Beating Rugs – Sepia Saturday #165

This is the 22nd post in the February Photo Collage Festival and a Sepia Saturday offeringToday I am sharing a mystery photograph from my Graham collection. This week’s prompt is “unknown people”.

I don’t know who they are. I assume they are friends of my grandparents from Montgomery, Alabama who spent the day beating carpets and then posed for this photo.  The older woman doesn’t look very happy about any of it.  I would date them in the early 1900s.

We were beating carpets and don't we look like it.

“We were beating carpets in the backyard and don’t we look like it.”


Verso of the photo above.

This seems to be the same family on a different day.

This seems to be the same family on a different day.


To see more unknown people, click.

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30 Responses to Beating Rugs – Sepia Saturday #165

  1. Helen McHargue says:

    These are great. I love the contrast between the two photos in the dress and attitude fo the trio and the sense of humor about carpet beating. Never done it myself but it must have been a really nasty chore. Thank goodness for vacuum cleaners.

    • Kristin says:

      I can just imagine all the accumulated dust and dirt flying through the air. I think I would look gloomy after a day of rug beating too.

  2. Wendy says:

    It’s lovely to see people at their best as well as their well-not-exactly-worst.

  3. Nancy Javier says:

    That woman looks so much happier in the second photograph. I think she really did not like to beat carpets.

  4. Lorraine says:

    I really enjoy seeing the more casual photos – people are more interesting when they’ve dropped their guard a little.

  5. Alex says:

    I’m with Lorraine. Fabulous photo!

  6. Yet more winning photos from the archives, Kristin. Neighbors, friends, distant cousins, it doesn’t matter, they had to be nice people if their photo was worth saving. The early snapshots have a random element of life that the careful studio photographs did not capture.

  7. Sharon says:

    I love these photos. Perhaps the person who took the first photo (maybe the 2nd girl in the second photo) wasn’t pulling her weight with the carpet beating. It seems unusual that the man helped with the housework as normally it was the females who got that job!

  8. Bob Scotney says:

    I vaguely remember being given the job of beating the rugs when I was a boy. We only had rugs, never a carpet during the WWII.

  9. postcardy says:

    I thought you made up the carpet beating until I saw the back of the photo. The composition of the first one is unusual.

  10. tony says:

    I’m not sure they Beat those carpets! To me, I think the carpets Won !

  11. Kristin says:

    Mike, Alex and Lorraine I agree. The casual photographs have something that the carefully posed ones don’t. I think that is true today too.

  12. That lady with her arms crossed seems to really not want her picture taken. It is easy to read her body language. She was probably pretty dusty. She seems much happier in the next picture.

    Kathy M.

  13. yo says:

    omg! what a great photograph and caption to go with it.
    looks like carpets weren’t the only things that took a beating!

  14. Kathy Hart says:

    What a treasure to have a photo with such an interesting notation. I envy you :)

  15. lindaL says:

    I love photos where people aren’t smiling! So much more realistic!

  16. Little Nell says:

    I’m not surprised they looked miserable as it’s a horrible, dirty, dusty job. We still see ladies beating their rugs here and hanging them over the balcony, presumably to draw out any little mites and bugs in the sun!

  17. Kathy says:

    I sometimes shake out my bathroom rugs over the balcony and dust flies everywhere. No wonder she didn’t want her picture taken. Although she probably thought she looked dirtier and messier than she actually looks in the photo.

  18. Mike Burnett says:

    Used to be a regular sight, but no longer with fitted carpets and vacuum cleaners

  19. Karen S. says:

    It’s so funny because even now I’ve gone after a couple of rugs, even to this day! I like these down to earth, natural photos!

  20. Alan BURNETT says:

    I am sure you are right about the estimated date of the photographs. They are part of that glorious generation of photographs when subjects ventured out of the studios for the first time and real expressions began to appear. They might not look happy, but they are real.

  21. TICKLEBEAR says:

    Love both pics, and I’m intrigued:

  22. Brett Payne says:

    The caption makes it all worth while, and I hope you identify them, whether they be friends or family, as I would be honoured to have photos of such illustrious folk in my collection. Thanks for sharing them.

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