Beating Rugs

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.

30 thoughts on “Beating Rugs

  1. 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.

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

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

    1. He must have been a really good man to have around! Maybe the second girl had asthma and couldn’t stand the dust so she took photos.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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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