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Vintage Photos

Updated on April 20, 2015
tillsontitan profile image

What better way to preserve our memories than photographs? Mary loves taking pictures and sharing them along with her knowledge about them.

My mother's grandmother
My mother's grandmother | Source

Everybody's got a closet somewhere loaded with old photos. Photos of grandparents or old aunts and uncles, some of whom you don't even know, but each of those photos has a story to tell whether it's about your family or just the past in general.

In order to share those photos your best bet is to scan them. Scanning old photos is easy to do with the right equipment. Today's scanners are easy to use and the software packaged with them is easier than it was in the past. Basically you place your photo on the scanner, close it, and hit the scan button. The scanner runs and when it's finished the photo is saved to your computer. Scanning software is pretty basic but if you have a program like Adobe you can touch up those old photos and take out the wrinkles or age lines that have gathered over the years. You can restore color or take it out. Of course there are a myriad of effects you can add too, but this hub isn't about scanning old photos, it's about the photos themselves.

I'd like to share some old photos and give as much of their story as I can.

The photo of my mother's grandmother is over 90 years old. It was taken by a professional photographer in a photographer's studio. She was truly a matriarch, note the symbolic setting of a chair/throne. She had 13 children but I'm not sure how many made it to adulthood. If you look over the photo starting at the top, her hair is up in a bun. Her glasses are wire rimmed and she has pierced ears. There is a lot of detail in her dress with just a little bit of white showing out her collar. I don't know if she made the dress herself but do know she was a seamstress who made baptismal gowns. The hat is very period.

My mother's older sister
My mother's older sister | Source

Babies in Vintage Photos

This is a photo of my mother's older sister. It was probably taken around 1910 - 1912. The outfits babies wore in those days were pretty elaborate and not just when their pictures were being taken. The hand knit sweater and the dress with the lace trim. It is often hard to distinguish between a baby boy and a baby girl of that era because they were often dressed alike as babies. It is surprising that they used professional photographers so much way back when. Every occasion was celebrated with a photo by a professional photographer.

My Grandmother, Uncle and Aunt in Canarsie.
My Grandmother, Uncle and Aunt in Canarsie. | Source

Photograph in an Amusement Park

First of all, Canarsie had an amusement area back in the 20s, 30s and 40s. This picture was taken around 1918. The boy, my Uncle, died of rheumatic fever after being sent home from the war with a second bout of the fever. That was in 1947. My aunt, as you've seen in other pictures became a Sister of Charity when she was little more than sixteen. Again, a professional photograph but obviously not in a regular studio but in one set up in an amusement area.

Confirmation picture about 1913
Confirmation picture about 1913 | Source

Confirmation Photograph

This is a Confirmation picture taken about 1913. Seems white stockings were still in vogue as was long hair on young girls. The laurel around her head and the flowers are in celebration of the confirmation and becoming an adult in the Catholic Church.

My aunt riding a pony.
My aunt riding a pony. | Source

The Famous Child on a Pony Photograph

This photo is my aunt at age 10 on a pony. Probably taken about 1920. In Brooklyn and Queens back then someone would bring ponies around for children to sit on. Of course you paid a fee to sit on the pony and then paid to have your photo taken. Her immaculate white stockings match her white dress and her long hair is pinned up in the style of the day. The pony doesn't really seen to care one way or another even though he is standing on a sidewalk right in front of someone's house.

Little girl from 1936.
Little girl from 1936. | Source

Hat, Gloves and Pocketbook

This little girl from 1936 is dressed and ready to go. Her outfit is complete with gloves, hat and pocketbook. Notice the length of her dress and her shoes...hard walking shoes of the day. The building behind her also shows some nice detail in the stonework. I don't know if she was a friend of the family or a relative but her picture was among the family photos found in storage.

Country tavern
Country tavern | Source

Country Tavern in Ulster County

This is a photo of a country tavern in Ulster County, probably taken in the 1940s if not earlier. The tavern was a small tavern downstairs and living quarters upstairs. A note of interest is my grandparents owned this establishment and my grandfather had his appendix removed on the kitchen table in this building, oh, and my father was born upstairs, second window from the right.

Portrait of a young lady
Portrait of a young lady | Source

Vintage Portrait

This portrait (though taken by a professional photographer which can be used because they have long since gone out of business) is again such a portrait of the time. The hair, the pearl necklace and the loose fitting sheath. This picture was probably taken around 1915. The hairstyle was very in at that time. Everyone was wearing 'bobs' and using curling irons to get the wave in their hair. Yes, I said curling irons but...they were thin metal curling irons with wooden handles. The metal portion was placed on the gas in a gas stove and heated. Before using on your hair you would open and close the curling iron a few times to make sure it wasn't too hot for your hair. My mother actually had one she used on my hair when I was a little girl and no I am not 100 years old!

My Mom, early 1940s
My Mom, early 1940s | Source

Original, Creased Photo

As you can see I haven't used my photo editing software to take out the cracks or natural aging in any of the photographs. This one of my Mom is again one taken by a professional photographer but apparently not a very good one since his hand is in the front of the photo. Print dresses were definitely in in the forties. Her hairdo can be seen on any number of actresses from that time period as well. it was probably taken in the early 40s. If you've seen any movies from that period you'll know I'm right.

Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved

Do you have old family photos that not only show your family but show you about the period in which they live?

See results
Will Rogers
Will Rogers | Source


If you like old or vintage things you might like reading about Will Rogers, a 1920s icon.

You can read about Will Rogers in my hub Why Will Rogers? He was a great humorist and is still quoted today, 79 years after his death.

Then there's my hub entitled Vintage Photos = Part II, more of what I have here...vintage family photos that tell the tale of the past.


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    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Thank you for such a lovely comment Pamela. We can learn so much from these beautifl vintage photos...our own families or others. I am so glad you found this inspiring.

      Oh Millionaire Tips, this isn't even the tip of the iceberg! I have so many and find each one more interesting than the last. Glad you enjoyed the stories behind each.

      Peg, history is all around us and these precious mementos are certainly something we can enjoy and share. Thank you for the compliment. She was certainly a lovely lady (I was adopted but often told I looked like her).

      Thank you DDE.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Vintage Photos,great idea for a hub and these photos are so lovely, each photo with a unique story behind it.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      You had me at the first mention of Vintage. I loved seeing all these photos of your relatives and hearing the details. History is made in the keeping and remembering of these precious mementos. I have a box that we scanned in and I love looking through them and using them in stories. Nicely told and beautiful group of meaningful pictures. You Mom is a real looker, Mary. I'm sure you get your classic beauty from her.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 4 years ago from USA

      I love looking at vintage photos. You have quite the collection. I am hoping to someday visit all of my relatives and get copies of their vintage family photos. In addition to scanning them, I think it is great that you took the time to identify the photos and tell us the story behind them.

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      This is an important subject and a delightful hub. Turning the hearts of the children and our own hearts to those who have gone before us -- especially in our own family lineages -- is something dear to my heart.

      I enjoyed the way you presented each photograph. Drawing our attention to the details really helps us focus not just on the details but upon our feelings for our loved ones who have gone on before and lived during similar fashion trends.

      Thanks for some moments of inspiration, tillsontitan.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Thanks Molometer. You're right they do have that unassuming natural look about them. I appreciate the tweet!

    • molometer profile image

      molometer 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      I have been seeing a lot of vintage photos lately. I like the look of these too.

      There is a certain quality to them, that is missing in today's' hyper real photos and face pouts.

      I particularly like the photo of your mother from the 1940s. So natural.

      Nice post, very interesting. Tweeting.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Aw shucks, no one's ever called me a genius before ;) I know how precious photos are and any way we can preserve them is the way to go. Sounds like you might have some 'hubbers' too!

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 5 years ago from Neverland

      Wow the women in your family were beautiful!! I especially love the baby picture of your mom's older sister - what a priceless look =) I have boxes and boxes of old black and white photos from my grandma's barn. I keep them in acid-free envelopes and I never thought to scan them so I can have copies of the images for the future. You're a genius!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Thanks Moonlake. The photo of that little girl is one I have no idea who she is. There is no one left to identify her but I knew she depicted children of that era.

      Jeff scanning them to save them is the best thing you can do. Thanks for stopping by.

      Nell, you should get them out, I bet you have some beauties!

      MakinBacon it definitely is frustrating...but as I said, even without names they are such lovely pictures and give you a closer look at the past.

      Jaye, my Mom always had that smile, God bless her. I'm sorry you haven't been able to locate your family photos they really are a priceless treasure.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 5 years ago from Deep South, USA

      I love the vintage photos and your commentary! The photo of your mom in 1940 is lovely (she's lovely), and she has such a glowing smile and sparkling eyes. Don't you enjoy that picture?

      The older pics are so interesting. I love looking at my grandmother's old snapshots and a few studio portraits that survived. Mom gave some of them away before she came to live with me, and no one will "own up" to having them and make copies for me. Vintage photographs tell a family's story, and it brings one's ancestors alive to see them.


    • MakinBacon profile image

      MakinBacon 5 years ago from Louisville Area

      It's really a good idea to not only scan and save the photos, but to find relatives still alive that may give light on the photos and who they are. I've seen family photos of people from decades ago that no one alive now can identify. I think that's too bad, as I love family history and it's somewhat frustrating to see it in photos but not being able to attach names or a story to it.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Great hub, I love looking at old photos and reading their history, I have tons of them hidden behind my sofa in the cupboard! lol! I really must get them out, cheers nell

    • Jeff Gamble profile image

      Jeff Gamble 5 years ago from Denton, Texas

      Great hub Mary - I have a bunch of family pics going back as far as 1902 and have been scanning them little by little. You have some great photos!

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 5 years ago from America

      I love your photos. I really like the little girl in the 1930s. When I was a teen my mom use to get after me about my skirts being short she wasn't happy unless they were down to my knees. When she did I would pull out an old picture of her from 1940s with a short dress on. Voted up on your hub and share.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 6 years ago from New York

      Thanks taratabet, I've always loved looking at them and wondering what they were thinking when the pictures were taken.

    • taratabet profile image

      taratabet 6 years ago from Avalon

      All Photos are amazing.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 6 years ago from New York

      Thanks Effie, and again you are right. I think sentimentality is going to die out with our generation. Our kids, at least mine, don't believe in holding on to things. I agree about the fashions, they were so ladylike and formal even when they were doing laundry...though I can't see me wearing a dress to do laundry!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 6 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Till....I'm sure this won't surprise you, (soul-sister,) but I have boxes of old photos of family (ancestors I never even knew) I inherited all of these from my parents (RIP)...Thanks for reminding me that I should scan and my damned procrastinating.

      I recently mentioned to my kids that I "hoped" they would treasure these old pics as I have...

      Between you and me, Till, I'm not sure they're as sentimental as our generation. Somehow I don't think 100-year-old pictures impress them in the least!

      What I LOVE the most is the "fashions" from the 40's that our mothers wore! Padded shoulders, seamed stockings, and the purse, hat and gloves with each outfit.....just like the Classic Movie women...I'm really into all the retro memorabilia...The Big Band Sound....Loved this hub!!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 6 years ago from New York

      Thanks Michele, I love the stories these photos tell, even if you don't know who they are!

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 6 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      I also have old photos like yours and to me they are treasures. I love them. I also have very old bible and it lists names, but does not tell who they are. This is a wonderful hub. Voted up!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 6 years ago from New York

      Thanks Lynn.

      Bob, I'm a keeper. My husband says I boarder on hoarder. It's difficult for me to get rid of things. Of course, I've been in the same house for over 40 years so that helps.

      cloverleaffarm, there are some I can't identify either but for the most part I know who they are. What a great idea to use them for designing clothes!

    • cloverleaffarm profile image

      Healing Herbalist 6 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

      I love old photos, and have a ton I inherited. I even have some tin types. Sadly, I don't know who they are. But, I save them anyway, because I love history. I also use them for designing clothes of the era for my business.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Tell me your mum's great gran isn't Queen Victoria!?

      I keep no photos and try not to drag the past along with me...I often regret it.


    • profile image

      Lynn S. Murphy 6 years ago

      You are so blessed to not only have the photos but the people/ancestors and stories behind them. What a treasure. It makes me swoon.