I had a breakthrough on one of my lines over the weekend. I found a passport application for my paternal great-grandmother Ida Champ Ferris, which listed her birthplace as Brownsville, Penn. (Her name was mis-indexed, which is why I’d never come across it before.) I had always thought that she was from the Philly area because that’s where she went to college, but turns out that she was born closer to Pittsburgh. I don’t know much more about her parents except that they came from England shortly before she was born. Hopefully this new information will lead to more clues about them!
As promised, I’m continuing my examination of the photos in the Album Rescue Project. I’ve created a spreadsheet of all of the codes written on the photos, to make them easier to group. My hope is to interpret what at least some of the codes mean because this may provide further clues as to the identities of those pictured in the album.
I have come up with a new theory about the codes and who wrote them. My hunch is that the album’s star–the girl featured in most of the album’s photos–was the original owner of the albums and that she wrote a lot of the captions. However, I don’t think she necessarily also wrote the codes. My reasons for this: the handwriting is slightly different in the codes than in the captions; the codes are written in ink and almost all of the captions are in pencil; some of the photos have multiple codes. My thinking is that a subsequent possessor of the albums started coding the photos in order to organize them either for divvying up among family members or for selling. Many, many of the albums’ original photos were no longer in the albums when I purchased them. A friend of mine suggested that a previous owner may have sold some of the photos individually before offloading the albums.
On to the codes themselves. I’m starting with the letter ‘B.’ No ‘A’s were used in the codes. Below are the photos incorporating the letter ‘B’ in some way. There are a variety of subjects portrayed. I think codes incorporating ‘B,’ ’2B,’ ’3B’ and ‘BB’ all stand for different things.
I think that ’2B’ and ’3B’ are particular to the locations pictured. ’3B’ photos in particular seem to be from some sort of summer destination or gathering spot. Regarding ‘BB,’ I don’t think it is necessarily particular to the subject of Red Bridge Park as there are other photos from that park without a code using ‘BB.’
Well, with this post we’ve reached the end of Album 2. There’s no magic clue that reveals the album’s past in these last few photos, but every little tidbit helps and I still have steps I can take to try and track down the family to whom this album belongs. Before we do that though, here are the last photos:
I’m not sure if the photo above is supposed to be of the woman in the background hanging her laundry (she does appear to realize that her photo is being taken) or of the contraption in the foreground…
There is some interesting information printed on the back:
This photo was printed on Kodak Velo (or Velox) Paper according to the stamp on the back. I found this information on Velox prints, which helps to date the photo.
We’re back at a dam (I think) in the next photo:
Love the vehicles in the image above. I don’t see a sign identifying this location, unfortunately. Anyone recognize it?
The guy pictured above looks pretty young — what do you think, is this a high school portrait?
Glue spots foil us in discovering more:
There was something written/stamped on the back, but it’s obscured now by glue and paper from where it was adhered to an album page. Bah.
Photo 63 is a blast from the past:
That’s our star at a much earlier age in a photo that has the same coding as used on most photos in Album 1. Check out the dude snoozing on the hammock in the background. He inspired the inscription on the back:
It simply says “Wake up.” I’ll get into my reasons why in a future post, but I’m 90% positive that the S in the above code stands for Shippensburg.
Here is the final photo of the album, which also appears to be much older than the rest of the photos in Album 2:
This photo has Shippensburg written on the front and another notation on the back:
It’s perplexing that there are four people pictured in the photo, but only two identified on the back. Or are those the names of the folks to whom the photo was given? I’m having trouble reading the first name, but the second one appears to be Viola. I don’t recognize any of the kids in this photo from other images in either album.
Stay tuned for future posts where I try to divine further information from what we’ve seen so far. This ain’t over yet!
Some very intriguing images in this next set, as we near the end of the second album:
I recognize at least one person in the photo above. The gentleman front and center was featured several times in Album 1 including here and here (also here). My guess is that’s our star’s dad. Who are the women? Several women also were featured in Album 1. For instance, her and her. Are they in the photo above? Unfortunately, there are no notations on the above photo to offer further clues.
I think the guy below is holding tire. There is a pump in the foreground:
There is a clue on the back of his photo:
This photo was printed at Sweigart’s in York, Pennsylvania! You know that I went straight to Google with that little tidbit. What luck! There’s is a web page devoted to this photography shop on a web site about preserving York’s history! How neat to get the back story. The information may prove helpful in dating this photo.
Not only that, but I also found a web page on the same site about a dam near York. Could Indian Rock Dam be that pictured in yesterday’s post? Hmmm… the one in yesterday’s post looks too wide to be Indian Rock Dam. Damn!
On to the next photo:
I think the child above is the same pictured on the left here.
Photo 56 presents us with a skyline. Anyone recognize it?
I know we were just talking about York, but I think this might be Harrisburg, based on an image search on Google… Anyone know?
Photo 57 is a slightly different view of the same skyline:
Photo 58 is a nifty shot of a ferry either coming into a dock or departing from one.
I’ve tried to read the name of the boat without any luck. Bummer!
Photo 59 is equally interesting. At first, I thought the contraption on the right was some type of plane. On closer inspection, you can see that it’s a tower somehow anchored into the surf. I almost wonder if it’s a type of amusement ride — maybe swings over the water? Anyone ever see anything like this before?
More riverside photos in this next set:
Any guesses as to what the contraption is in the image above?
The above might not make much sense, but will be explained a bit a couple of photos down.
I imagine that towers like these were quite a new phenomenon when the above photo was taken.
Anyone know which dam this might be?
Love the cars pictured in this image of the U.S. Capitol.
I am posting these photos in the order I found them in the album, but that does not appear to be chronological. Several of the photos below belong with others posted previously.
See the train in the background? There is a helpful inscription on the back of the above photo:
I did a Google Images search for “Susquehanna River Harrisburg Pa.” I wonder if the bridge in the background of the photo above is the same as that in several shots among the image results.
The above is such a pretty scene — would love to see it in color, especially those houses peeking around the bend.
Another shot of the train and the bridge.
Back at the lake. The little tot is having fun — the older boy? Not so much.
I love the boy’s bow tie.
Quite the variety of photos in this next set:
Things to love about this photo: the car; the boy’s hat; the dog (or is that a sheep?).
Yeah, these kids are barely tolerating having their photo taken.
The above is a dramatic shot, isn’t it? Anyone recognize it? If you’ve been to Gettysburg and seen Devil’s Rock (or Devil’s Den Rock), then you’ve seen it before.
Love the knickers in the next photo:
This is a different vehicle than what is shown in the background of the first photo above. Perhaps they are posing in front of a new car?
Well, here’s an easy landmark to identify — the Reflecting Pool with the Washington Monument in the background.
Donald Trump’s hair’s got nothin’ on the kid on the left…
Another timely post given the weather here in the U.S. “Hotter ‘n Hades” as my grandma used to say — makes you just want to jump in the nearest lake:
Hard to tell who the adult is in this photo, but I’m pretty confident it’s our star sporting the swimming fashion of the time period (compare to two photos down).
I *think* this is the same youngster pictured in the boat scene above.
That’s definitely our star on the left. I think that the older child has appeared before and I assume it’s her son. Here’s another photo of him (he’s on the right).
It kills me that our star had kids, who presumably had kids, who ditched these photos. Phooey.
Difficult to know if these next photos are of the same waterway where the two boat scenes above occurred — maybe they were taken on the way home. Anyone recognize these scenes?
The above is a neat shot — I love how the photographer captured the car in the distance. It’s kind of far away to try and figure out what type of vehicle it was, but here’s a crop of it anyhow:
Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted about this project. I’m happy to report, however, that I’ve finished scanning the images from Album 2. When we last left off, we were in Gettysburg and I’m pretty sure these next few images are from that same location as well.
Pretty timely given the anniversary of the Battle of Gettsyburg was this past weekend. Anyone been there more recently than the 1920s/1930s? I think it would be neat to find modern photos of the same scenes.
Any American Pickers (or similar) fans out there? Can you make out or recognize the name on the little toy wagon below?
Anyone recognize this vista?
There’s a hint on the back:
Whoa, so I just Googled York Haven and found a Wikipedia entry about the area. Only 709 residents in the 2010 census? If it’s always been that small and there’s a connection to this album still living there… Well, the task doesn’t seem so monumental when the number is that small. However, if the town was much bigger in the earlier 20th century and the population then dwindled? Well, the family could be anywhere…
Another scene on the wagon:
Anyone been to Gettysburg lately? Recognize these rocks?
‘Cause they’re apparently in Gettysburg:
I’m beginning to wonder about how this album and its cousin ended up in an Easton antique store. So, if the photo above was taken circa 1928, the babe pictured would be in their late 80s. Perhaps they have passed on and they never had children to whom these photos would mean something. It makes me sad. I do hope I can find a family member who cares enough to keep them. If not, I’m happy enough to keep them myself.