Way back in August, I asked for photos of people smiling. In response to that request Teri Colglazier sent me this photo.
The woman in the back left has a toothy grin, probably because this group of friends has decided to have fun in front of the camera. No costumes were necessary—instead, a hand-painted board on the feet of the men proclaims: “The Hobo 8.” (There are eight young people in this photo.)
Teri thought that underneath the word hobo was a number 80. I’m not sure. It looks like it could be Ho with Bo beneath it. If it’s a number, it’s not a year.
While older folks often posed for pictures in their Sunday best, it wasn’t unusual for young people to go to the studio dressed in casual clothes. The two men on the right wear big sweaters that could be worn today. In the back row, all four young women wear white blouses paired with dark skirts, belted at the waist. The little details in this photo provide a time frame:
- The straw hat worn by one of the young men. It has a narrow brim and and wide ribbon. The shape and style of hat brims and ribbons change from decade to decade in the early 20th century. He could work in an office.
- The fellow on the far right has a flat-topped cap—all the rage in the second decade of the 20th century
- The other two men wear a type of sports cap and a fedora style hat also in style in that period.
- The smiling woman arranged her hair so that it forms a ridge on the top of her head. The woman next to her has her hair pulled back casually in a bow.
- The woman on the far right is the most conservatively dressed with a Gibson girl-style high-neck blouse and full hairstyle.
The detail that clinches the date is the mob cap worn by the woman second from the right. I’ve seen photos of this type of hat on women working around the house in the period just prior to World War I.
The facts add up to the photo being taken between 1910 and 1916.
Teri now has to figure out who’s in the picture. In her e-mail, she mentioned that her family kept every photo ever taken or given to them by family and friends. She thinks the man third from the left could be a family member, but she’s not positive.
Anyone out there recognize these people, photographed in McLean County, Ill.?