The Artist

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This is a tintype that has been hand-colored.  It was found in Markle, Indiana.  Written on the reverse is “Mrs. Sarah Huff, Artist, Leavensworth (sic), Ind.”

blogHUFF Sarah Mrs BACK

Based on the young woman’s fashion, I loosely date this photo as being taken in the 1870s.  This is a curious case, as there were several women named Sarah Huff residing in the Leavenworth, Indiana area during this time.

The first Sarah Huff, married to Mack Huff, was born about 1859, and fits the age of the sitter.  However, she resided in Sterling, 17 miles from Leavenworth.

Two of those Sarahs were a mother and daughter living in Leavenworth.  The daughter, 18 years old in 1870, was, of course, a Miss Sarah Huff, not a Mrs.  The mother was 40 years old in 1870, so she could not be the sitter.  Is it possible the person who penned the writing mistakenly wrote Mrs.?  Or is it possible the writing signifies the person who hand-colored the photo, and not the identity of the sitter?  That could explain the notation of “Artist.”

This one remains a mystery.

Sources:
Census records
Death records

Cloudy Days Good As Sunshine

blog SHERLOCK Martha M

This cabinet card has so much going for it!  From the lovely studio backdrop, to the girl’s big eyed, faraway stare,  to the awkward pose made to show off her dress bustle (and wow, what a bustle!)  Bustles reached extreme proportions in the mid 1880s.

blog SHERLOCK Martha M BACK

The back of the card is just as interesting.  The artwork offers a glimpse into the sitter’s view when she approached Hartley’s Studio at 309 W. Madison St. in Chicago, Illinois. And what a clever motto, “Cloudy Days Good as Sunshine.”

The sitter is Martha Miriam Sherlock.  Martha was born in 1860 in Illinois.  She was a teacher in the 1880s, married George Herzberg when she was 33, had children and died in Texas, aged 84.  I can’t say Martha led an uninteresting life, but I can say that I didn’t find anything as interesting as what I discovered when researching Hartley’s Studio. Let’s turn our attention to the photographer, Charles F. Hartley.

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Nevertheless, She Persisted

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“Aunt Margret Newkirk” is written on the back of this cabinet card that was found in Auburn, Indiana. The sitter is Margaret (nee Warwick).  The inscription leads me to believe this photo belonged to Maud Kelley, a foster daughter, who lived in the Newkirk home for some years, and who fondly referred to the sitter as Aunt Margret (a variation of Margaret.)

Margaret Newkirk was a daughter, a wife, and a mother.  But, she wasn’t defined by the traditional roles of women in the 19th century. You see, Margaret was a suffragette!

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Killed by the Cars

blog BERGER Emma

On January 27, 1890, Emma (nee Berger) Toomey, aged 26, died after being run over by a train. Almost two years later, on December 23, 1891, her husband, Michael Toomey, was also “killed by the cars.”  It’s believed they were struck because they couldn’t hear the train coming, as both  Emma and Michael lost their hearing as the result of childhood illnesses.

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The Stitching Girl

Annie Hicks Townsend

I picked up this beautiful tintype on etsy.  Written on the back of the pink paper sleeve that houses the image is “Annie Townsend, Mother of Nelle, Henry, Roy.”

Annie Townsend

Having no information about the photographer or location, I looked closely at the sitter’s clothing and hairstyle, and with the help of the 19th Century Card Photos Kwik Guide, dated the image to around 1872.  The sitter appears to be in her early twenties, so I searched for an Annie Townsend, born about 1850, with children named Nelle, Henry and Roy.  I found Annie Hicks, and she fit the bill!

Annie, born in Nova Scotia, immigrated to the US about 1870 and began working in a shoe factory in Danvers, Massachusetts.  As many young women working in the shoe factories in Essex county, Annie came to town seeking work, and was boarding in a private family’s home.   Also living in Danvers and working in the shoe factory was Francis Henry Townsend.

Prior to 1860, stitching machines in the shoe factories required great strength to operate.  Upon the introduction of steam power, these machines could easily be run by women, and since women required a lower wage, the majority of stitchers were female.

Another shoe factory town in Essex county, just 10 miles from Danvers, was Lynn.  In 1872, a serialized novel, “The Queen City! : or Life in the Shoe Factories of Lynn,” was published in the Lynn Record.   It described the young workers who flocked to the streets on Saturday nights, where, away from the prying eyes of family, they flirted, drank beer and ran wild.

A poem, “The Stitching Girls,” published in the Lynn Transcript in 1869, captured the scene through the eyes and mind of an observer.

When walking on the crowded street,
A lovely lass attracts your eye,
And while you gaze your glances meet,
You smile – alas! you soon will sigh
For Cupid from her beaming eyes,
His shining arrows thickly hurls;
And hard indeed must be the heart –
The pleasing, teasing stitching girls.

…Again you meet her and she plys
And sings and smiles for you alone,
Charmed by her gentle, loving ways,
You hope to call her all your own,
But should you kneel and tell your love,
With cruel scorn her lip will curl:

And you’ll be left alone to sigh:
I’m jilted by a stitching girl.
The stitching girls, the witching girls –
The singing, clinging stitching girls
They break your heart and then depart
The naughty, haughty stitching girls.

Unlike the poem’s author, who it seems was cast aside by a stitching girl, Francis Townsend found love with one.  He and Annie married in 1877 and went on to raise Nelle, Henry and Roy.

Sources:
Census records
Massachusetts marriage records
Massachusetts death records
19th Century Card Photos Kwik Guide by Gary W. Clark
Men, Women and Work: Class, Gender and Protest in the New England Shoe Industry, 1780 – 1910, by Mary H. Blewett, published 1990
Women in Industry Vol. 5, published 1916

 

 

 

Unrelenting Death

Lizzie and Emma Boeckling

This cabinet card was found in a Goshen, Indiana shop and features Lizzie and Emma Boeckling during happier times; I uncovered a sad tale during my research.

Lizzie and Emma were two of six children born to John and Johanna Boeckling  of LaPorte, Indiana.  They were the middle children, with the eldest being Carrie and Albert, and Frank and Hattie, the babies of the family.  Tuberculosis, also known as consumption, took five of them to the grave.  And strangely, Carrie, Albert and Lizzie, the first three to succumb to the disease, each died when they were 30 years old.

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Mattie’s Snap Shot

blog HOLMES Mattie

Martha “Mattie” Kennedy (nee Luney) Holmes was born in Ireland in 1874 and came with her family to the United States as a young girl.  In 1894, she married Dr. William Wesley Holmes, who was 30 years her senior.  After William’s death in 1913, Mattie worked as a traveling and home nurse.

I’m not sure when Mattie died.  She was living with her sister, Edith Cole, in Yonkers, New York in 1930.  The last trace I found of her was in 1936 when she was still in Yonkers, but living on her own at 472 Hawthorne.

Sources:
Census records
The Denison Review, Denison, Iowa, February 12, 1913, – William Holmes’ obituary
Yonkers, New York City Directory 1931 and 1936