28 thoughts on “Damaged Photograph

  1. Good luck with finding out who they are. You don’t have much to go on, but never rule it out. It’s interesting to ponder on why it might have been covered up.

    1. It looks as if someone tried to take it off the page first. That is not easy to do when you glue them down with mucilage. Now that I’m looking at the house, that corner reminds me of one where my grandfather appears to be painting. I’ll have to go find that.

  2. Ah – mucilage! I’ve wondered what in the world my husband’s grandfather used to stick photos to the black pages of an old photo album so tightly that no amount of care or tools could peal them away without damaging the picture. I’ve used several of them in Sepia posts & it would be so much easier to scan them out of the album, but no such luck. As you mention, it does seem someone tried to remove that picture from your grandparents’ photo album for some reason, but gave up in time, saving the main focus of the photo. One can’t help wondering what else might have been there, though, in the ‘before’ picture?

  3. Just another mystery for you to solve, which you seem pretty good at doing 🙂

  4. I can’t read their faces — poignant or defiant? There’s a man standing behind them (I can see his suit jacket)…boy, wouldn’t it be wonderful to get a full identification?

  5. I have a theory that many damaged photos saved for inexplicable reasons were of the result of children’s mischief. This has the look of little fingers making a mess of glued paper. The foggy faces must have had some sentimental value.

    I noticed you were absent from last weekend’s Sepia Saturday. My post was a story about a postcard whose message led me to discover a very interesting man who passed up his early musical career to become a pastor in the A.M.E. church. I’m curious if his name might be recognized in your family memory.
    http://temposenzatempo.blogspot.com/2015/05/the-college-band-from-greensboro.html

    1. I don’t recognize his name, but it was a very interesting life you recovered for us. He was in my grandfather’s generation but did not live in the same places, except for being born in Michigan several decades before my family got there. We were Congregational or Presbyterian, so I don’t think paths would have crossed at church functions. He sounds like a dynamic minister with a real talent for music. He would be tall today and in those days when the average seems to have been in the 5 ft 8 inch arena, he must have seemed almost a giant. I’m judging by the Cleages I investigated last month.

      I thought of a child causing the damage too.

      1. I’m glad you liked my story of Rev. Stewart, as I found many similarities in his life to the stories you have related on your family. As a pastor his name was frequently in newspaper reports and I found several opinion pieces that he wrote on civil rights issues. Until I started on this research I did not know how important the A.M.E. church was in fostering higher education in the African-American community. But the most unexpected discovery was that his life span from 1884 to 1976 covered the full era of the struggle for justice. So I was inspired to write a more complete story in honor of his many talents and accomplishments.

        1. Mike, I started looking at his family – father and grandfather in the ancestry.com census and I remembered that on my Grandmother Pearl Reed Cleages side, she had some sisters that married men in Michigan in the late 1890s and moved to Berrien. I wanted to see what county the Stewarts were from and I saw they were from Cass county. Then I remembered that a cousin on that same side had married a Stewart. I checked and it was not the same Stewart family. Her’s were born in Georgia and didn’t get to Michigan until later.

          Thank you for getting me interested and now I’ve looked at them back to 1860 and they seem to have been prosperous farmers and free people back in the 1850s in Ohio and then Michigan. Cannot find any family connection though.

  6. An intriguing old photo, Kirstin. The less old photo albums we have that have survived a mere 50 years have photos mounted in corner pockets. The annoying thing about empty pockets is we have no way of ever identifying what they held.
    I’m sure that your detective skills will come good and you will succeed in tracing them.

  7. I hope you’ll figure it out. I have so many damaged photos..even some where my grandmother x’ed out the faces of people she didn’t like – this was after dementia had set in. I have to say those are two unhappy looking people. Maybe that was why they were glued over.

    1. The woman looks sort of hostile. The girl just looks like she’d rather be somewhere else. That’s sad about your grandmother x’ing out the faces!

  8. I’ve come across a similar specimen or two of a photo that someone attempted to remove from the black stock pages from those old photo albums. That’s what we called them. I love being able to identify backgrounds in old photos. It still gives you hope about knowing more. You have some very good clues to get you closer to the story.

  9. What struck me was how the first photo was torn away leaving a wispy white frame around the two girls. I think it highlighted the girls much more than in the original photo. Quite lovely. And, my granddaughter has that look of the older girl — it could mean anything from a string on her dress to finding her favorite cereal box empty. I thought she was a lovely young lady — both actually.

  10. I think it’s interesting to see what people do in personal photo albums. I wonder if those two girls were less important than the photograph that was on top. My mom’s album was one of those old black-paged one. Some photos were removed and the black paper ripped horribly. But as far as I can tell, she never glued photos on top of each other. Wouldn’t you love to have a conversation with your grandparents and learn the story?

    1. I wish I had written down what photo was on top because now I don’t remember!

      I would love to have a conversation with my grandparents about all of these photos, I sure would!

  11. I have often wondered if there is anything under the photos in my old albums – writing or other photos. But that old glue is relentless.

    Hang in there even if you don’t know the people today. As I’m reading the comments, I can tell the wheels are turning and you’re sensing some familiarity. You might learn the names yet.

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