The photograph shown here serves as Passed Time's nod to our sixteenth president on his 207th birthday. Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809-April 14, 1865) has been impersonated by many in the years since his assassination. Of those, Daniel Day Lewis' portrayal of Lincoln in the film, Lincoln is probably one of the best known representations.
Regarding film portrayals of Lincoln, one blogger states the earliest movie about Lincoln was made in 1911 (she also suggests more in-depth research might uncover earlier movies).* According to the International Movie Database 327 movies have been made which include Lincoln as a character. Given their celebrity status, film actors are fairly easy to research. Finding historical impersonators who impersonated historical figures proves a trickier proposition for no impersonator data base exists. At least, I do not know of any such database.
Ben Chapin was the earliest known Lincoln impersonator. In the 1880's when he began his trade he evoked "revulsion from Lincoln's son Robert and awe from Mark Twain."** Others upheld the tradition and acted as Lincoln for plays, film, school events, and historical reenactments. As far as this photograph is concerned the only clues about who this impersonator and "Daddy Ford"might have been come from the photo and the box in which it was found.
I promised sometime last year that I would continue to picture the photographs found in the box with the Morrow family photographs.* I offer this group as a start. With the exception of the Morrow photographs, the rest in the box are either poorly labeled or completely unidentified. All of the photographs were randomly tossed into the box, making it difficult to find relationships between the photos. I have found, however, based on photograph size, type, aging, and a similar curl, that these photographs might belong to one another. The only exception is the above photograph, but I believe her to be the same woman in other pictures from this group.
Do You Recognize Me?
For those following my Passed Time blog, In Their Own Words, you may have seen my recent addition about the Morrow Family of Smithton, Pennsylvania (Link). If so, you know that I found the five labeled Morrow family photographs in a box with about fifty unidentified photographs. The box was purchased in Dover, Delaware, where one of the Morrow family members lived. I am going to try to feed the unidentified photographs out on PT, in case there is a connection between the photographs. It would be a shame for that connection to be lost.
For those following my Passed Time blog, In Their Own Words, you know I am incredibly, painstakingly, slow. The little Nanuet autograph book has taken me over three months to post and I've barely grazed the surface. Please know this is not some devious, twisted scheme to drive readers crazy. Nor is it some ploy to ensure you have to come back regularly (even though honesty makes me admit to pleasure at the thought of you returning). Rather, my slowness can be attributed to, well, life. I will try my best to post them occassionally in the "Do You Recognize Me?" category.
The photos of "Pigtails to Beautiful" are not the first unidentified images from the "Morrow box" to make their way onto Passed Time. The Klapper cabinet card of the performing artist was also from this box. In fact, there are about six other Klapper (New York photographer) cabinet cards in the box which will be posted to PT. The subject in "Pigtails," however, is from a later period than the subjects in the Klapper cabinet cards.
These are the clues from the box that might help identify the subject of "Pigtails to Beautiful."* The first clue is the box was found in Dover, Delaware. The Morrow family photographs are also clues. Is she a descendant? Another prospective hint is a series of snapshots of a young family in about the 1940's. They include a picture of a man named "Don." One of the snapshots denotes Don at Rehoboth Beach in Delaware, and another of Don shows him in uniform. Does this woman fit with that family, perhaps? The last clue are the numbers on the one snapshot "1481" and "54." They do not mean anything to me, but perhaps someone else knows what they represent (a school picture, perhaps?).
Overall, the photos were haphazardly tossed into the box and stored. At first, I didn't even catch that these three photos belonged together. On my fifth pass through the box in an attempt to find order, it suddenly dawned on me that these three photos were of the same woman in various stages of life--from pigtails to beautiful. If anyone knows anything, please share. It would be a shame for these photos to remain anonynous. Best, Pat Earnest Dover, Delaware, 16 September 2015
*Pat, isn't she beautiful in pigtails? Absolutely. However, the one snapshot captured that lovely awkward stage most of us have endured and I didn't want to refer to her as "anonymous subject."
This 1910 photograph actually has a key penciled in on the back, giving some names. Unfortunately, it did not photograph well enough to upload and some of the names are difficult to make out, I will add those at a later date. Until then, maybe somebody recognizes this group?
The photograph is from the studio of Gilbert and Bacon, 1030 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. William Frank Bacon (1846-1900) was a second generation photographer who first began learning the craft during the American Civil War. C.M. Gilbert retired from the company in 1886, leaving it in Bacon's capable hands. Bacon developed Bright's disease in the 1890's and gradually turned the studio over to his son, Frank Bacon. For more about the Gilbert and Bacon Studio, check out Broadway Photographs.
Author Pat Earnest, currently lives in Dover, Delaware, with family, both two- and four-footed. I am a published author and history enthusiast, who has great regard for the past and is especially proud of the Pennsylvania German culture. In addition to Passed Time, I am currently working on a project for the German Historical Institutes Immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business Biographies (http://www.ghi-dc.org). I also contribute to various newsletters and I am working on another book...or two. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions, comments, information, a shared love of history, an idea, or just because you want to share on Passed Time, but are too shy about getting started. But be aware, Files with Attachments will not be opened, but immediately deleted.
Note: This is an update to a previously posted article. I am still having difficulty finding the identity of both the players and their team. The initials on the football and the one kid's sweater read "C.M." Searching Philadelphia's schools and football teams seemed the logical way to identify the photo's subjects, especially considering the photograph was taken in Philadelphia. No luck. I found pictures of old Jersey's to try to find the elusive C.M. No go.
Perhaps they were a subsidiary of a school, for instance, the University of Pennsylvania's Medical College? Uh-uh. I read a dissertation. No, I am not kidding. While doing the individual searches I came across a dissertation written by W. Curtis Miner in 1989. In Level Playing Fields: The Democratization of Amateur Sport in Pennsylvania, Miner provides a well-rounded, early history of football. I highly recommend it as a read but, there was no mention of C.M.
This photo was purchased in a box lot in the vicinity of Allentown, Pennsylvania. There are no identifying markers. Courtesy of : Private Collection.