Posted by: newenglandarchivist | July 21, 2015

The Lure of Unidentified Photographs

A new exhibit has just opened at The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston entitled, “Unfinished Stories: Snapshots from the Peter J. Cohen Collection.” What’s interesting about the exhibit is these are amateur photos collected by Peter J. Cohen that span more than a century. These are lost, tossed and unidentified photographs and yet remain of interest to so many. The lure of old photos is one I understand. I find myself looking at the faces or where the pictures were taken, drawn in by the old vehicles and old buildings as I wonder about the people and events in the scene.

Just recently, I have been working on the oversized group of photographs, creating secure housing for them and identifying them. One small group has eluded identification, beyond the fact that they are pictures taken to commemorate a school graduation during a particular year. I am almost certain they were taken in Massachusetts, but so far cannot pin them down to a school or community. And so I offer them to you, to enjoy and to wonder as I have who these girls were and where Life might have taken them in the years after these images were developed.

These images below are from Graduating Classes between 1896 and 1914, all of them unknown schools. All can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Class of 1896

Class of 1896

Class of 1896

Class of 1896

Class of 1896

Class of 1896

Class of 1896

Class of 1896

Class of 1896

Class of 1896

Class of 1897

Class of 1897

Class of 1898

Class of 1898

Class of 1899

Class of 1899

Class of 1900

Class of 1900

Class of 1901

Class of 1901

Class of 1902

Class of 1902

Class of 1914

Class of 1914

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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