Daily Archives: March 8, 2009

Who was the lady with the sad eyes?

She looks into your eyes across time — sad and far away, the lovely woman in the photograph.  She was no elegant lady of fashion.  Her beautiful bonnet would have been the acme of style in the 1840’s when she was married, but by the time she posed for the daguerreotypist in the 1850’s it was just a little too fussy and too large.  We know that she was a hard worker.  Her linens and printed gown are spotlessly clean and pressed.  She is not old, but there are already lines etched on her pretty face.  

bonnet32

So, who was she?  We will never know.  Almost certainly, she was a farmer’s wife from northern New York State, where her photograph surfaced a century and a half later. 

I wonder what family cast out her picture, consigning it to the flotsam and jetsam of the antique trade?  Obviously, there was no one left alive among her descendants who remembered her name.  -But did no one in the family resemble her?  Was an accruel of $50 more important then keeping her where she belonged?

It is an humbling thought.  We all feel so needed, so connected while we live, but who will keep our life and times alive, after we are gone?

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Filed under Archives, Material culture, Photography

The Royal Flying Corps in Canada

Bill Hunt’s Latest Book finally Gets Off the Ground

On Saturday, Dundurn Press and author, C.W. Hunt, formally launched “Dancing in the Sky” at a standing room only reception in Deseronto.  This long-awaited work deals with the early days of aviation in Canada, particularly with the role of the RAF in kick-starting what became the RCAF.  One of the most interesting stories in the book concerns the connection with Vernon and Irene Castle, the famous dance-instructors.  The book is almost a must for air and  military enthusiasts, but it is a good read for just about anybody who enjoys adventure, tragedy and a smattering of Canadian politics.

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Filed under History, Ontario