Group Photo

Vintage Photos of Groups

Seeing Washington

22 Jul 2013 5 5 1017
"Seeing Washington. No. 2. Starting point, Home Life Bldg., Cor. 15th & G. Sts., N.W., opposite U.S. Treasury."

Group Photo

23 Jan 2014 2 1 877
Although I purchased this photo in Pennsylvania, I don't have any information regarding its date or location. It's possible that it was taken at a family get-together or a church gathering, but it's difficult to tell whether the group is posing in front of a residence, meeting house, or another type of building. Some of the clothing--especially the women's head coverings--suggests the type of plain dress that is still characteristic of Amish, Mennonite, Brethren, and other religious groups in Pennsylvania. Mouse over the image to see additional notes.

Alpha Kappa Delta Fraternity, Pennsylvania State C…

10 Aug 2014 1 2 1133
A front porch photo for the Vintage Photos Theme Park. A group of 36 men and women assembled on and in front of the porch of a fraternity house. I found this photo at an antique mall in Pennsylvania, and judging by the "AKD" banner, the "State" pillow, and the "S[tate] 1910" pillow, this is probably the same men's social fraternity that William Raimond Baird described in Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities , 7th ed. (New York: College Fraternity Publishing, 1912), p. 572: "Alpha Kappa Delta--Organized May 4, 1909, at Pennsylvania State College [now Pennsylvania State University]. The membership is about 50. The badge is an oblong shield displaying the letters forming the society's name in the center in vertical order. The colors are orange and blue. It rents a house." Perhaps that's the house that the fraternity was renting. The AKD banner on the porch, interestingly enough, includes a skull and crossbones in its upper left-hand corner. And who are the young and middle-aged women in the photo? Girlfriends and chaperones? Students and profs? Today, Alpha Kappa Delta is the name of a sociology honor society founded in 1920. It would be interesting to know, however, what happened to this fraternity in the decade after this photo was taken.

Franklin and Marshall College Students, ca. 1910

10 Sep 2017 1 1 314
A teen attitude / teenagers in love photo for the Vintage Photos Theme Park. A photo from a college get-together sometime around 1910. The two pennants at top center are ones for "F. & M." ( Franklin and Marshall College , located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania) and "1910." The smaller pennant at top right is difficult to read (even in the original photo), but appears to be "Souvenir 1908." Franklin and Marshall College didn't admit women until 1969, so only the men would have been students. Everyone in the photo seems to be looking in a different direction. The guy and gal in the lower right-hand corner, however, seem to be looking intently at each other, and they appear to be young enough to be teenagers in love.

Mary Jane and Her Merry Melody Makers

13 Nov 2013 3 1203
Mary Jane and Her Merry Melody Makers gave performances in Pennsylvania and other states in the 1940s. One newspaper ad billed the group as "A big company of maiden musicians with a comedian who gets laughs" ( Gettysburg Times , Oct. 1, 1943), and another described the show as a "program of dances, acrobatics, marimbas, songs, and comedy" ( Reading Times , Aug. 16, 1946). For other photos of the group on Flickr, see Rita's Mary Jane & Merry Melody Makers and Colin Aitchison's Mary Jane & Her Merry Melody Makers 1930's .

The Charge of the Light Brigade

15 Sep 2013 4 1 967
A real photo postcard showing some funny fellows using a fake cannon in mock combat.

Annual Chapel Fight, University of Pennsylvania, 1…

28 Aug 2013 924
Posted to the Vintage Photos Theme Park on the way "back to school." For a close-up of the students in the middle of the crowd , mouse over the image above or select the thumbnail image below.. A real photo postcard showing the "Annual Chapel Fight, U. of P., September 24, 1915. Photo by Richards." The "Chapel Fight" (or "Chapel Rush") was one of a number of traditional male student competitions that took place at the University of Pennsylvania and many other American colleges and universities in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The competitions pitted one class against another, and similar annual events at Penn included a " Bowl Fight ," "Poster Fight," and " Push Ball Fight ." It's not obvious from the photo what the goal of the Chapel Fight on Friday, September 24, 1915, was. Some of the students at the center of the fray are wearing white undershirts and seem to be missing their hats, coats, and outer shirts, so perhaps tearing off clothes was one way to win the contest, as it apparently was in 1909 (see account quoted below). Also visible in the photograph are students wearing "beanies," hats that freshmen were required to wear. Students fought hard to defend the honor of their classes, and injuries resulted from some of the scraps. Student fights came to a tragic end at Penn when one student was killed and several were injured during the Bowl Fight of 1916 . The following account from The Scroll of Phi Delta Theta , vol. 34, no. 2 (Nov. 1909), p. 184, describes the Chapel Rush that took place at Penn in 1909. It also mentions the Poster Fight. "The university opened September 24, but no regular classes were held until September 27. Friday morning [October 1] immediately after chapel exercises, the annual Chapel Rush between the sophomores and freshmen took place. The freshmen won the first half of the fight, touching the door on the H[o]uston Club , which was guarded by the sophomores, in less time than any former class. The second half of the fight was in favor of the sophomores, the freshmen being successful in tearing the clothes off the president of the second year class in a limited time. On the Thursday night previous, the Poster Fight took place and the freshmen accomplished a victory contrary to precedent by tearing the sophomore poster off the rear door of College Hall."

Annual Chapel Fight, University of Pennsylvania, 1…

28 Aug 2013 697
See the full version of this real photo postcard for additional information.

Suvretta House Chefs, St. Moritz, Switzerland, 191…

28 Mar 2014 1 2 1034
Text of the sign that the two men at the front are holding: "Suvretta House Été 1919! [Suvretta House summer of 1919!]" (mouse over the image to see an enlargement of the sign ). A real photo postcard showing the chef staff of a luxury hotel, the Suvretta House, in St. Moritz, Switzerland, in 1919. The hotel celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012.

Suvretta House Chefs, St. Moritz, Switzerland, 191…

28 Mar 2014 764
For more information, see the full version of this real photo postcard:

The Ghosts of Picnics Past

11 Sep 2013 4 2 1059
A real photo postcard showing a picnic scene with a ghostly double exposure.

Group Portrait with Man Smoking

24 Jun 2013 6 1348
Posted for "Smoking" theme week in the Vintage Photos Theme Park group. The man in the middle of the photo is smoking, and I just hope he doesn't burst into flames! 8-) Actually, I suspect that this photo shows a group of teachers or chemists (notice the bottles of what may be chemicals on the shelves at the back of the room, and is that a periodic table chart hanging on the wall at right?) hamming it up for the camera in a school or workplace.

Katunka Tribe No. 453 Degree Team, York, Pa.

15 Jul 2013 3 2 1031
Posted to the Vintage Photos Theme Park group as a "strange clothing" photo. This real photo postcard shows a group of men who belonged to "Katunka Tribe No. 453," which was the York, Pa., chapter of the Improved Order of Red Men , or IORM for short. The York chapter no longer exists but the national group is still around (despite the fact that "Red Men" is now considered an offensive term for Native Americans) and calls itself " America's Oldest Fraternal Organization " on its Web site. When you realize that none of the men in this photo were Native Americans, it seems awfully strange--at least from our modern perspective nearly a century later--that they dressed in Native American garb (however inauthentic their interpretation of the clothing may have been) for their group ceremonies and rituals. In case you're interested in additional information, Blake Stough discussed the history and controversial aspects of the York IORM group in his article Politically Incorrect or Not--Still A Part of York County History on the Preserving York blog (the article included this photo with my permission).

Wheelbarrowing among the Rocks

Spirit Photo, Camp Silver Belle, Mountain Springs…

10 Oct 2013 5 2 1340
Something "mysterious" for the the Vintage Photos Theme Park . This photo was identified as a " spirit photograph " when I bought it at an antique co-op in 1994. Handwritten on the back of the photo is the following: "Camp Silver Bell, Mountain Springs Hotel, Ephrata, Pa." Camp Silver Belle was a Spiritualist group founded by Ethel Post-Parrish , a medium whose Indian spirit guide was named Silver Belle. The group held lectures and meetings at the Mountain Springs Hotel in Ephrata, Pa., and published a schedule of programs as late as 1976 (see Silver Belle Presents Lecturers, Teachers, World-Famous Psychics, 1976 ). Eventually, however, the group became inactive, and the hotel fell into disrepair. Today, the facade of the old hotel remains , but the rest of the hotel site was demolished in 2004 to make way for a Hampton Inn hotel and an Applebee's restaurant. So what is that strange haziness hovering above the audience? An ectoplasmic manifestation from another spiritual realm? Hokum conjured up by sleight of hand and camera? Or just an odd yet coincidental defect in the film or developing?

Women in Costumes

14 Oct 2013 2 702
Women dressed in costumes for a Halloween party or some other occasion.

Photographed on Board the RMS Queen Elizabeth

Braving the Whirlpool Rapids at Niagara Falls

21 Oct 2013 4 1 1091
What appears to be a photo of tourists bravely enduring the tumultuous waves of the whirlpool rapids in the gorge below Niagara Falls is actually a composite photo concocted in a photographer's studio. For an illustration showing how the photographer achieved this effect, see "How to Visit Niagara Falls Without Leaving Home," part of the American Museum of Photography's Montages, Multiples, and Mischief page. The Whirlpool Rapids Bridge (formerly known as the Lower Steel Arch Bridge) is visible in the background of the photo, and a second bridge, the Niagara Cantilever Bridge , is partially visible behind it.

189 items in total