Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past


I know that sometimes my first impressions on these photos aren’t the most flattering, and such is the case today. This poor fellow’s ears stick out, and that reminded me of the old saying of the “taxi doors are open” to describe someone with this affliction. Isn’t it interesting to ponder what life would have been like for those who simply lacked the ability to surgically alter parts of their appearance they didn’t like? This man could not have his ears pinned back. People did not change the shapes of their noses, lips, chins, or breasts. They lived with their appearance. Certainly, they weren’t obliged to like it, but there wasn’t much they could do about it, after all, so they just dealt with it.

This particular photo gives us more of the name of the photographer…T. Ludwick Darnell. Previous cards named him as T. L. or even simply Darnell. Perhaps he didn’t much like his name and was playing around with it to find an arrangement that suited him best, since of course, he couldn’t change his nose or ears.

One thought on “Open taxi doors

  1. mousleyka says:

    Thomas Ludwick Darnell’s find-a-grave memorial has a brief write up on the man.

    http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=87327229 – I will quote it here:

    “Born to prosperous Montgomery County, Maryland farmer Fielder Darnell and Elizabeth (Young) Darnell, Thomas tried several professions before settling down in Cumberland, Maryland as a studio and stereographic photographer. He ran a photography studio for many years on Baltimore Street in Cumberland.

    He married Adeline V. Bartruff in Baltimore County, Maryland or Washington, DC about 1848–there are two conflicting marriage records.

    According to Hartzler’s Marylanders in the Confederacy, Darnell served in Co. B of the 2nd Maryland Cavalry during the Civil War.

    Adeline bore him nine children–two of whom, Bertie and William–learned photography from him and later worked at that trade in Raleigh (North Carolina).”

    Thomas is buried in Raleigh.


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