Yesterday my husband Jerry presented me with a small stack of sepia-toned, professionally made portraits that dated back to the late 1800’s. He was impressed by the style of the people; in one a couple is standing straight and proud, in what would have been “walking attire”. Another shows an older gentleman wearing a casual cap and a dapper cigar smoking youth sitting side-by-side. In another a young family of 5, the handsome father’s shoes shined to a mirrored finish; there is one of a single gentleman wearing a fitted suit showing off a love of pens and wide watch chains. The final image is a 30’s portrait of a beautiful young woman gazing over a hugh fox collar. Accessories include hats, gloves, umbrellas and parasols, jewelry and clothing that speaks of a family of substance. On the back of the single gentleman’s portrait is a note in fountain pen ink that ID’s him as “B.B. Chambers”.
I am intrigued by the stories that can be pulled out of these old photos…and these photos have Lots of stories! The father in the family portrait is the same gentleman in all the images, which probably span 30 to 40 years. My guess is the woman in the family portrait and the one in the couples portrait is not the same; though their face and mouths are similar in shape, their earlobes, eyebrows, and noses are different. She does, however have on the same black ribbon necklace as the young mother. The young woman in the fur bears a strong resemblance to the daughter in the family portrait, and the baby has the same mouth and ears as the young swain sitting on the bench. And, just to make it more interesting, the young swain is identified as Hershel Benson Winton, and the older gent is ID’ed as Bartee Benton (B.B.) Chambers. Did they mean Benton, not Benson?
What part of this story do I have right? Is it the same woman in the 2 photos? if not, who is the second woman, and what happened to the first? What relationship is Hershel to BB? More is a mystery than I will ever decipher, even if the family does stop in for a visit. Never the less, there is a hugh amount of information here, and the memory of a gentleman who knew the value of accessorizing.