Bobbie, pensive by the window

By: usermattw

Jan 06 2019

Tags: ,

Category: Men


Click here to view it larger.

What it is:

Photo measuring 5.5 x 7.34 inches.


What I know about it:

Inscription partly reads “To Willie from Bobbie”, and the photographer appears to have dated it 1921, if I’m seeing that correctly.



It’s been wonderful this holiday season that friends have surprised me with gifts of old photos!  In addition to the ones in the previous two posts, I received a pair from my friend Keri.  Here’s the first one.  I know nothing of its origins beyond the fact that she bought it at a thrift store in Idaho, where she presently lives.  We both feel it looks like an actor’s portrait, like we’ve stumbled upon a lost image of Francis X. Bushman or something.  But if so, I don’t recognize him.  There’s something charming about the way the photo is so stately and dignified, and yet the inscription is so informally intimate (“Bobbie” instead of “Robert”).  And is “Willie” male or female?  I can’t quite read the rest of the inscription.  It looks a bit like “25 Feb”, but I can’t make out the rest.  I also can’t make out the photographer’s name in the lower right.  As for our Bobbie here, he cuts a fine figure, though I sympathize with his efforts to make his wavy hair look elegant.

4 comments on “Bobbie, pensive by the window”

  1. It’s a great photo – very clear, apart from the writing. What I’m curious about is the doodle of a candle in a candle-holder, between his hands!

    By the way, I suspect part of his hair is a wig – probably the smoothed down part behind the curls.

    • I assumed the thing in the lower right was some sort of handwritten insignia of the photographer, but it could be part of the inscription from Bobbie. And interesting idea of it being a wig. That’s quite possible. I’ve seen some amusing vintage photos (not ones I own) of men wearing toupees and other hairpieces that don’t quite match the rest of their hair.

  2. oooh… what an intriguing photo! I think it says “1929”, but I could be wrong. As for the photographer name – looks like it starts with a “B” and ends with an “l”, and underneath says “19”? I am also intrigued by the candleholder – is it a secret message or in-joke between Bobbie and Willie, or did Bobbie not like the photographer? Or is the photo of someone else entirely, like a joint crush by Bobbie and Willie on the subject of said photo?

    • I assumed that the thing that looks like a candle was some part of the photographer’s “signature” or logo, but I’m not sure. Very interesting idea that the man pictured might be neither Bobbie nor Willie!

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