Thursday, June 29, 2006

Mysterious People

The Sandusky Library Archives Research Center has a collection of about 10,000 photographic images documenting many facets of the history of Sandusky, Erie County, the Lake Erie islands, and the Firelands region. Nearly all of these pictures have been donated to the library over the last 100+ years by local residents, former residents, and the historically-minded. However, some of these images have lost their 'stories' -- the names of the people in them have been long forgotten, the event depicted has been lost from memory, or we aren't sure anymore where or why the picture was taken. Nevertheless, these images are still important to us in helping to describe the early days of the community and culture.

The names of the women pictured above are unknown to us. What we do know about this image is that it was taken by the C.A. Cross studio in Sandusky. Charles Cross operated a photography business on Columbus Avenue in Sandusky from about 1880 until the late 1890s. We don't know the ladies' names, but they still can tell us things about life in the late nineteenth century. Does this photo tell you anything?

The Archives Research Center has a number of cartes-de-visite, which were used as photographic calling cards in the early days of print photography. (The peak years of the carte-de-visite were roughly from around 1860 to the 1880s.) Here is a sample of cartes-de-visite from the library's collections. Again, the names of the people and the story of their lives is unknown, but their images still can tell us something.

Both of these images were taken at the Wetherell Studio in Sandusky, probably in the mid-1880s.

(We will have more about the early history of photography -- and mystery photos -- in later entries.)

1 comment:

Tracy Keenan Lloyd said...

I think the photograph of the woman standing alone is one in my family's collection. They have a box of historical images we're trying to indentify as well, and many come from the Sandusky photographers. Some are of the Heath family, of which I've had little information. If you have anything at all, I'd love to know..some of what you have may be duplicated in my family's collection. I'd like to help, if so! Please email me if you wish, Thank you! Tracy