Behind every picture is a story. Some are simple tales of why someone went to have their portrait taken. In other cases, a picture tells the story of a lifetime.
Carmen Camoros sent this soft-focus photo of two young women. She’s hoping one of them is her grandmother.
Carmen’s mother always told her that her grandmother had died giving birth to her in 1911 in Puerto Rico. She never talked about her. After Carmen’s mother died in 1979, Carmen packed up her belongings and put them away.
A decade later, she decided to look at them. In it was her mother’s empty wallet with this picture inside. The original is only 2 x 2 inches. Carmen’s convinced the woman on the left looks just like her Mom. She’s sure that the woman is her grandmother.
There’s a twist in this story. Carmen began researching her family and discovered that her grandmother didn’t die in childbirth. She died of dysentery at 28 years of age, when Carmen’s mother was 9. For 5 years, her mother lived with her maternal grandparents until her father’s remarriage.
Carmen’s right. This photo could very well be her grandmother. The long, flowing dresses are from the first decade of the 20th century, but their hair clinches the date. Both young women wear decorative bands and trims popular from 1911 to about 1915. The large coils on her grandmother’s head were one variation on the full styles of that decade.
The chair in the photo is in the Egyptian Revival style of the late 19th century. It was bowed legs and a curved, slatted back.
It appears the grandmother has flowers pinned to the front of her dress. The significance of this picture and those flowers is a still a mystery—at least for now.