Old-Time Photography

Old-Time Photography

Have you ever had an old-time portrait made with your family or friends? Do you know that they have been making them for over a century?


Cousins Playing Poker


My Mom brought me this unique photo that was taken about a century ago in Southwest Iowa. If I had to put a title on it I would have to call it “Cousins Playing Poker.”

I was surprised that they made a staged Old-Time photo at that time. They must have had a lot of fun posing for the picture. The picture is actually on a post card, although this one had not been mailed. I did find it interesting that the right side of the picture was not cropped. However, it adds a nice visual to show that this was a staged picture.

Now to the participants in the picture. My Great Grandmother Lottie Cochran Van Duzor is standing on the left. Sitting next to her is her brother, Lorenzo Dow Cochran and then my Great Grandfather Charles (Chub) Van Duzor. Her brother Earl Cochran is the young man standing in the middle. Sitting on the right are Harve and Fred Ramsey who are cousins of Lottie, and then standing on the right is her sister Georgia.

I don’t have an exact date for the picture, but I can narrow down the date since I know the birth years of all the participants. The one whose age helps in dating the picture the most is Earl, since he is the youngest of the cousins. Earl was born in 1894. My Great Grandfather was the oldest and was born in 1880. The rest are in a narrow range of 1886-1890. Also, Lottie and Chub were married in 1908. My guess is that Earl was about 15-18 in this picture, and that the picture may have been taken soon after Lottie and Chub were married. Maybe sometime around 1909-10? Maybe if I can find marriage dates for some of the other cousins I will be able to narrow the date down further.


Lottie, Dow and Chub

I clipped another piece out of the picture that has my great grandparents in it. Above Lottie you can see the lamp shade, but you can tell that it is part of the backdrop, and not an actual lamp. I also look at the picture of my Great Grandfather and I can see my Father in his face.

I love this picture, it is an interesting look into the personal life of my ancestors.


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7 Responses to Old-Time Photography

  1. I had an old-time portrait taken with my husband in Jaipur, India this year. A man in an alley beckoned us over and at first we said no, thinking it was a hoax – that he’s put a modern camera inside the wooden box and was just trying to make some money from the tourists. But it was real! And I’m so happy when I see it – we have very solemn expressions on our faces, just like all those photos I’ve seen. I love it.

    So great that you have this wonderful family history!

  2. Boomdeeadda says:

    I would have not noticed that broom back there, good eye. I have only one picture of my great grandfather. Someone took it at my Great Grandmothers funeral. They were Ukrainian immigrants and very very poor. Came to Canada in 1899 and got a free homestead thru the Railway. In the photo, my Great Grandfather looks so very weary and worn, it makes me sad but mostly grateful at the same time. Grateful for their tenancity to come to Canada and that someone took the picture on that day. Lucky you to have this awesome photo. I love that it’s staged, it must have been a lark.

  3. Pingback: Old-Time Photography II | Braman's Wanderings

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  6. Pingback: Old-Time Photography V | Braman's Wanderings

  7. Pingback: Old-Time Photography VI | Braman's Wanderings

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