Thursday, September 29, 2011

Last of the Mystery Men

Three more gentlemen posed for their portraits in Chicago studios and then gave a copy of their likeness to the family of Edna Tully McCaughey, leaving me to puzzle over their identity. Potential suitors? Friends of the family? Though one of the photographs even includes a clue as to possible name, nary a trace of data provides me with connections.

Though I’m vaguely haunted with a sense that I’ve seen this face in other family settings, I have no solid evidence for the identity of this first gentleman. He was a patron of the Morrison studio at the Haymarket Theater on 161 West Madison Street. Could he have been a friend of any of the young ladies who, with Edna as a teenager, frequented Chicago theaters? She had noted in her diary about some of the young men serving as ushers.

The next photograph, portraying a somewhat older gentleman and done by the Lindner studio, may also have been of a family acquaintance—though I can barely restrain myself from connecting the dots and playing family matchmaker here. I think he vaguely resembles the little nameless girl in the plaid dress, and I want to presume he is her father. Then again—and here I am once again handicapped by my lack of skill in identifying period costume details—this man’s collar is somewhat reminiscent of the clerical collars worn nowadays by some priests; perhaps he is a father of a different type.

The last picture in this series of unidentified men has a tantalizing wisp of a hint with a handwritten name on the back. I presume it was a note written by the photographer, von Dieck, to help file pictures in their proper locations.

The hurried handwriting makes the note look like “Ms. O’Keefe,” but I know that “Ms.” is a totally improbable title usage in that time period. Since I’ve also seen handwriting of that time period seem to form “r” as if it were an “s,” I’ll consider the obvious and take that label to be “Mr. O’Keefe.”

But where does that lead me? Nowhere! I have no genealogical record of any Tully family member marrying into the O’Keefe line in Chicago. Nor can I find any in the usual research places. Tantalizingly enough, I did discover that the founder of a current-day business known as Tully’s Coffee is named Tom O’Keefe—Tom Tully O’Keefe, to be exact. However, for some strange reason, his middle name is there as a nod to his mother’s Greek heritage, according to a Seattle Times article.

So much for Irish connections.

1 comment:

  1. Interestingly enough, there are a few O'Keefes listed in FindaGrave, buried in Mt. Olivet Catholic Cemetery, including a Margaret.


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