The whole family in the yard

I bought this photograph from a neighbor when she had a yard sale.  I asked if she knew anything about it, and she replied that she had bought it many years earlier from another neighbor across the street.  That neighbor had had a shop nearby which sold old books and antiques.  We both agreed that the scene looked like a typical Vermont home.  Of course, it could be almost anywhere, but I like to imagine that the photo was taken somewhere just down the road.

Family - possibly Vermont 2
The dog is very alert!

Family - possibly Vermont 3

Family - possibly Vermont 4


This year, families everywhere are choosing not to gather together for the holidays.  I hope my American readers have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.  Stay well, everyone!

Family - possibly Vermont 5


43 thoughts on “The whole family in the yard

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  1. This is a very appealing photograph, the family all gathered in the side yard for to have their portrait taken. I don’t think it would have turned out as well if it had been done in a studio. I love the inclusion of the dog as just one of the family. Have a good Thanksgiving, Brad!

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  2. I have a yard photo like this of my paternal great-grandparents with their children and the spouses. No dog, unfortunately. From the stories I’ve heard, great-gram wouldn’t have stood for that! My crew didn’t have such fancy clothes, but they had the same impulse to record a gathering. There’s a lot familiar here; the house I grew up in had the same sort of shutters, and the expression on the face of this materfamilias is just like great-grandma’s.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the mother looks stern and no-nonsense, but not entirely humorless. Women in rural New England probably had a lot in common with women in rural Iowa at the beginning of the 20th century. Their lives would have been similar in many respects: farm work and housework from dawn til dusk, children and animals to care for, and occasional social events in the community or at church. How wonderful that you have a family photo like this one!


  3. Fascinating, demonstrating yet again why photographs of the pre-instant social media era give a more plausible impression of relationships, real or aspirational – who is enjoying touching whom – it’s still an act – but the actors had more time to prepare and select how they wanted the moment to be immortalized. Your blog is historical reality theatre, evidence not ephemera – and much appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your comments are so perceptive and true, Pippa. By the way, I’ve been meaning to write to you and tell you that I recognized you in Fleabag! And I didn’t know you were in it! I was like, “Hey, that’s Pippa on the train!” So then I had to look at your professional website to confirm it. 🙂


  4. I love the contrast between the more serious, stiff back row persons and the front, more relaxed people. The wonderful dog seems like a bridge between the two, probably beloved by all. Their eyes also stand out, so individual, so expressive. I wonder if they were posed by the photographer. In any event and by any standard, a very handsome family.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hesitated to share this photo because I wasn’t sure if people would find it interesting. The more time I spent with it, though, the more the family grew on me. The parents, especially, have interesting and expressive faces. I wonder who the photographer was. It’s a professional image, but someone in the family could have trained as a photographer. Rural states also had itinerant photographers, who would sometimes come to people’s houses. Happy Thanksgiving, Mary Jo!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Such a lovely gathering. I can smell the inviting scents coming from the kitchen and hear happy music in the background. It brings me great joy and a sense of ease, thank you. Happy Thanksgiving, Brad! ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Given how dressed up everyone is, this was certainly an occasion of some kind. You can be sure there was a lot of food in the kitchen! 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed the photo, Suzanne. I knew everyone would like the dog, but I wasn’t sure if the rest of the image would resonate. I hope you and your family–including the four-legged members 🐶–have a very happy Thanksgiving!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What I find fascinating about this photo is trying to figure out who is a couple, and who are perhaps just brother and sister. Everyone is touching or hanging onto someone else, but there doesn’t seem to be any reciprocity in those poses. Two women are leaning on the man in the middle, yet he touches neither of them. The man to the right is touching the woman leaning on the main middle guy, with no return gesture. The woman in the back row is reaching to touch that guy, but he looks uncomfortable with this. I wonder if the photographer just posed them that way. Only the dog looks like he’s having a good time. It’s a great photo that could keep me entertained for hours making up stories about the people involved. Excellent find!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Great observations, Alisen! To me, the physical contact and lack of reciprocity both seem like indicators of a family group, rather than a group of friends. If I were having a picture taken with a female friend, I wouldn’t touch her unless I knew her well enough to believe she’d be comfortable with that. Similarly, if one of us touched the other but the other didn’t reciprocate, that would send a negative signal and might cause hurt feelings or embarrassment. Family members generally don’t have to worry about such things.

      Thank you for sharing your impressions! I enjoyed hearing them. Brad

      Liked by 1 person

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