Two girls in a buggy at the fair

What it is:

Photo (a bit less than 4 x 5 inches) mounted on cardboard frame/backing (I cropped the cardboard out of the scan because it is so damaged that it’s just distracting).

What I know about it:

Written on the back in pen is: Pauline Bruce (left) + Pauline Sutton (Richtmyer) at the Prattsville Fair


My guess is this is a real buggy set up in a fake setting in a temporary photo studio at the fair.  There is a Prattsville, New York, and a Prattsville Arkansas, and I don’t know which one this would be.  This probably isn’t a county fair since there is no Prattsville County, and neither Prattsville is a county seat.  If I were in a more obsessive mood, or doing genealogy research, I would try to hunt down these names to find their childhood homes (not to mention further biographical details).  But I’m not, so that can wait for another day.  For the time being, I think it’s a perfectly charming image, and I doubt that knowing which state it’s in would make much difference in my appreciation of it.  That said, as I was adding a “Prattsville” tag to this post, I saw to my surprise that there already was one.  Sure enough, my very first blog post shows a photo from Prattsville, New York.  Coincidence?  Unfortunately, at this point I’ve lost track of whether they are from the same source or not, so maybe, maybe not.

8 comments on “Two girls in a buggy at the fair”

  1. The smaller child to our left looks like she is about to fly into a rage. Hell, she looks like she might just fly, and bite someone in the neck. Nice wagon.

  2. I’m fascinated by the two Paulines. I’m thinking that someone was going through old photos and labeled it later, after one of them was married? Why else the parenthetical name? Why do these two know each other as children and adults? Cousins, perhaps. Or just childhood friends? I love playing this game, Matt. Thanks for having the blog so I can make up stories about these delightful creatures. And by delightful, I mean totally petulant and surly in Pauline’s case.

    • Yes, many of the photos I have seem to have been labeled years later. Many are labeled something like “Grandmother’s cousin Bill”, or labeled in ballpoint pen, or in some other way that suggests the photos were being handed down and somebody was making the effort to identify them before the identities were completely lost to the mists of time. I have one or two where two different handwritings were arguing over the identity (“That’s Uncle Frank” “No, that’s Uncle John”) which is kind of amusing, but which also highlights the dangers of relying too heavily on the labeling. I’m glad you enjoy guessing the stories behind these photos. I do, too. Sometimes I want to know all I can, and other times the mystery is just as fun.

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