Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

To my great delight, I am the owner of several cabinet cards featuring the beautiful Irene Shoemaker. The photograph above was taken in 1885 and Irene was 16 years old. She has that “beyond her years” look about her. I have not seen the photo treatment of “curled edges” on other photographs although it can’t be uncommon. The photographer was R.E. Goldsberry of Bedford, IA. Also noted on the back of this card is the notation “Mamma.”

Our next image of Irene was made in 1893, but I have to admit she looks younger in this photograph than in the previous. Irene has lovely, curly brown hair and her clothing is impressive yet understated. The photographer now is Nash of 1624 Curtis Street, Denver, CO.

Here we have Irene at age 25. This is a fabulous illustration of the massive sleeves that were in fashion during the 1890s! These sleeves were filled with batting to hold them out, and contrary to their airy and light appearance would have been somewhat heavy. She is wearing gloves so you cannot see her hands, and I wonder if this might be a wedding or engagement portrait. The back notes give us her date of birth as April 17, 1869.

This photograph appears to be from the same session or one fairly close in time, as both were made in July 1894. The photographer is the same although the logos on the cards are a little bit different. The back notes on this photograph give us her married name of Mowron or Monroe.

My next post will feature two relatives of Irene, though I’m uncertain who they are.

UPDATE: I have been contacted by Irene’s granddaughter Phoebe and hopefully soon I’ll hear back. I’ll keep you posted!

11 thoughts on “The Beautiful Irene

  1. IntenseGuy says:

    She really fussed and fussed with her hair, didn’t she?

    She looks so stunning in that white dress. I found an Irene Shoemaker married to a F(r)edrick Hamilton Monroe (b, 07 Apr 1865) – who had a son named John Lawrence Monroe on Aug. 31, 1908 living near Chicago, Il at that point. They also had a Fredrick H Monroe Jr in 1901 (also in Chicago).

    I would say the name looks more like Mowron to me, though.


    1. Phoebe Monroe says:

      The name is definitely Monroe – my mother wrote and I write the last “e” in Monroe the same way, but it does look like it could be a “w”. Phoebe


  2. IntenseGuy says:

    Irene’s husband died on 26 Aug 1929 in Palos, Cook County, Illinois.


  3. IntenseGuy says:

    Frederick H. Monroe Sr. and John Lawrence Monroe were very well known in the Henry George School of Social Science in Chicago – there was a tax reform movement set in motion by Henry George called the “Single Tax Club”. The big money behind the school was thought to be Gustav Swift (of Swift Meat Packing).

    JL Monroe really got around. He was in San Francisco, New York, and Chicago setting up schools.

    In 1962, JL Monroe changed the name from HGSSS to Institute for Economic Inquiry and moved to San Francisco. The HGS in Chicago has experienced a rebirth and regrowth and is quite properous once more known as the School of Cooperative Individualism. He died on 23 January 1988 in San Francisco.

    Jeremy M. Monroe, JL’s son continues with the teachings of the school in Grand Forks, North Dakota and was as of 1999, the C.F.O., Cyber Learning Corp.


    http://www.cooperativeindividualism.org/georgists_unitedstates-me-mz.html has their biographies about 2/3ds the way down the page.


  4. Tattered and Lost says:

    I have never seen a shot like the first one with the very clever and strange framing. That’s a very interesting find.

    Her dress is stunning. She looks to be a very petite woman. I’m imagining a slightly high and child-like voice.


  5. IntenseGuy says:

    To give her a voice, from:

    The Craftsman by Gustav Stickley, United Crafts, Eastwood, N. Y. Volume Seven October 1904-March 1905, page vii

    From Irene S. Monroe, Palos Park, 111. : “I thank you very much for the October copy of The Craftsman, which you kindly sent in response to an inquiry. I have read it from cover to cover, and found everything educative and inspirational — even the advertisements.”


  6. That dress is something else..very fancy! A full length view of it too! In the first photo the moon shaped pin was very interesting..what treasures these photos are:)


  7. Thank you very much for posting all those photos of my great-great-grandmother. My grandma, Marien Tideman Monroe (her daughter in law), told me that Irene told her that her family went shopping only twice a year! My mom, Jane Alsperger, told me that she enjoyed spending time with Gran (Irene) in Palos. I never knew much about Grandpa John’s family (that’s John Lawrence Monroe, son of Irene) except he had a brother named Fred who was a pianist. Intense Guy, you are right. Grandpa John was born 8/31/08. His wife Marien was born 7/22/09. However, Jeremy M. Monroe is no longer in Grand Forks, ND. He is retired and lives in Mexico.


  8. Gerry Monroe says:

    Hi! I am Frederick Monroe’s (9/18/1900 to 10/08/1987) grandson. My sister found this site recently while researching our family tree. She has quite a bit of information including letters from Irene Shoemaker. If the page is still being monitored, we can probably fill in lots of gaps.


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