a news photo would be taken in b&w since it would be printed that way, and this had the feel of a photo taken for a local news article. But I could be wrong. Perhaps the notation on the back is misleading? By the way, looking at the back again, I can see traces of lines of adhesive from those self-adhesive photo albums. Looks like Peggy probably never did get it back.

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