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Photo Detective: Mixed Messages
10/1/2004
What happens when one photograph has three different captions? Find out how our expert photo sleuth narrowed the identification possibilities.
When Marie Chaffee asked relatives to send photos of her grandfather Elmer Perdew, she thought she'd made a simple request. But her cousins all sent copies of a picture Chaffee already owned — an unidentified one at that. Each cousin's copy of the undated portrait had a different caption, identifying the man as Elmer, Charles or Moses Perdew. And no one could name the woman. Chaffee had stumbled upon a family photo mystery.

Now Chaffee wants to find out why this portrait appeared in four photo collections and, most important, whom it depicts. To answer these questions, she must attempt to date the picture, then sift through genealogical data and consult her cousins.

Determining a date

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