Thursday, June 3, 2010

Unknown Beauty in Old Frame: Who Was She?

The old-fashioned frame swings forward on a little burnished gold colored stand. It immediately caught my eye while thrift store shopping.
The photo inside the frame is of a young woman who has a wistful, slightly sad look on her rather pretty face. Since the photo is of sepia tone, it's impossible to know the color of her eyes but they look light, perhaps blue or green.

She wears a lacy top and a necklace with a round locket on it. She has pretty lips and a delicate nose.  Her hair blends into the photo's dark background. Perhaps it's swept behind in a bun.

I love this photo of the unknown woman. My mind questions who she was. What was her name? How old was she when the photo was taken?  Where was she born?  Was she Irish? Polish? Russian? Ukrainian?

What was her life's work? Did she marry and have children?

In a way, she seems sad. Was her life difficult?  Did some young man break her heart early in life?  Did she feel the sting of betrayal or the pain of loneliness?

Was she born in America or did she immigrate from another country?

Carefully taking apart the frame, I looked on the back of the photo for identification of some kind. I found nothing, just a blank back.

My plan was to replace the photo but now I've changed my mind. The unknown beauty can stay---testimony to another time, another place, and perhaps to a well lived life.  If it is otherwise, we will never know.



Linda said...

That photo is beautiful. So sad to think it has ended up in a Thrift store unknown. Sweet of you to give her a home.

Lynn-Teacupstitches said...

Hi Susan!
What charming find! Isnt it kind of sad thinking that someday you may end up in a thrift shop!
How lucky you are to have found her and gave her a new home :-)
Yes, she does appear wistfully sad or deep in thought perhaps. . so many of these antique ladies portrait did and it makes you wonder why? Maybe the photographer didnt tell them to say CHEESE way back when :-)
I always look inside the frame also - for information but I've heard some people put secret cash in there. I've never had that lucky find though HA!
I'm glad that you decided to put her back in the frame she came in as that is part of the photos history and they should stay together.
Thanks for sharing your instant relative!!
Hugs and Smiles,


Gypsy Purple said...

I love old photographs!!! Can`t help but wonder about all of them...some are so sad but I must confess some gave me quite a chuckle as well...

Jan Cline said...

I have been sorting through old photographs researching my novel. It's set in WWII and I have been having a great time filing through pics of my mom and her husband at that time. The pics tell a great love story and I hope to recreate it on paper. We are blessed to have them. And I wouldn't get rid of the pic of the girl either! She tells a story all her own.

Mollye said...

A beautiful tribute to a beautiful unknown beauty. She smiles from somewhere.

Linda O'Connell said...

You could write her story! My daughter recently found an OLD photo of a teenaged boy in an antique store. Amazingly, he looks exactly like her son.

Chatty Crone said...

Absolutely - this womam was beautiful, but sad or pensive. This is silly, but when I go to Cracker Barrel it is filled with pictures like these and I always think about that myself. Love,sandie

Debbie said...

I love vintage photos and frames too. There is always a story behind the pictures. This one is just beautiful!
Thank you for stopping by my blog. I appreciate your nice comment.

Claus said...

I LOVE looking at old pictures. One of my passions, actually, is trying to gather as many from my family as possible. A month or so ago, my mom's aunt - sister to my grandpa - sent over (she knows about this passion of mine) pictures my late great grandfather kept at his house from my mom and my uncle, together with some very simple, yet very pretty wooden frames he had made himself. Priceless!! Pictures and belongings have a huge value to me, and curiously, I am known among family to be the "antique" girl, and send over what they do't want. I'm after a picture of my great-grandmother from my mom's mother side...mission! :-)

Rebecca said...

Sometimes I think photos of that era have a similar look...My grandmothers and her sisters all posed the same way. It's hard to tell them apart. Today I've noticed the younger generation not only take casual pictures, but CRAZY pictures - make strange faces and assume pretzel-like poses. What's THAT about?

Creative Carmelina said...

yes, i enjoy looking into the past through old photos....they are beautiful and speak volumes regarding the 'way' it was back then...

every old photo, especially sepia ones...have a somber pose or look to them because they all had to sit still and focus and not move for the photo. It took sometimes up to a minute to expose the shot...and that's usually why people looked rather solemn...

It was also not common to do any candid shots, because the hand held camera wasn't invented yet, and only professionals had a camera at the photos cost money and were more of a posterity, serious thing!

for all we know, she was an intelligent, young, prosperous woman with her whole future ahead of her!

thanks for sharing...and I would def. keep the photo as it! just not in direct sunlight!

have a great and creative day!
ciao bella
creative carmelina

Adrienne said...

Old photos are a favorite of mine. Actually - any photos. I'll even look at a complete strangers wedding album. What's weird is I don't particularly like taking pictures and have almost none of my own.

Leann said...

Yes, she is lovely. I hate to see photos pass out of a family. But WE treasure them don't we.

Enjoy your day!

diane stetson said...

Lovely find. I hope I'm in a thrift shop frame someday..ha ha!

Heaven's Walk said...

Susan - what a beautiful old photo. They are treasures, aren't they? Before my mother-in-law passed away recently, we were all given old photos of her growing up on her parents' farm, her wedding, and her adult years. Totally priceless.

I'm glad that you could give this pretty lady a home in your house...and in your heart....

Hugs ~


Rosie@Journey to Charm said...

Those old photos always make me wonder about them, because they didn't smile back then. I have a picture of my great-great grandma and I so wish I knew how she felt, what she thought, and whether my great-great grandpa was good to her. I know what you mean.

Andrea said...

Hi Susan!! Thanks for stopping by my much-neglected blog today. Thanks for being concerned about my whereabouts. Reunion, Dad in the hospital and now home health care for him, a trip to see our son, Mom's retirement....whew!
I love old black and white photos. Come to think of it, all of the photos from youth are black and white!!! How far we've come with cell phone cameras and cell phone movie cameras!
This girl looks rather shy to me. I would imagine that having her picture taken was a rare thing and she may have felt slightly bashful and uncomfortable. I have a close friend who has collected old black and white snapshots that she has purchased at flea markets and antique stores. I have come across a few and given them to her. I love examining them and musing about who is in the photo and what was going on in their life at the time the photo was taken. Your photo is gorgeous and it's too bad that there was no writing on the back.
hope to be on here more now that things have settled down somewhat.

Karen Lange said...

I do, and like you, I wonder who they are (if I don't know) and what their life was like. I can imagine all sorts of things; good for coming up with a plot. I think this too, when I see people in a store. I wonder what their story is, what their lives are like.
Have a wonderful weekend,

BECKY said...

Hi Susan! How sweet of you! And yes, I love looking at old portraits, and even those people that I never knew. I'm the same as many have said, I feel kind of sad when I see them for sale, as if no one in the extended family even cared to take them home....but I never thought about actually buying one until right this minute!! Thanks!

Susan said...

Hi Everyone.....Soooo happy you all liked the unknown lady photo. Hope she's looking down on me and sending good karma for taking her picture home with me. ha! Take care and thanks so much for stopping by. Sincerely, Susan

P.S. Carmelina, thanks for the info!

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