Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

We all know that sitting for a photograph in the 19th century was a process that required patience. As we saw in yesterday’s photo of the little boys with body positioning devices behind them, sometimes it was very difficult to hold still for the required amount of time. Well here we have another method for keeping children still for the necessary length of time for a good exposure. This child is sitting on the lap of someone, probably their parent. You can see the cloth resting upon the nose and what I think were eyeglasses. It’s a bit disturbing, really.

Here’s another example, with a less thoughtful photographer who just draped the cloth over the person’s head! Even though the parent is holding the child, you can still see quite a lot of movement in the child’s hands. Below is the back of the CdV, showing the photographer was H. C. Call of Bangor, ME, and that this was Aunt Elosie or Elanie…presumably, this refers to the baby.

UPDATE: Thanks Iggy (Intense Guy) for clarifying the name is likely Elorie. The photographer HC Call was in business in the 1880s.

8 thoughts on “But what is that behind them?

  1. it is disturbing once you see the draped figure.


  2. These are always some of the strangest photos. Always a bit ghostly. Rather surprised in the first one that they didn’t simply stand the child on a chair. Wonderful collection.


    1. mrsmarvel says:

      Completely agree!!


  3. Wow, what a revelation! Interesting!


  4. IntenseGuy says:

    Elorie is a french name – and with Quebec just over the border – I wouldn’t be surprised if some where to visit/move to the USA through Maine.

    H C Call was active pretty early – in the 1880s, but judging by this bit of work, he wasn’t too good. :) He is listed as a Photo Artist – and apparently paint or colored his pictures. H.C. & G.W. Call is also listed in searches. I guess his son joined him later on.


  5. grace says:

    What beautiful young children. I love old photos of children. Makes you wonder what there life became like


  6. Apparently some Mothers went to great lengths to make sure their childs photo was taken alone…why they just didn’t hold them and be in the photo also?? There was probably a per person charge..:)


  7. Nancy says:

    They are cute children but I don’t much like the photos because of the draped figures. My brother had a photo of his grandsons (5 under the age of 5) taken a few years ago and parents had to sit behind curtains to hold some of the boys. The modern photographer completely covered the adults and there weren’t any noses or glasses poking through the curtain. Still, it looked a little odd. I wonder, in the case of the two photos you’ve posted, why the photographer didn’t cut the image down so the people behind weren’t so obvious. I suppose it might have been harder to do that during their times than these days when all we have to do is use a mouse and click it a few times. Thanks for sharing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: