Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

Sepia Saturday this week encourages us to look at women, and although I don’t have a photo of women talking on the phone, operating office machines or other possible directions the prompt could go, I do have some women from a recent purchase that I am ready to explore. These three photos have rather odd cropping.

This cabinet card has the deckled edges popular in the 1890s, and the clothing also suggests that same time frame. You notice the image appears to have been cut in a rounded fashion along the lower portion of the girls’ bodies, and then placed on a brown field. Just under the girl on the left it says “me here” I think. The back identifies them as Ida & Catherine Rudd.

Another cabinet card with the strange rounded cropping. The clothing is indicative of the 1890s again, so my first impression that it was a photo cut out of another photograph and remounted. That could still be the case, but it isn’t an older photo reprint, as was often done. This one was identified as Emma Rudd.

This image was clearly cut from another and reprinted. You can see behind the curls of her hair, a lighter backdrop than the dark brown one used here. The cutting was done carefully, but it is still possible to see where the scissors changed direction on the rounded edge at the bottom of the image. This is definitely another Rudd family member as the facial resemblance is quite strong, but it was not identified. None of the photos have any photographer’s information so at first I wasn’t even sure where they were from geographically. However, another photo in the batch was made in Los Angeles, CA, so that gives us a jumping off point for genealogical research. More to come with this family as I have a variety of cabinet cards, snapshots and possible even some postcards (mailed ones even!) to explore.

For other images of women doing interesting things (oh my!) click over to Sepia Saturday. You will be happy you did!

What number please?

26 thoughts on “Odd cropping

  1. Wendy says:

    I’ve never seen any cabinet cards where this technique has been used. Very interesting, for sure. Have fun tracking down this family. You have some good clues already.


  2. ScotSue says:

    What iintriguing photographs!.


  3. Bob Scotney says:

    Good luck with your detective work. I’ve never seen cards like this before either.


  4. All these pictures leave the impression they have been “treated” with a pair of scissors in a rather rough manner. Emma’s hair is a “fine” example. And I think that’s a pity but apparently that was in fashion in those days. I agree numbers 2 and 3 are related.


  5. Liz says:

    Interesting cropping indeed! I wonder why they cropped them so close to the time the photographs were taken. Perhaps to make duplicates? Thanks for the great analysis – especially the reminder that what we see based on the photo type is not always helpful in dating the photograph.


  6. postcardy says:

    It seems strange that they would cut out the pictures and print them like that. I wonder why they did that.


  7. Alan Burnett says:

    What fascinating images. The technique they illustrate is like a 19th century version of Photoshop.


  8. Kathy says:

    Those really are unusual. I’ve never noticed this technique before, but now I’ll be on the lookout.


  9. Jana Last says:

    Interesting that in the first photo the women are wearing corsages. Perhaps a wedding or some other family event? Good luck on your research of this family. I hope some of their descendants find this blog post.


  10. Karen S. says:

    I think you have your work cut out for you on this one! But I know the hunt will be worth it!


  11. Pat says:

    That was certainly very fastidiously cutting to remount and display those photos, had not thought of that technique. Interesting that you have 2 of the Rudd women.


  12. I’ve never seen this style before, but I can imagine a reason. Someone wanted an individual photo but only had a group shot. No problem to reprint the larger photo and snip out the one person. I bet the photographer also could do silhouette cutouts in black paper.


  13. IntenseGuy says:

    There is a Rudd family that lived on Rudds Ranch Nutrioso Creek (Later Springer), Apache, Arizona that had Emma Kate married name Mcginnis (1868 – ? San Francisco), Ida May (Sep 1876 – Feb 1976 in Prescott, Yavapai, Arizona) and Catherine Blanche married name Randles (Feb 1881 – Sep 1976 in Albuquerque, Bernalillo, New Mexico) as sisters.


  14. TICKLEBEAR says:

    Interesting twist on the theme.
    Funny what a pair of scissors can do…


  15. Very bizarre – almost otherworldly. Perhaps they were of dead people and they wanted to convey their souls flying off to heaven. Seriously.


  16. These are very strange indeed. The only thing I have seen remotely similar was a cabinet card I almost bought on eBay of a group of 5 women and 1 woman had cut out from somewhere else and pasted onto the photo. It was truly an early Photoshop attempt.


  17. Tattered and Lost says:

    Very interesting. Almost like scraps. I’m guessing the photos existed with backgrounds they didn’t want and the photographer obliged them by silhouetting them. I’m always fascinated to see shots like this because I never think of the cameras being able to shoot close-ups.


  18. Bruce Pritchard says:

    Ida and Catherine Rudd are my ancestors. They are sisters of Emaline Rudd (also pictured). I have info from their family bible which includes a thorough account of their mother (Eliza Catherine Rudd) growing up in Tennessee and traveling to Arizona in covered wagons. I am not sure what you are searching for, but I would be glad to share any of this info with you. I am very much interested in any other photos you may have.

    Bruce Pritchard


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      HI Bruce! I have been speaking with your cousin about the entire collection, which includes postcards as well as many snapshots that I haven’t posted yet. To see all the family photos so far, click on the Rudd Family category over on the right sidebar. I’m happy you have found me and hope you and your cousins will enjoy the collection once it has been returned!


      1. Milt Cornwell says:

        Hi my name is Milt Cornwell I’m doing research on a ranch in Springerville, Az. where we are site volunteers for Az Game and Fish Dept. Rudd creek runs through the ranch and I think Dr. Rudd may have homesteaded a portion of this property. I would be greatfull for any info on the Rudd family as well as pictures that might help me in my research.
        7441 S. Bullrider Ave
        Tucson, Az 85747


  19. Bruce Pritchard says:

    Fantastic, Mrs Marvel…I am looking forward to more photos. The synchronicity of these events is positively spooky…it is as if the Rudd family was reaching forward and directing people to carry them home.


  20. Milt Cornwell says:

    I’m back and have a lot of research at the Apache Co. Recorders Office on the ranch. Dr. Rudd had 2 homesteads one was on the ranch, 117.3 acres and one at a different location of 40 acres. He owned the ranch from about, 1880 is as far back as I can find records. Of course he arrived in Springerville in Sept. 1876. That was 30 years of ownership. He sold the 117.3 acre homestead, “Rudd Ranch in Apr. 1910 for $2000.00 to Alexander J. McKay of Snowflake, Az. Dr. Rudd acquired a law degree and in 1881 he was an Apache Co. district attorney and in 1885 he was a sitting judge of Apache Co. If any family member would be interested I would send them the 4 pages of Rudd family history that I have so far.


    1. Brandon King says:

      I would appreciate copies of your research on the Rudd family. My great-great-grandfather traveled to Arizona with his eldest brother, William Mann, but returned to Arkansas a few years later. I can share information on the Rudd migration from North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas, prior to Arizona.


  21. Brandon King says:

    I would appreciate copies of your research on the Rudd family. My great-great-grandfather traveled to Arizona with his eldest brother, William Mann, but returned to Arkansas a few years later. I can share information on the Rudd migration from North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas, prior to Arizona.


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