Tag Archives: old photographs

Mrs. Willis and Son Photographers

A great photo of this husband and wife, if not quite as well made as some.  You can see the jewelry of the wife and her black lace collar.  One feature that dates this photo to around 1887 is the geometric line below the photo and above the studio imprint.  Also, the gentleman’s jacket buttoned at the very top.

Another interesting fact is the photographer who took this was a woman.  There were quite a few women photographers in the late 1800’s.  Many started helping their husband’s or father’s with photography and ended up being one!

This photo was taken by Ella Willis, or possibly one of her sons, Nathaniel Parker Willis or Lewis Willis.  The father and husband, Abner Delmar Willis, was a photographer in Crawford, Illinois, from 1866 through 1892, when age forced him to give up his work.  At that time the studio continued as Mrs. Willis and Son, as listed at the bottom of this photo.

But twenty years before that date, she was making photographs of her own – with her cards listing Ella Willis Art Studio, Crawfordsville, Indiana.  Perhaps she was on a level with her husband?  His cards read, A. D. Willis, Crawfordsville, Indiana.  Such a modern woman – with a husband that appreciated her talent!

Son Parker Willis had his name on cards – possibly after his mother retired – or before!  A family of photographers.

Lace, Ruffles and More Lace

I purchased this wonderful photo just today at J. Sampson Antiques and Books on Main Street in Harrodsburg – another of our treasures!  As I walked through the store after checking through the books (found one on Scott County history, the Wilderness Road, Shakertown and the old Mud Meeting House), I saw this picture and fell in love!

This woman is quite beautiful – a classic beauty with a romantic hair style.  But her dress steals the show.  The high collar, ruffled cuffs, the entire dress is lace, lace and more lace.  And in the beautiful white of the turn of the 20th century.  How I wish we knew her name.  I suppose she will remain the beautiful mystery woman!

Have a wonderful Friday!

Lovely Young Woman In White Dress

Scan095Don’t you love this photo?  Such a lovely young woman in a beautiful white dress, stockings and slippers!  The large corsage on her bodice suggests this is a special day – and the book in her hand bears a cross.  Perhaps this was her confirmation day.  The book or Bible looks to have a name and date on the cover – perhaps her name?  Or the name of the church?  I’ve used magnifiers but cannot read it!

Our young subject looks rather bored!  Did the photo session take too long?  She looks very much like the teenagers of today, waiting for something to be over!

This photo was taken in Chicago, but I cannot make out the name of the studio or photographer – it looks like Koule’s or Houle’s.  It is etched into the grey cardboard surrounding the photo and is very faded.

Sam and Lucy Tortorello

Scan_Pic1481 1I am so excited to share this beautiful wedding photo with you! May I introduce Mr. and Mrs. Samuel and Lucy Tortorello of Newark, New Jersey! This is perhaps my favorite wedding photo! The bride is lovely in her white wedding gown, but the immense veil steals the show! Look at the embellishments around her head and at the end of the veil – gorgeous! The bouquet looks too large for the bride to hold! I counted 38 large roses – and I’m sure some are hidden in the photo! And standing beside his lovely bride is the handsome groom! The photo was taken at Roma Studio, 86 Broadway, Newark. I thought this was a 1920’s photo – and after a bit of research found out that was correct!

Scan_Pic1482 2Sam Tortorello was born in 1903 in New Jersey. His parents, Bernarnino and Carmela Tortorello, along with older brothers Anthony and Joseph, immigrated to the United States from Italy in 1897, and were naturalized in 1918. In the 1920 Essex County, New Jersey, census Bernarnino and Carmela are both listed as 49, Anthony, 23, Joseph, 20, Samuel, 16, Tessie, 13, and John, 4.

Lucy was born November 23, 1903 in Nocera Infiore, Italy, to Vincent Nobile and Anna Sicignalo. The family immigrated to the United States in 1906. In the 1920 Essex County, New Jersey, census, Vincent and Anna are listed as 42, Lucy, 17, Frank, 14, Philip, 10, Irene, 8, John, 6, Ferdinand, 4, and Sophie, 2, and Ralph Sicignalo, 30, Anna’s brother.

In the 1930 census Sam and Lucy are newlyweds, Sam listed as 27, born in New Jersey, a tool maker at a machine shop. Lucy is listed as 26, born in Italy, married one year. In 1940 Sam and Lucy are listed with children Carmela, 9, named for her paternal grandmother, and Vincent, 6, named for his maternal grandfather. Lucy’s parents live next door.

Sam died in November of 1980. If Lucy were still alive they could possibly have been married 51 years. Does anyone know additional information about this couple?

Scan_Pic1483 1

John Linton’s Family Photograph – But Which John Linton?

I hate to bombard you with old photos, but this one I found in Cincinnati this past weekend.  It is a great family gathering photo – four women, two men, two little boys and one baby.  The intriguing part, to me, is what is written on the back – John Linton’s Family!  Oh, to know which John Linton!  Does anyone recognize any of these people?  There is no notation on the photo as to location.  I would date the photo to the 1880’s.

There are 41 John Linton’s in my database – and many more I don’t know!  The name alone was sufficient reason for me to purchase this photograph.  I was interested just looking at the photo – several people, the color is very good – some of the old photos are very faded.  The children are beautiful – the little cherub face of the baby and the impatient looks on the toddlers!  Since the women are dressed in black they must be in mourning.

Perhaps together we can find this particular John Linton – and all the names of his family in this photo!