Monday, 14 October 2013

Edwardian Photo Album #1 Part 1

It's time to look at more old pictures!
These are from one of the photo albums I found in my Grandparent's attic. The covers are made from a thin black cardboard stamped with a crocodile scale pattern. The pages are a very heavy black paper. The album is 25.5 cm wide, 18.3 cm tall and a little over 1 cm thick. The contents range from the 1900s to the early 20's. (Yes, I know that makes a lot of them technically not Edwardian.) There are 96 photographs in total, so I'll be posting them in 3 installments of 32.
To keep the photographs in order, they are named by page number, and by the order in which they appear on the page. Page 1 pic A, page 1 pic B, etc.

I do not know how or when this album was put together but it is the sloppiest album I have ever seen in my life! The edges of the pictures are trimmed unevenly. They are glued directly onto the pages without any concern for order. There are places where the photos overlap. Some of them are tilted a full 45 degrees. You can see where a few of the photos have been torn out. It's just a mess.
Worst of all, almost none of them have information written on them.
I've tried to crop them as neatly as I can, so please excuse the very ragged edges.

This was tucked in between the cover and the first page. (click any of these for a larger view.)
Bert Ackerson's report card from June, 1901. You can tell the card itself was printed in the 1890s.
Bert got excellent marks! No wonder they kept his report card for so long.
There is a Bert A. Ackerson in our family tree, on my father's father's side. He was born in 1888, so he would have been 13 in 1901.

It's likely that most of these these photos came from Lindsay, New Brunswick, Canada. My Grandfather grew up on a farm there and these could be pictures of the same farm.
Some of them look like studio portraits, but most of them are not. They range wildly in size and quality.

That's enough introduction. Let's have a look at early 20th century rural life in the Maritimes!
Here is an unnamed guy in a hat. This is one of the smaller pictures that look more like studio portraits. It looks like his coat has a velvet collar, and some of the pile has worn off.
A little boy and a big, fluffy dog. That's a really, really big, empty field. I can't even see any trees on the horizon.
This looks like the same boy and dog, but the hat is different, and the pose much less formal. We have a washtub that looks a lot like the one in this picture. I don't think it's nearly that old though.
Another one of the little studio portraits.
A pram! And what a fancy looking pillow. Does anyone know what that tower thing might be?
Two blurry ladies and three blurry gentlemen. Lots of blurry leaves too.
This lady and her horse both look like they lead very hard working lives. Her clothes are simple and practical.
Two angles of the same girl and her poofy hat.
That's a bit of an odd pose. It makes it look like the back of his head was itchy.
Another weird panoramic picture showing two views of the same kid. Someone's hands are trying to keep the baby still, and in the first picture they are actually succeeding.

Another picture of a guy with his hand on the left side of his head.
And another! That's three portraits in a row of men in the same strange pose. Why?
A waterfall and a river.
It seems that even a hundred years ago, people were taking pictures of pretty scenery, even though there was no way the photographs could do it justice.
Cooking outdoors in fancy hats!
This is the same pair of ladies in the same outfits if I'm not mistaken.
The blurriness makes that baby look very creepy.
This baby isn't creepy, though it is still blurry.
More happy, blurry people. I really like the trim on the blouse in the middle.
And a larger group portrait, why are so many of these pictures so blurry?

That is a huge coat!

What a moustache! And such tiny little glasses.
Such a cheerful looking old couple. If they are a couple. I don't actually see any wedding rings.
This picture, and the next three, appear to be in a different setting. It might be the same place the waterfall and river pictures were taken.

Her pale, matching gingham jacket and skirt remind me of a fashion photograph from 1902 that I saw on page 188 of waisted efforts. The jacket in that picture had a less practical cut, a fancier hat, and fewer, more artfully placed buttons, but the overall effect was similar. This outfit looks just like a lower class version of that one.
Update: Here! The one on the left.
Illustrations from La Mode, Paris 1902. Scanned from Waisted Efforts.
 It's a whole different level of fanciness, but still quite similar.
Another photo showing a large amount of scenery and a small amount of cute child.

And that concludes part 1 of this album. I didn't watermark the pictures this time because they don't have nice wide frames like the Victorian ones, and therefore watermarks would be too distracting. You may use these pictures if you wish, as long as you leave a link back to the source.

As always, any additional information you may have is most welcome.


  1. I probably said it last time you posted pictures of long-gone family, but you are so lucky to have these pictures! Thanks for sharing them.


    1. Yes, I am very grateful for the packrat tendencies my father's family has.

  2. I have just found your blog a few minutes ago - wow I love old photographs. I am going to look at the rest of your collections now. Absolutely great!


    1. Thank you! I haven't got very much of my collection posted yet. I should probably be posting them at a more steady rate but I tend to save them for weeks when there isn't enough sewing progress.

  3. We should take that album the next time we visit with grandpa. He may know at least some of the people pictured.

    Not sure of the state of camera technology at that time, but they may have had to sit/stand motionless for a bit of time to get an adequate exposure. One way to check this is to see if the buildings are in focus. If they are, and the people are not, then this is the reason. If the buildings are blurry, it's something else. It could be a "focus" issue too. I'm sure that the state of lenses was not so great back then.

    1. Yes, we must bring both Edwardian albums! Being 90, there is a good chance he'd recognize some of the people. He might recognize the locations too.

      I don't think the blurriness is due to exposure time. The backgrounds are blurry too. It looks more like lens trouble or perhaps a wobbly tripod.

  4. The tower thing is probably a wind-powered water pump-type thing. They used to be pretty common.

    1. Neat. I had never heard of such a thing, thank you!

  5. Dear Mouse Borg,
    Thank you for sharing these. Certainly hope your grandfather can identify some of the people. You might ask if he has pictures saved that are labeled: then you could work on matching the people in them.

    Years and years ago my Dad and sister and I sat down with the Great Aunties over a gray cardboard box of black and white photos and tintypes and even daguerrotypes, and we all laughed and giggled and reminisced over the pictures inside. They were able to identify many of the people in the photos. Am grateful for that afternoon; otherwise several generations of faces would have continued unnamed.

    Thoroughly enjoying your blog postings, and very best,


    1. Thank you. The second of the two Edwardian albums does have a bit of labeling, though some of it is a little hard to read. Some of the photos in that album are doubles of the ones in this one, so there is more information on a few of these, I just haven't scanned it yet. There is also a small stack of individual portraits mounted on cardboard from around the same era, most of which are labeled. Two of the four Victorian albums also have names written in them.

      I'm not sure if he has any other labeled photos. He may have a few but I think most of them are in our house. If there are any people in these pictures that he knew then he will probably be able to recognize them. His mind is still in excellent condition.

      I'm glad that people are enjoying these photos.