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Anonymous Ohio woman daguerreotype, 1850s

 I came across this photo on Reddit that was taken in the 1850s of a beautiful but unknown woman: When I initially looked at this image, I was immediately struck by how  modern  this lady looks, in spite of her clothing and hairstyle. So much so that I was at first convinced that this was a contemporary photo of a woman in costume doctored to make it look old. But it is legit -- taken by  James Presley Ball , a free black photographer based in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Something about the woman's face just doesn't look typical of what you usually see in daguerreotypes and photographs from this era. It almost looks like she's wearing modern makeup. Maybe she did cheat and darken her eyebrows and put some color on her lips -- pretty daring if so. She looks lively and intelligent, someone I would probably have liked to talk to. And the dress is gorgeous! The person who posted this, screen named ColorizeMan , colorized the photo himself: As cool as apps that colorize black and white
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Menu Monday: New Rockingham at Narragansett Pier, RI, July 4, 1900

This weekend I wanted to feature an Independence Day menu, and because the holiday falls on Sunday this year, I'm posting it today instead of tomorrow (Monday) I love the New York Public Library's collection (which is where this and almost all of my other featured menus come from), but I do wish they had an option to search by exact date. Thankfully I managed to find one anyway, for the New Rockingham at the Rockingham Hotel in Narragansett, Rhode Island. The  Rockingham Hotel  neighbored The Towers , a casino in Narragansett, Rhode Island, dating back to the 1880s. The casino rivaled the Newport Casino in popularity with the wealthy of New York and Philadelphia until it burned down on September 12, 1900, just a couple of months after this menu's date.  Although the fire ended the days of the Pier being a watering hole of the wealthy, the area continues to attract visitors to this day.  So if you were at the Rockingham Hotel on July 4, 1900, what would you have been able to

Menu Monday: Kearsarge House, August 9, 1873

 I absolutely love the New York City Public Library's historical menu collection , which is where I have so far found all of the menus I have featured here on Mondays; they just ask that if you reproduce their menus that you credit and link back to them, which I would happily do even if they didn't request it -- this is a wonderful site containing menus dating all the way back from the 1850s to the early 2000s. Obviously, we focus here on those of the 1800s and early 1900s.  This week we're visiting the 1870s (curiously, the only menu NYPL has in their collection from that decade), and my mother's family's old stomping grounds of New Hampshire. You may remember that we featured The Profile House in a previous entry. Today we're going to Kearsarge House in North Conway, New Hampshire, in eastern Carroll County near the Maine border.  Kearsarge House was originally Kearsarge Tavern, owned by Samuel W. Thompson since 1861. But with the arrival of the Eastern Rail

History in "reel" time

 Many history lovers like me pine for the "good old days" (which can be basically any time previous to our own), and lament how many aspects of our society and culture have degraded. But one thing that I do love about living in the 21st century is our technology. Today, we can really have the best of both worlds -- if we want to adopt vintage dress and decor and lifestyle, we can do so... while still enjoying conveniences like climate control, modern medicine, and the internet. Take YouTube and other video sharing sites like Rumble and Dailymotion, which allow us to watch videos of literally anything we want on demand.  Of course there are thousands and thousands of channels geared towards history, and several that specifically dedicate themselves to video footage of the past, often in high quality color. The people who take the many hours of time and effort to restore and make available these snippets of history in reel time (see what I did there?) are awesome and deserve bi

Menu Monday: R.M.S Berengaria, November 22, 1926

 I'm fascinated by old ships, so I jumped at the opportunity to feature a menu from one that I had previously never heard of: The R.M.S. Berengaria . The only things I knew about it right away was that 1) it was a British ship (R.M.S. stands "Royal Mailing Ship") and 2) it was owned by Cunard, because of the "ia" ending. Cunard ships ended with "ia" (e.g., Lusitania, Mauritania ) and the ships of their main rival White Star Line ended with "ic" (e.g.,  Titanic, Atlantic ).  Berengaria began life as SS Impersonator , built in 1912 for the Hamburg American line. When the First World War broke out in August of 1914, she was not used for service but basically left in Hamburg to fall into disrepair. After the war ended in November of 1918, the ship was taken over by the Allies to be used to transport troops home.  In September of 1919, Impersonator was transferred to the British Shipping Controller and would now operate under Cunard. The new cap

Four generations

So I came across this photo randomly on Pinterest and it piqued my curiosity -- there was no description, nothing in the photo to indicate who these people were or where this was taken. But from the hair and fashion, I'd say it was taken around 1910 and it clearly looks like four generations of women: great-grandmother, grandmother, mother, and daughter. If this was 1910-ish, great-grandma was probably born around 1840, grandma was born about the early 1860s, mom was born in the mid 1880s, and the daughter was born circa 1907.  I love how they all look so much alike, right down to the same crooked mouth. 

Ancestry DNA match answers a long-wondered question

 One day when my mother Shirley Howes was in middle school, her teacher introduced a new student: "Class, this is Joan Howes." My mom was instantly curious and approached the new girl at lunch -- and it turns out that Joan was her first cousin, the daughter of her father's twin brother. Mom said she was a nice girl, but they didn't stay in touch. This was probably because my mother's parents had divorced when she was about ten (unusual for the 1940s), and mom was pretty much estranged from her father and his side of the family thereafter. So last night I was looking at my DNA matches to me on Ancestry. Ancestry now gives users the ability to group our matches and identify specific relationships -- so I was going through my close matches, identifying what side of my family they're related on and picking one of the suggested specific relationships if I knew them. Usually Ancestry was spot on with their list of possible relationships, ranging from most likely one