The Graham Sisters and Their Dog Bonzo

Bonzo, MV and Doris Graham. 1936. Backyard of Theodore, Detroit,MI
Bonzo, MV and Doris Graham. August 1932. Backyard of Theodore, Detroit,MI

My mother Doris and her sister Mary Virginia with their dog Bonzo.  The picture was taken in August 1932, about 6 months after their brother Howard died of Scarlet Fever.  Mary V. was 12 and Doris was 9.  The sisters were granddaughters of Jennie Virginia Allen Turner, who was the daughter of Dock and Eliza Allen.  My mother later had a sister-in-law named Gladys Cleage, who will celebrate her 93rd birthday this Saturday.  I could not find a photograph of her with a sister and a dog, but here she is with sister Anna.

Gladys and Anna Cleage, about 1930 beside their home on Scotten, Detroit.
Gladys and Anna Cleage, about 1930 beside their home on Scotten, Detroit.

Gladys and Anna were the grandchildren of Lewis and Anna Cecilia Cleage, and great granddaughters of  Frank and Juda Cleage of Athens, TN.

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15 thoughts on “The Graham Sisters and Their Dog Bonzo”

  1. Bonzo, a wonderful name for a dog, and what a fine fellow he is. Those two little girls looks so serious!

  2. Maybe Gladys and Anna were told, no smiling now, this is serious, or maybe they just weren’t happy having to stop and pose for a photo. They still look cute though.

  3. Gladys and Anna look so cute in their crumpled stockings and matching hairstyles. And it’s a remarkably sharp photo as well. Our old family photos are mostly out of focus!

  4. I don’t know why they are looking so gloomy. There were several other photos taken that day of them and of them with first 1 parent and then the other. My grandmother is smiling. My grandfather has an expression similar to Gladys and Anna. Could be they just have what we refer to as “the Cleage look” on.

  5. Well, I have nothing to add. I was going to comment too about those serious expressions. I even had that momentary thought about the Cleage look. Soooo, everyone’s hair looks good!

  6. Sweet little Bonzo! I don’t think Gladys and Anna were too happy about getting their picture taken, or maybe the photographer took too long to shoot! But they sure are adorable!

  7. Gladys and Anna are adorable despite the frowns. I imagine them having a wonderful time playing together and then being forced to stand still for the photo. The hair ribbons add so much.

  8. I love both of those shots. I love the waves in their shiny hair in that first shot. And they are so sweet in the second. Adorable and perplexed. I do wonder what had just been said to the.

  9. I was interested to see your reference to scarlet fever as last week I mentioned it in connection with my mother about 20 yeats before your example. I haven’t heard that term for a long while.

    1. One of my granddaughters had scarlet fever several years ago and about 15 years ago the son of a friend also had it. Seems to be the same germ that causes strep throat and now that there are antibiotics it is not the killer it used to be.

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