Children’s pageant in British Columbia

In 2011 I bought an album of family snapshots from British Columbia.  No one in the album is identified by last name, so I haven’t been able to identify the family.  Some of the photographs were taken during the years 1915-1917, according to handwritten annotations.  A girl named Hazel appears in many of them, so it may have been her album.

The photo above may document a Christmas pageant.  One member of the cast resembles Santa Claus, although it’s hard to be sure.  The most striking element may be the British and American flags flanking the stage.  If the pageant took place in 1917, the year the United States entered the First World War, the flags would have served as symbols of the military alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States.  Canada, as a British Dominion, had been in the war since 1914.

British Columbia album 2

British Columbia album 3

 

The album provides other glimpses into the life of children in British Columbia at this time.  We see them camping, fishing, canoeing, picnicking and even playing tennis.  It looks like a great place to grow up.  The last photo, labeled Mother, is the nicest portrait in the album.

 

 

38 thoughts on “Children’s pageant in British Columbia

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      1. I wish I could help! Albums like that often end up in second-hand shops. A historical society might be willing to take it if you don’t want it. Are the photos just portraits, or do they contain anything else of historical interest?

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      1. And there are still huge areas that are pristine forests and mountains. The history of the British Columbia was driven by the gold rush. There are many narratives that are hidden in the folds of history. If only photos could talk!!! What stories they would tell.

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  1. The variety of ages and facial expressions of the children is wonderful. It’s so strange, and yet lovely, to possess the photographic history of a family you never knew. By sharing it, you preserve their brief time on earth. I surmise that’s part of your purpose. 🙂

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    1. Yes, absolutely. We can look at old portraits and imagine the lives of the people in them. I’ve always thought of portraits as portals to the past. They transport us back in time, and also transport the people in them from the past to the present, so their stories are preserved, in a way.

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  2. So many thoughts about these photos!

    First: that would have to be an indoor stage for that to be a Christmas pageant of some kind, given how lightly dressed all of the girls are!

    The outdoors scenes are so interesting to me. In the first one, people fishing at a small lake, I see a hillside either recently clear cut or burned. Other photos show outdoor scenes I would think far more typical for that area, full of trees in the background. And yes, it’s a beautiful and magical area.

    I absolutely love the photo of “Mother” and the one before it, with her and the three girls (her daughters?) and young boy (her son?), fawning over kittens. Delightful.

    I have to believe there’s a family out there who would be thrilled to be reunited with these photos.

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    1. I wondered if these photos would be interesting to you, since you lived in Seattle for so long. I’ve visited Seattle and Olympic National Park, and driven along the coast of Washington and Oregon, but I’ve never been to southern British Columbia. I drove through the northern part of the province twice, on my way to and from Alaska. On one of those trips I spent two weeks in Dawson Creek while my transmission was being rebuilt. British Columbia is one place I’d love to return to!

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  3. I’m sure the first photo shows a Christmas pageant, given the angel wings among the girls, and what seem to be a few elves around Father Christmas. In any case, it’s a high-class production that’s far removed from our bathrobe and paper crown costumes when I was a kid!

    It looks like the youngsters were living a relatively charmed life. It’s a shame there’s not more information in the album. I’ve been doing a little photo sorting, and so many have absolutely no information: perhaps a date, or just a first name, and that’s it. Once the people who kept the photos are gone, there’s almost no way to figure out who was pictured. Still, this pageant, being the obvious product it was, surely is in another record somewhere. Is there a TinEye for historic photos? There should be!

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    1. I was wondering if there might be a mention of this pageant in a local newspaper. It might be worth spending some time looking. I could be wrong about the year and the meaning of the flags; they could represent nothing more than friendship between the two nations. Your suggestion to search online using the image was a good one. This morning I tried both TinEye and Google Image searches, but nothing came up. It was a long shot but still worth a try.

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  4. What a wonderful treasure trove! The portrait of Mother is really lovely. You can even see the back of her in the mirror. Beautiful detail and care taken. Looks like a magical place to be a child! Merry Christmas, Brad! ☺️🎄

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