Four adults, two teens, a girl, a baby carriage

Click here to view it larger.

What it is:

Two photos, each measuring slightly less than 3.25 x 2.25 inches.  Remnants of album mounts are still stuck to the corners.

What I know about it:

Nothing!  Undated and unidentified.


I just watched a 1904 short film by the Edison Co. with the rather unwieldy title  How a French Nobleman Got a Wife Through the New York Herald Personal Columns.  Basically, he places an ad, too many potential dates show up, and when he tries to escape, they give chase.  (It was a DVD extra on the similarly-themed Buster Keaton movie Seven Chances, but it’s also been uploaded several places on the internet, including the Library of Congress and YouTube.)  It wasn’t a masterpiece, but it was fun for me as a fan of slapstick.  Mostly, though, it was a revelation to see images of people from that time moving.  I mean, really moving.  Doing this blog, I’m certainly used to seeing still images of people posing.  And I’ve seen a few films from the era showing street scenes, where people are just walking down the street.  But here we had a man being chased by eight or ten women, all in full, heavy Edwardian dresses and hats, running, jumping, climbing, rolling, falling, even plunging into a river.  In the same way that very old color photos can startle you into realizing the obvious fact that the real world was in color back then, this movie startled me into realizing the obvious fact that people then didn’t just move gently and pose.  And even in 1904, I’m sure the fact that these women were struggling against their cumbersome outfits must have added to the humor.  The photos I’m posting above are among the most candid in my collection from that general era, showing a bit more of a carefree attitude than I’m used to, and, as much as is possible with a photo, some sense of people moving around.  I wonder what the occasion is.  I’m amused by the woman’s hat that looks like a capitol dome.  One woman seems to be blowing her nose.  And I’m charmed by the girl eating ice cream.

4 comments on “Four adults, two teens, a girl, a baby carriage”

  1. My undergrad focus was late Victorian literature, and photos like this thrill me. For all the reasons you mention, candid snapshots humanize subjects in ways portraits and novels can’t.

    Love it. Simply love it.

    • I’m glad you like it! I agree, the candids may not be the prettiest, but they are often the most revealing, which is what usually inspires me to look at vintage photos in the first place.

  2. Love it. Absolutely charming.

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