I wrote this post about wanting to meet Maureen Taylor of Photo Detective fame and show her the portraits I’ve acquired. Yesterday I had an opportunity to photograph the portraits – since they are way too large to scan – and look them over a little more. I had to experiment a little because each time I used a flash, it would create a glare on the picture. Thinking I might need to have my photographer daughter set up her studio lights & take pictures just so I can have better quality digital shots. I don’t want to expose these fragile pieces to harsh lights any more than I should though.
This is a crayon/charcoal rendering of my 2nd great-grandmother, Malissa (Goul) Blazer. The portrait is at least 16×20. There aren’t any artist’s marks or other identifying features. I think the drawing was made from a photograph rather than at a sitting.
This is another large rendering of my great-grandmother, Katie (Blazer) Johnson. She is young and it is my thought that she wasn’t married yet. Below is a photo that shows Katie about the same age – quite probably the photo that the drawing was made from. The “smudge” on the lower corner of the picture appears to be an artist’s mark – except it really is just a smudge of some sort.
This portrait of the Johnson family (below) appears to be an enlargement of a regular photograph. It was very difficult to photograph. Whatever material or chemical process was used, made areas of it too shiny to capture correctly. This picture is poster sized. The original photograph would have been made between 1906-1908. I don’t know what year the enlargement would have been made.
This is the only picture I have of my maternal great-grandparents’ (Katie and John Johnson) family that included both my grandfather (younger boy), Glen Johnson, and his older brother, Letis. In fact, this was the first picture I saw of my great-uncle.
Above is my other maternal great-grandfather, Joseph N. Wilt. Written on the back of this 16×20 is my great-grandmother’s name (Martha Wilt) and her address. There are also indications on how much brown, gray and black to use on the drawing. All indications to me that they were still married at the time – which would have been before 1909.
Below are other renderings that were packed with those above. Some of these people are still a mystery to me.
This is actually a photograph (above) that is 16×20. My mother seemed to think this was my grandfather’s baby sister, Mary, before she died. Others seem to think it is a little boy – not a little girl. When I look at this picture, I see resemblences to other member of my family in the eyes and mouth.
My mother told me the child above is her brother, Glen, as a baby. I have no reason to believe otherwise. This is a drawing – slightly smaller than 16×20.
The drawing above is of an unknown woman. My mother told me she thought it was a sister of my 2nd great-grandmother, Malissa. I’m more inclined to believe it is my great-grandmother’s sister, Rachel (Blazer) Given. I’ve seen pictures of her other sister, Martha “Mattie”, and this isn’t her.
My grandfather, Glen Johnson (baby) and his older brother, Letis, with the family dogs.
This is another photograph that has been enlarged. It is of my grandfather, Glen Johnson, at Shadyside Park, close to his home in Madison County, Indiana. Again this was very hard to photograph due to the materials or chemical used in the process. The size is smaller than a 16×20.
My biggest challenge will be to figure out what to do with these rather large pictures. I don’t have enough wall space to have them framed and hung. Nor would I want them exposed to bright sunlight. I’ll gladly accept any recommendations and suggestions. Perhaps Maureen Taylor herself might give me some pointers!