Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

Here we have a variety of photographs of people in doorways, as inspired by the Sepia Saturday prompt, which shows two men standing in the doorway of a shop. As I looked through these photos, I realized the commonality is not only people posed in front of doors, porches and doorways, but the pride of place this indicates of these families.


Doorway/porch A

This porch is simple, just a single step up from the yard, but the whole family is here for the photo.


Doorway/porch B

A wide angle view of a doorway/porch of a pretty big house. The pathway looks almost like a driveway and comes right up to the porch. While there are no people in this photo, with the cost of photos it would not have been a throw away or practice shot, I believe. Someone was proud of that portal to the home.

Leaving Saltese, September 27 '09

Leaving Saltese, September 27 ’09

Here’s a rather rudimentary doorway/porch. Saltese is a small mining town in Montana near the Idaho border. I think this might have been a country doctor on his rounds to another town, given the doctor style valise.


Porch D – multiple views

Next we have four views of the same porch/doorway. This appears to have been a larger house with a side porch and veranda style covering. Very nice with the foliage growing up the side. I expect that porch was enjoyed on long summer evenings.


View #2 of porch D

I love the style of this apron and I believe this must have been a domestic who lived in or served the home, given her cap and apron.


Distance view – note the umbrella in front of the ladies.

Four women by the side porch. That lawn looks like it might have hosted a nice garden party or croquet game or two. Note the umbrella stuck into the ground in front of the ladies. What an odd thing to do.


Final view


I’m guessing this image was to show off flowers this lady had tended or planted. It’s a lovely image showing an early 20th century dress as well. Again, the apron features a center point, but this is definitely not a servant. She may have been the lady of the house and the apron is just a coincidence.

For more doorways and entrances to explore, click over to Sepia Saturday. You will be happy you did.

Come on in!

15 thoughts on “In the doorway

  1. I guess that Porch B must be Ireland or UK??. It certainly does not look very USA !


  2. Brett Payne says:

    The one with a bonnet really does look like a servant – at least that would be my guess too. Great collection of porch photos, all taken by an amateur photographer, I presume.


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      The Saltese photo is a real photo postcard and the four women is matted, otherwise all snapshots.


  3. Wendy says:

    The vine-covered porch must have been a wonderful spot for tea or lemonade in the afternoon.


  4. postcardy says:

    You have an interesting idea for your post.. However, most of the pictures look so dark on my computer that it is hard to see both the people and the door in the same photo.


  5. In my family there are hundreds, maybe thousands of porch photos. I even have a sub-genre of musician photos in my collection called porch bands.
    The first has a nice quite casual quality as opposed to the stiff formal posed photo. The second might have been used by the builder or estate agent to show a house front to a distant client. The last 4 are really neat with the subtle changes of the porch and house. The young woman in the cap and then apron may be dressed for some serious annual housecleaning, and may be a family member rather than a domestic. The umbrella is just a joke that has lost its punchline to history.


  6. I couldn’t resist seeing what a few of these images looked like lightened in order to see more detail. Sadly, the plant in the first one looks just as bedraggled lighter as it does dark. I especially love the shot of the domestic. That’s a rare find.


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      I was thinking the same thing, and “what would have motivated them to take the photo?” Was there a forbidden romance between her and the eldest son of the house, perhaps? :-)


  7. Bob Scotney says:

    Having admired all your porches and the people, I’m amazed to find I don’t anything similar from England but several from the USA.


  8. Alan BURNETT says:

    Another great collection of old images. I suppose my particular favourite is the “Leaving Saltese” picture – it is perfect : the clothes, the cases, the expression – they all sum up the era perfectly.


  9. Sharon says:

    I really like the dress and apron the servant is wearing but would pass on the cap :)


  10. Little Nell says:

    I do like the gatherings of families on the porch, but that domestic servant is so interesting in her own right.


  11. anyjazz says:

    “…the pride of place.” Love that line. You are right. Often the photograph is taken with something or some place in the frame that is considered proudly. I suppose that is why so many American snaps are with the family car.

    Thoughtful piece. Thanks.


  12. Kathy says:

    I suppose the lady of the house might don an apron to tend her flowers. Enjoyed the collection of photos!


  13. Karen S. says:

    Wow, what a great display of photos, and yes pride is on all of their faces!


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