Friday, March 2, 2012

A Pictorial Family History

Last time I visited my grandma, I asked her if she had any pictures of my great-grandma wearing her grey polka-dot dress - the famed one that I'm trying to reproduce. I'm not sure if this is true in all families, but in our family, photography seems to have been a male thing (except for my great-aunt, who actually learned to be a photographer before she married a doctor and started working in his practice). So it was mostly my dad and grandfathers who took the pictures, and somehow, they all ended up with my dad, who, for reasons I'm not quite clear about, refuses to let me have a look at them, or, god forbid, take a couple. (I'm talking of my real dad here, not my mom's partner.) He's a bit of a strange one, sometimes...

Anyway (and sorry for starting a ramble), my grandma took out her two shoeboxes of photographs, and while we didn't find any of my great-grandma in her dress, we found an astonishing number of pictures from the mid-50s, when my grandma and her sisters were young, and even a couple of my great-grandma, when she was a young girl.
my great-grandma (left)about 65 years later
I'm always a bit astonished and delighted when I see how certain looks and features run in the family. I looked very similar to my grandma, when I was a kid. Also, look at the fantastic hairstyle my great-aunt wears below! That must have been near the end of the 50s, I think.
my grandma (left) and her sistersmy great-aunt/grandma's sister

Most of the pictures of my grandma were actually taken by one of her boyfriends. The really romantic story is how they got to be in her posession, because they both got married to other people, but over 40 years later, after both had been widowed, they met again and started a relationship.
He must have been qute the catch, he played the guitar and had a motorbike!
He definitely wore a leather jacket well! :) There are some really lovely couple-shots, and some great portraits of my grandma.
Look at the great pockets in that wool skirt, and the lovely jacket! I really like the contrast buttons, too. :)
And my grandma wearing trousers. They look a bit like Colette's Clovers, don't they? Look at the cute bow-blouse, too!
I love the "young teacher" look, too. And then there's short hair, a dirndl skirt and some silliness with another young man...
This one is from a dancing class graduation ball. I think my grandma isn't in the picture, but the girl next to the boy with the bowtie is her younger sister. Also, look at all those dresses! The later pictures include my mom an aunt as little kids.
Little polka-dot dresses! My mom is the one on the right. And look at those ridiculous captain's hats! *g* This must have been in the mid-60s...
Those dresses are really cute, with the double buttons and wonderful pockets! The woman is my great-grandma.
I think those coordinating dresses my grandma and great-grandma are wearing are fantastic! Although the color photography really still had some way to go...
This is my favorite picture of my grandma, I think. I love the dress and the sunglasses, and it's a great setting!

So, yes. A family history in pictures. I hope I didn't overwhelm you with all of those. I really love them, though, and I'm glad that my grandma inherited them from her boyfriend.

Do you have any old pictures of you parents or grandparents?

26 comments:

  1. I was just about to post some pictures from our family "archive" and you have beaten me to it!
    I love looking at old photos and yours have wonderful examples of hairstyles and clothes.These are really important to keep and you must write down all you know about the people on them.
    Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Beautiful photos! I think the energy and vitality of your relatives really shows through. Thanks for sharing them! So much sartorial inspiration too ;)

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  3. Beautiful pictures! It's a treasure to find old photos. I haven´t grandparents, I only have a grandmother but she is very sick, therefore, I like so much to see old photos of them, to remember how I loved them.
    They were wearing beautiful dresses! But the best thing is the hairstyle! Imposible these days! Ha, ha, ha...
    Thanks for sharing your family pictures with us!

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  4. These are so wonderful, thank you so much for sharing! How nostalgic! I particularly love the story of your grandmother and an ex-boyfriend getting back together again after many years...how lovely!

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  5. They're such great pictures, thanks for sharing. I love old family photos, doesn't matter who's family they are so long as there's a story!

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  6. WOW ! this is nice blog and gorgeous photography. I like it thanks for sharing this blog , Nice family .....
    Stockfoto

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  7. I LOVE this family fashion history! And your grandma has serious style - brilliant! :) x

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  8. These are some fantastic pictures. Isn't it wonderful how we can preserve a bit of our past through photos like these? I have a few of my family as well, and it is almost magical to start looking at them and thinking about their lives. Happy memories to you! I hope you find the polka dot dress in a picture sometime.

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  9. I love your photos, how wonderful to have them. Your grandma in the pants photos looks like she was having a great day. You can see her personality coming out. I bet she was a funny. Thank you for sharing.

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  10. great photos I enjoyed looking at them. What fab style they had. I have a few old photos in digital format.Plus a dvd of my grandparents' home movies which shows how stylish my grandma was - never seen without lipstick on. She would despair of me. I have tried and failed to take images from the dvd to share!

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  11. Alessa these are amazing - you're luck to have them! Sadly I've moved so much and to such far away places that I don’t have access to my own pictorial family history. Maybe next time I go home I'll have to have a sit down with my own grandma so that I can bring some photos back with me :)

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  12. Oh, I love the wool skirt with the slanty pockets! Super cute!

    My great grandma passed away this summer and I got to take home some of her old family pictures! I have gobs from the 40s and 50s. And I found out I looked just like my grandma as a kid. (And here I always thought my looks took after the other side of the family!)

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  13. What wonderful photos! And what's even more wonderful is that your grandmother is still around to tell you who is who in the photos. I inherited many old photos when my father died, and most of them were ones he got from his father. Unfortunately, I don't know who many of the people are in the really old ones - some are from the late 20's and early 30's and it's difficult to identify anyone, since most of those family members are now gone. Your great-aunt's hairdo looks a lot like my mother's hair from her engagement photo in 1966, though I think my mom must have had less hair because it's not nearly as puffy.

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  14. oh they are brilliant! Family history can sometimes be a dodgie subject! I love the fact that your grandmother has such a romantic story! You can see the family resemblance in some of the photos. Thanks for sharing.

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  15. What wonderful photos!! You definitely look like your great-grandma! What a stunner!! :)

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  16. I love that photography and photos were really a special occasion back then, and I'm fascinated with the styles and fashions on real people! Thank you for sharing

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  17. This is so nice, Alessa, thanks for sharing. You have some great stylish people in your family, it´s so nice to see pics like that! :-)

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  18. Das sind tolle Bilder. Der Rock mit der Tasche ist ja der Knaller. Sehr schick. Sowas brauche ich auch.
    Danke fürs Zeigen!

    Liebe Grüße
    Maria

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  19. I have just posted some family pics for you to see, Alessa. !

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  20. I love this! I see a resemblance between you and Ms. Beehive hairdo. There is so much of the times in these family photographs that isn't captured in fashion photography.

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  21. I love love love these. I saw this post a few days ago and have been meaning to tell you. I think it's wonderful to trace our history through photos AND to have real women representing vintage fashion (rather than the Hollywood depictions who don't have bodies like you or I!) And look, polka dots run in the family ;)

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  22. These photos are absolutely wonderful, thanks so much for putting them here! I can see a strong resemblance between your grandma and you, too! How cute that a love for polka dots runs in the family too.... and I loved that your grandma got back together with her old boyfriend. They made such a handsome couple!

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  23. I LOVED looking through those pictures. And the little tidbits that go along with them. Thanks so much for posting them.

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  24. Gorgeous !!!!!!!!!!!!
    This is so beautiful blog and nice photographs ,thanks for sharing these photography blog .Nice family history.
    Photography Melbourne

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  25. These photos are so beautiful.really a interesting story of a family history.all the family members are very stylish.
    Professional Photographer Melbourne

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  26. Don't you just love how photographs tell stories? Through photos, we get to witness our ancestors' lifestyle. We see how they used to dress up and how simple life was back then. Even the evolution of hairstyles is seen on these photos. LOL! =)

    Isabelle Galindo

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