Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

Gems 15

As in, off kilter

It can be frustrating as a collector of photographs and antique albums to find that images have gone askew and crooked over the years. I hesitate to touch them as I don’t want to damage the delicate surfaces of tintypes or CDVs. I don’t want to take images out of their photo sleeves unless they come out easily, as I don’t want to damage the fragile paper that was used to create the 150 year old book. And so, I wind up with scans of images that are off center, cockeyed, or otherwise wonky.

To the left, to the left

To the left, to the left

A pretty woman with striped embellishment on her bodice, earrings and a pin. I recently learned that this type of trim on the dress was more popular toward the end of the war and into the second half of the 1860s.

Leaning to the right

Leaning to the right

It is more difficult to narrow down this lady’s timeframe due to the solid color dress, but the collar might be a bit of help. While white collars were very very commonly used on dresses because they protected the dress fabric from the sweat, oil and dirt found on the skin, the fold over collar was in use almost exclusively until after the war when a stiffer, more standing style of collar came into use. So, here I am also guessing at post war.

These crooked photos reminded me of a little story my grandmother used to tell us. It was called the Crooked Mouth Family. There are several slight variations, but the gist is that each family member talked with their mouth crooked to one side or the other, while the youngest spoke correctly because he had a college education. The family is ready to go to bed and it is time to put out the candle. Each person attempts to blow out the candle, but can’t because their mouthed is crooked! What made it magic for us was Gram would do funny voices and could switch her mouth around to speak as each person without missing a beat, saying “well, I will!” “well I wish you would!” and then crooking her mouth to the side and blowing and missing the imaginary candle. I found a couple of grandmothers on YouTube performing the story for their grandkids. I hope you enjoy these as much as I did! Click the link to go to the video.

The Crooked Mouth Family

The Crooked Face Family

2 thoughts on “Crooked Friends

  1. Such a challenge, handling old photos and documents without causing them any damage. My current project is an early 20th century cookbook. It’s so fragile, pieces fall off every time I touch it, as careful as I’m trying to be with it.

    Thanks for sharing your “Crooked Friends.” :)


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      Have you seen my sister site GramsRecipeBox.com? It is all vintage recipes, handwritten, cards & books. I have a 19th century home ec class notebook as well. I just love vintage ephemera! :-)


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