Monday, April 4, 2011

Other Peoples' Families

Ten or more years ago, while visiting Richmond Virginia, I was taken to Whiting's Old Paper, a store that specializes in exactly what its name says. Calling it a store could conjure up the wrong vision. It's a stall in an antiques bazaar that's housed in a nondescript warehouse, on a two lane country highway, near Mechanicsville. I was fascinated by the 19th Century photos, tintypes and cartes-de-visite and the early 20th Century snapshots. The bureau chief enjoys looking at the doors of people's refrigerators to see what pictures have been chosen to be magnetically attached. This is the historical version of that.

As far as I know, none of the people in the photos were notable to anyone except their unknown friends and relations. Some images have names written on them (usually just first names) but most do not. I chose them purely because they appealed to me. I had no other method. Almost all are from the United States but I'll start with this German family featuring the world's most startled baby. Click to enlarge.

Now an American family.

A couple of young women looking pensive, melancholic, hungry?

Four guys on a tintype (lightly tinted).

Two young women on a tintype (also tinted).

Grace Reilly!

I returned to Whiting's Old Paper on my recent trip to Richmond, after not having gone there for several years. I found my interest in other people's relations had waned but I was attracted to a section of illustrations cut from books. This is an illustration from an edition of "Gulliver's Travels", most likely from the latter part of the 19th Century.

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