Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

Well folks, here we have the last photograph in the Dobb Long Book, and miracle of miracles, it has a name written on it! Unfortunately, it is a strange name that I haven’t been able to trace, ugh. Of note, the name is written in ball point pen, not fountain ink, so someone relatively recently knew who this woman was. It appears to be De Vee or De Vu Mourer Downes/Dornan/Dorner.

The photographer was Stoops in Perry, IA.

UPDATED: Iggy figured out her name is Devee Mourer Dorman. Check the comments for more information. You are the man Iggy!

Here at the end of the Dobb Long Book, after 57 cabinet cards, we don’t really know much more than we did at the beginning.

The names mentioned in the book are Nina Dobb, who has remained elusive; Miss Farmar/Farmer, who without a first name is impossible to trace; De Vee or De Vu Mourer Downes/Dornan/Dorner, the last photo in the book. The amazing Intense Guy (aka Iggy) has found several suggestions on who these people might be, but more often than not we have had more luck researching photographers. It has been an interesting journey across fashion, time and one ocean, but it appears these photographs will remain lost to history, and I will have to enjoy them for the hints of the story they could tell. The Dobb Long Book will be used at events focusing on the 1890s as a means to educate about what people wore in the later Victorian era. Thanks for all your interest in these photos.

12 thoughts on “The end

  1. IntenseGuy says:

    United States Census, 1900 for Deve L Mowrer
    Residence: Angus, Boone, Iowa (7 miles from Perry, Iowa)
    Birth Date: Jul 1881
    Birthplace: Iowa
    Relationship to Head-of-Household: Daughter
    Father Name: William A Mowrer (b. Sep. 1832)
    Father Birthplace: Pennsylvania
    Mother Name: Melissa J Mowrer (b. Apr. 1844)
    Mother Birthplace: Illinois <— –note the state…
    Race or Color (expanded): White
    Head-of-household Name: William A Mowrer
    Gender: Female
    Marital Status: Single

    From the SSN death records, we find Devee Dorman (b. 18 Jul 1881 d. Oct 1965 in Iowa.) Looks like Devee Mowrer married a Dorman. :)

    …and in 1910 we find her…

    United States Census, 1910 for Devee Dorman
    Birthplace: Iowa
    Relationship to Head of Household: Wife
    Residence: Union, Boone, Iowa (about 80 miles from Angus, Iowa)
    Marital Status: Married
    Father's Birthplace: Pennsylvania
    Mother's Birthplace: Illinois
    Household Gender Age
    Myron C Dorman 32y
    Devee Dorman 27y
    Child Ruby Dorman Female 7y
    Child Charles W Dorman Male 5y
    Child Myron C Dorman Male y 2m

    William Mowrer's brother Nathan (b. Aug. 1836) was also living in Angus, Iowa and had a large family.


  2. IntenseGuy says:

    Devee Mowrer’s families (mother’s side: Craig, Roberts) were from Kentucky and (Mowrer) Pennsylvania. Devee’s husband’s family (Dorman) were father – Levant C Dorman (May 1844 – Batavia, Genesee, New York), the son of Clark and Charlotte Dorman, and Lucy R. (maiden name not known) (Oct 1845) was also from New York.

    I can see no obvious connection to a Dobb.


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      Maybe a distant cousin or friend or daughter of a friend. As was pointed out by someone else, people don’t just put family members in their photo albums.


  3. IntenseGuy says:

    Check out page 11.


    Devee’s husband, Myron C. must be one of the boys in this picture. Myron was the oldest son.


  4. Auntie Kat says:

    The lovely Miss D. is wearing an interesting abstract looking dress with a drape over the left shoulder. I see this dress as navy blue with the accent fabric as navy and white. She is holding a handkerchief in her left hand. I don’t really see much jewelery and her hair is neatly coiffed.

    Personally, I’m not into the abstract look on this dress. Now, if her socks don’t match that’s a whole other story!

    I have enjoyed looking at all the pictures from this book and look forward to the next series.


  5. Auntie Kat is right..I don’t like the top of the dress either..it doesn’t make sense to me to have only one drape, and the uneven bodice..this dress is just a mismash of design errors..but it is a one of a kind dress that is for sure.
    I am kind of sad that you have come to the end of the book..it has been delightful and I have really enjoyed it:)


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      I’m sad too, especially since we could not figure out who anyone really was.


  6. IntenseGuy says:

    I feel like I failed – not being able to figure out who is who in this album.

    The only thoughts I have at this point are these:

    What became of the Dobb child(ren)? They must have lived near Chicago and “gone somewhere” – Perhaps if I go back and list the ones that might be them – and estimate their date of births, something will come to light. The Chicago-Cook County area has a good many records of births/deaths.

    I have a theory that the beautiful young girl is one of the Dobb children. It occurred to me yesterday that she might have been sent to stay (school?) in England. Were they adopted? It seems, from the funeral card, that Mr. Dobb lived after Nina died. Perhaps this is a wrong impression –

    What did Nina die of/from, and where? Was she in an accident/illness? For all of Cook County’s records – she does not appear in them.

    Finally – what is the Iowa connection?


  7. IntenseGuy says:

    Perhaps a living Dorman might be able to tell us – Devee had several children.


  8. Mrs Marvel says:

    No way that you failed Iggy, there just isn’t enough to work with in this book. It’s the unfortunate reality of the hundreds of cabinet cards and CdVs I have. Your research skills are far beyond what I posses – you and Abra could run a business together just finding people. :-) For now, let’s take it as an object lesson and all label our photos.

    My guess is that Nina died from one of the many illnesses that we can easily cure today – bacterial pneumonia, measles, childbed fever… It was all too common, sadly.

    And, as Connie pointed out to me, sometimes people search their relatives on Google. Maybe one of those relatives will search Nina Dobb or Devee Dorman and find her here.


  9. DeVee Dorman was my paternal grandmother. She was married to Myron
    Cody Dorman. Their children were:
    Ruby Dorman
    Charles Wayne Dorman
    Keith W. Dorman (my father)
    Craig C. Dorman
    Merle L. Dorman
    With the exception of my father, who is buried at Asheville, NC, all the children
    are buried in Fairview Cemetery, Boone County, Iowa


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