Tuesday, January 7, 2020

#52 So Many Favorite Photos!

A Favorite Photo!?

That my great-great grandfather was one of the few photographers of Gettysburg (he & his brother Isaac had a photo studio there), would, seemingly make this an easy choice for me. I'd put in a famous photo such as this (NARA and the Met have some of his) which was taken as the crowd gathered on that day to commemorate the Battle at Gettysburg and Lincoln delivered the "Gettysburg Address"
At Lincoln's Gettysburg Address ~ Chas & Isaac Tyson (Nov 1863)
~ MB Walmer Collection
Or, maybe one of his son, Chester J Tyson, with several US Presidents in Washington DC. Gathered as part of a group spearheading food aid to starving communities in post-World War 1 Europe?
Taft, Wilson, Hoover, etc, Chester Tyson (2nd frm R) in Washington DC post WW 1 ~ MB Walmer Collection
Or, this  AMAZING shot from 1869 of the Westbury Friends (NY) outside their Meeting House. I have the key & the names of each person.
The man on the far left is my maternal great-great grandfather, William E Hawxhurst.

1869 Westbury (NY) Friends Meeting - some members. WE Hawxhurst,far left. ~ AC Johnson Collection
But, perhaps because of my weird sense of humor, I love my father's mother's photo here.
Catherine (Barnwell) Higgins and four of her children about 1945 ~ AC Johnson Collection
When I first saw it I thought "Why would she label the snow?" Did she have a weird sense of the ridiculous.
But because I've taken the time, I know a bit about why this photo is here.
When my father was in college (he was the eldest), his family's house caught fire and everything was lost. YES. That means all their photos.
Extended family members sent them their copies to help them fill out their collection. A small pile for such a large family, but it's better than nothing.
Here's what I believe happened and why the photo is labeled:
My grandmother and grandfather were both from New York City.
They had moved to Sullivan County (NY), 100 miles away & it was the ends of the earth for them.
I believe she had sent this photo to a sister (or mother) in NYC .
She labeled the children, then added herself.
Then (if she was feeling tired or a bit tipsy) went on and added "tree" and "snow" and so on.
After the fire, the silly photo came back to her,but at least she had photos of her children. And so do we!


  1. I could not pick just one either....enjoyed your post

  2. Now we know where YOUR sense of humor comes from.

  3. I enjoyed your post. The photo of the Friends meeting is amazing.

    1. Thanks Annette. It really is amazing: I kept at it till I was able to chase down the key, as I mentioned. I met cousin who grew up near the Meeting house. She's got lots of lore, including this about the photo: "I heard there were some grumpy people who refused to post in the picture."

  4. Wonderful pictures indeed! And I love the story about the labels!

  5. What a sweet last photo and so sad that there was a fire and they lost everything. If she'd moved from a snow-less state that could explain her naming the snow but since she came from New York it's probably just as you say. Or perhaps she just had a great sense of humor.

  6. It was sad. I was desperate to find photos: I patched together a bunch from two of my father's sisters who had inherited her things. My dad said, "The only call I got from my parents was before Christmas. They told me not to go home--it was no longer there." (By then they were in temporary housing the locals had given them).


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