Woman and boy from Rockford, Illinois

What it is:

Carte de visite (CDV) photo measuring 2.5 x 4.25 inches.

What I know about it:

Photographer is G. W. Barnes of Rockford, Illinois.  Otherwise undated and unidentified, but it is from a photo album from which I have previously posted several photos.


This one is a little faded, but I like it anyway.  I assume this is a mother and son?  I’m intrigued by the way objects have been scattered about for artistic effect, and yet the photo still looks so simple.  I’ve been operating under the assumption that the photos in this album are original to the album, and that they are mostly extended family members and maybe close friends.  The album is fragile enough that I haven’t yanked them all out yet, but this is the first labeled one I looked at that wasn’t from Wisconsin or Michigan.  I thought that seemed rather far, but it turns out Rockford is in the northern part of the state, only about 95 miles from Milwaukee.  Not as far as I thought, but still a significant enough journey in those days.

7 comments on “Woman and boy from Rockford, Illinois”

  1. I love old photos! I’ve recently been obsessed with an old bridge that they are taking down. I found a series of images shot in the 1920s and was able to create a panorama from them. Here’s the post if you’re interested: http://deremerstudios.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/memorial-bridge-rediscovering-a-90-year-old-panorama/
    Thanks again for sharing. Look forward to seeing more!

    • Hi! Thanks for following my blog, and for sharing your project, too. I agree, looking at old photos can be fascinating. They bring up questions about the way things were that spur you in new directions of research and exploration. I get a lot of comments from people here answering my questions and giving me pointers about what I’m looking at, and it has been very rewarding.

  2. Hi Matt

    I am sure it is his mother but how much more like a grandmother does she look? I find that in my own family albums – people aged so quickly back then, even in the 1940s and 50s. People of 35 look like mid-fifties of these days (and I am not counting cosmetic surgery either).

    • Yes, I know what you mean. It’s not inconceivable that he’s an orphan being raised by his grandmother, or that she’s older because he was the last of twelve kids, but you’re right, she does look older than my modern eyes expect for a child that age. Of course, my modern eyes are influenced by modern expectations of things like make-up and hairstyles that influence how old or young a person looks. I think sometimes I look at old photos and think the people look older simply because the styles are old-fashioned. But yes, I also sometimes think life had to have had more stresses then, and those stresses would have aged a person.

      • Sun damage was a big ager. Even in my own age group the ones who didn’t tan and used sunscreen look years younger than those that were sun worshipers.

      • Agreed. It’s interesting that these days tanned, weathered skin is looked upon approvingly as a sign that you’ve led a hearty, vigorous life, while in those days it was frowned upon as a sign that you had to do manual labor outdoors and couldn’t lead a life of luxury and repose.

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