Eye on History: Ready to Ride

This image from the early part of the 20th century has the hallmarks of the Midwest frontier. The young woman tending the steed has a serious look of determination. Was she a ranch hand or a hard-working farm wife? We don’t know, since there are no notations on the front or back of the print.


Based on the collection from which this image comes, the setting could easily be in rural Waukesha County, Wisconsin, or in Washington, Wood or Portage counties. It demonstrates the tragedy of photographs with no identifying information on them. Without a name, year or location, we’re left to make educated guesses.

If you have a family photo archive and are blessed to have the aid of a senior relative, gather caption information for as many images as possible. In the case of this photo, the young lady does not resemble anyone else among more than 10,000 images in the archive. Facial-recognition software can sometimes help (if you have other photos of the person in your digital collection).

Without telltale clues in the image, photos like this are often relegated to the “nice but anonymous” or “unknown” categories. We have hundreds of them, so we’ll sample more in another post.

©2015 Treasured Lives


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