Monday, February 17, 2014

The Oldest Saltsman photograph

Some photos are just beyond any kind of complete restoration, but it's worth preserving what we've got nonetheless.

I think this is the oldest of the bunch. On the back it looks like Laverne wrote "Ala. Grandpa and family." 

For certain, the man seated is Louis Frederick Saltsman and the woman is his second wife, Mary Davis Saltsman. L.F. had four children by his first wife (Ida, James, Valerie, and Vauban) and Mary had Sam, Mattie, and Molly by her first husband. That's seven children but the genders don't match this photograph.

Dad wrote later on the back of the photo that the boy on the far left is John and the little boy between Freddy and Mary was Dan, the youngest. This doesn't add up to me, since Dan was born in 1895 and John in 1879 and there are not 16 years between those two boys. 

If that is John, this picture could be dated around 1890, with the older girls a mix of his half-sisters from L.F. and Mary. But the younger children after John were Hattie, Emma, Minnie, Foradice, Rubie, Horace, Debeggah, and Homer. With the exception of Foradice, whose middle name is also androgynous (Barker) the other Christian names are clearly girl, girl, girl, girl... which does not line up with the younger children in the photo, either. 
(Edited to add: Foradice was male. Thank you


It is most likely an Albumen print since the print is very yellowed and mounted on thick postcard, and 80% of all surviving prints today are thanks to this process.


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