This will be a quick post—no mysteries to solve, no histories to relay; just a touching photo I found on my most recent trip to my grandmother Harriet’s house (late August, 2012). When I first saw the photo, it was part of a photo collage made by my grandmother Harriet about 30–40 years ago.
The glue that Harriet used to make the collage had become old and brittle in the three or four decades years since the collage was made, and the photo was easily removed from the poster board backing without any damage to the photo (NB: there was one small area—about 2 cm²—that was not easily separated from the poster board, so I left that area attached to the surface of the poster board pending later conservation).
When I removed the photo, I discovered that it was not just a photo, it was a photo postcard. Even better, a caption for the photo had been written on the back of the postcard. To top it off, it had been written by my great grandmother herself!
Until now, I had never knowingly seen a photo of my great grandmother as a young woman. Nearly every photo I have of her is from her 40s to her 80s. And then along comes this treasure, opening a window onto my great grandmother’s young adulthood.
The caption on the back reads:
Mrs Mina Arbuckle
Here is a card of Eva and I and it is for you and Mildred because I [have got] another one. It is so very good. Hope you are all well. Tell all the folks hello.
There isn’t much on the back of the card to date the photo (although I wonder if the area still obscured by the poster board covers the second half of a month and year). I’m not confident in my abilities to estimating the ages of people, but I’d guess that Eva (the younger of the two) is about 3-6 years old here. Eva was born on May 17, 1907, so that would place the date of the photo around 1910–1913. Gertie was born on July 9, 1897, so a date of 1910–1913 would make Gertie about 13–16. Gertie looks more like 14-15 here, so I’ll tentatively place the date of this photo at 1911–1912, with Gertie being 14–15 years old, and Eva being 4–5 years old.