Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt features a young woman in the rain, holding an umbrella. Search as I might, I couldn’t find the photo I was looking for – an old family photo of a woman with a parasol. As I looked at the prompt again, I looked for the other details. The street, cobbles, old cars, puddles. Puddles! I have just the thing, I think.

Neat and clean, for now

Neat and clean, for now

This cabinet card photo features a precocious looking little boy named Ralph Walker, about 4 years old. Unfortunately with a name like Ralph Walker, it is nearly impossible to determine exactly who he was. The photographer is equally anonymous at this point. The East End Gallery in Decatur, IL was known to have been in business in the 1890s,but little else is known. Don’t you think little Ralph here would prefer to toss that hat in the air and go splash in some puddles?



This unnamed little guy looks like he knows how to find puddles in a desert. The clothing looks like something out of Indian Guides, or similar type boys’ organization. The photograph is 20th century, but beyond that, I know nothing about it.

Field of study: mischief

Field of study: mischief

Here from the 1930s or 40s, is Harald Neushane (sp?). The spelling of the first name is Nordic. This one is also tricky because of the spelling of the last name. Is it Neushane? Is it Neushaus? It’s written in cursive and those e’s, u’s, and n’s can all blend together. I love how the cardboard mounting frame looks reminiscent of an art deco mirror or frame. The photographer was Woltz Studio, at 420 Ninth Street, Des Moines, IA. Harald certainly looks like he could shed those fancy stockings and bow tie in order to find some fun, doesn’t he?

For more Sepia Saturday goodness, click on over. You will be happy you did!

Clicking in the rain, just clicking in the rain

14 thoughts on “Puddle jumpers

  1. gluepot says:

    The mount of that thrird photo is so typical of the period between the wars, when frames were embellished substantially, often in greenish or deep sepia tones. Presumably this enabled the studio to charge a lot more for an otherwise simple postcard portrait.


  2. Wendy says:

    3 cutie pie boys, that’s for sure. Love Harald’s socks!


  3. Harald looks like a future judge, with quite a mature look. The 2nd boy’s outfit resembles some of the costumes of fraternal members of the Order of Redmen. And Ralph’s suit gives him a respectable quality we rarely see in the typical boys’ fashion of today.


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      The Order of Redmen? I haven’t heard of this and now must investigate!


  4. Kathy says:

    Cute boys and photos! Ralph has quite the pair of socks!


  5. Kathy says:

    Oops! I meant Harald…


  6. postcardy says:

    The little boys are so cute. The first one looks like a real miniature gentleman. He reminds me of photos I have seen of little people (midgets).


  7. Alan BURNETT says:

    Yes, I know what you mean. I love the line about finding puddles in deserts – it reminds me of my son at his age who would regard it as a major life failure if he passed a puddle without charging through the middle of it.


  8. Little Nell says:

    Oh yes! Jumping in puddles, just because you can. The simple pleasures of childhood.


  9. Indeed. Give each one of them a puddle and a boat and they’d not come in for hours.


  10. IntenseGuy says:

    I suspect the last photo is of Harold D. Neuhaus (b. October 7, 1931 Armour, South Dakota – May 20, 1997 in Noblesville, Indiana).

    Armour is “the middle of nowhere” and Des Moines is the nearest town of any size.


  11. Carolyn says:

    The little boy under the title photo of “How”, is a dead ringer for my husband at that age! He grew up in Maryland, but spent a lot of time at his grandparents’ farm in New Jersey. Wonderful photo of a darling boy!


  12. IntenseGuy says:

    12 miles south of Decatur, Illinois, we find a listing for a Ralph Oliver Walker.

    Ralph Oliver Walker (30 Mar 1897 South Macon, Illinois – 20 Aug 1997 – Dunedin, Pinellas, Florida) His parents were Oliver P. Walker and Allie Johnson

    His WWI draft registration says he had brown hair and eyes and was of medium height and build. He was a farmer by trade.

    I suspect the “get up” might be a “Tom Thumb” one – they re-acted his wedding (for some reason).


  13. Christopher Walker says:

    I have a tin type copy of the first image. The boy pictured is my great-grandfather; he was my mother’s father’s father. He adopted me when I was about the age he was in that picture and raised me as his own son. He was born in 1897 and died in Dunedin, FL in 1997. His wife Hildred died in 1982 and he is buried next to her at Serenity Gardens Cemetary in Largo, FL. His only child, Ralph Lowell Walker, my grandfather, died a few years later. They had been estranged since Ralph Lowell joined the Navy shortly after Pearl Harbor, but reconciled when he came to Florida for Hildred’s funeral.


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