This Sepia Saturday was a tough theme for me – Greetings and handshakes, pipes and politicians. In the hundreds upon hundreds of photos I have, I have none of politicians or handshakes/greetings. Not a single one! I did manage to find two with pipes though, so I’ll share those here especially since the one has intrigued me for a long time. I’m really trying to keep the Sepia Saturday posts about family photos, so here’s my best shot!
This photo came out of the Red Velvet Victorian Photo Album. It was on a page with a photo of what looks like a town street. There’s no photographer identification on the back or front, and both images are well faded which may make them earlier photos. I can date a number of the album photos to around 1880-1910 which helps a little with a date range. This cabinet card in particular is likely on the earlier spectrum because it’s on plain card (a hallmark of earlier photos), but the clothing and scene give us no good hints as to a date. I threw this into a genealogy discussion board at one point and folks in England said it may have been a Christmas play or pantomime or something along those lines. Everyone seems to be in costume, and there’s a gentleman standing to the far right who may be a director. The greenery around the building entrance is mostly dead which would make it fall or winter. My great-great grandmother came from Cornwall, so it’s likely this was from around that area. None of the people in the photo match any other photos in the album, so I doubt they’re related, but it’s still interesting, and my great-great grandmother saw it fit to include in the album so it has to be somewhat important. In fitting the theme, the seated gentleman in the fur coat is holding a wine glass and a pipe! If you happen to be able to identify what’s going on here, or where this may have been taken, please leave a comment!
Two photos of Great Grand Uncle Earl William Powis (b. 15 Oct 1896, Clearfield, PA – d. 26 Mar 1973, Polk, FL) and the ship he served on while in the Navy. Earl’s BIRLS Death File lists his service as between 14 May 1917 and 21 Aug 1919, pretty much just during World War I. I don’t have his complete service record, so I’m going off the photos which have pretty much helped tell me where he served. In the photo on the left, Earl is standing on the far left, with the watch cap. The back of the photo is on the bottom and says, “I was just going to the city when this was taken. And this is the way we work.” You can see some of the men have cigarettes, and there are even two guys with pipes, fitting us right into the theme. On the right is the USS Amphitrite which Earl labelled, “This is the ship I am on.” I can’t be 100% sure if the photo on the left was taken on the ship on the right, but it seems to be a pretty close match with the lines and rigging in the background. I found a bunch more photos of the ship and its history here
. From what I’ve found, the Amphitrite served as a training vessel at the Philadelphia Navy Yard where Earl was stationed in September of 1917 based off another photo which was actually labelled with a date and location. It’s possible he moved onto another vessel and the photo was taken at a later date, but there are no labels to be sure either way. Still, this is another photo I love and I’m so glad I can fit it into this week’s theme!