Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

My mother used to read me the story of The Old Woman and Her Pig, an English fairy tale in which a woman buys a pig at the market, but can’t get it over the stile in the fence. I can clearly remember asking what a stile was and the wonderful interplay between me and my mother as we discussed stiles and what they were used for. For the record, a stile is an opening or place to get over a fence, but not a gate. This fellow is in one of those “tranquil outdoor settings” that were so popular with photographers in the later Victorian era. I love his bowler hat (which I see as dove gray), his mustache, his foot up on one step of the stile, the whole thing. This is one of my favorite photos from the Dobb Long Book.

The photographer was Arnout of Troy, NY.

4 thoughts on “Over the stile you go

  1. IntenseGuy says:

    I can see why you delight in this picture. It is as charming as they come – and if it evokes a warm, happy childhood memory – it has just another marvelous dimension.

    I like how the soft lighting and focus occurs at the edges and corners of this picture… it makes it seem all the more like the man is stepping out of dreamy/fairy tale land into your world.

    So… we are back in Troy, New York. This family was geographically scattered and seems very large… I hope someday – someone can pull the people therein out of obscurity and tell us who they are.


  2. When I was just a little girl my Grandfather had a stile..I found it very curious, we used it..my parents never had one..seems to me that it would have been very useful especially for women and girls with long skirts:)


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