Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Unidentified Faces—Still Looking At Us

To think it was just last night: the webinar that would have so handily suited my purposes for today’s post. The Online Photo Editing Workshop, one of DearMyrtle’s webinars, would surely have provided me just the tools needed to spruce up yet another murky, aging photograph.

But, alas, I missed it. I was too occupied, sorting through the remnant’s of Agnes Tully Stevens’ papers to see what was left of the collection to write about today.

Some of the photos left behind are so degenerated that they are not even discernable anymore. Regardless, I’ve yielded to temptation to post some of them. But after today, no more!

Unfortunately, these faded likenesses in today’s picture come with no identification. Of course.

However, I have guesses.

On a postcard format, this picture features a man, a woman, and a young child. They appear to be inside a shop of some sort. Using the autofix feature on my Adobe Photoshop, the blurry cabinet that the subjects are standing behind seems to either contain sets of polished rocks, or—more likely—various candies and other sweet treats.

I am not so sure about the man, but the woman looks vaguely familiar. She seems to resemble one of the women in the Wrightsville Beach pictures I posted mid-summer.

Just to see if my eyes weren’t deceiving me, I decided to crop the beach photos and zero in on my suspected subject. It helps to check similarities that way, rather than flipping back and forth between pages.

Could it be that these two women are actually one and the same?

The man in the shop may have been in the beach pictures, too. At first, I had thought he was the gentleman belonging to the smiling woman with the baby, but that mother doesn’t as closely resemble this mother as does the woman I first mentioned. Perhaps another man in the beach set is the same as this shop picture’s gentleman.

And then I wonder…let my mind cause all sorts of unsubstantiated trouble. Could it be that the man in the shop is Agnes’ older brother William? After all, before 1912, he did work as a clerk in a cigar shop. Comparing this picture with a later one of William—at Agnes’ wedding in 1912, only three years before his death—there seems to be a similarity.

If this shop picture is of William Tully, then the woman at his side would be his wife, Mary Balfe Tully—a woman born and raised in Leeds County, Ontario, who married William in Chicago in 1901.

The child, then, would be their daughter, Agnes Margaret Tully, born in Chicago in 1904. We’ve already met her in another hopelessly blurry photograph as a young girl, but I have nothing else to help confirm that this is the right identity for the child in the shop photo.

At any rate, half a guess is probably better than none, and I can cling to the possibility that I now have a photograph of another branch of our Chicago-based extended Tully family. Or have originated a grave error that will be replicated for generations to come.


  1. Ah, it's questions like these that can keep you up all night, Jacqi. But it does seem a good idea to post them here, as others might be able offer their own observations and suggestions. I agree that the two women in the photos above seem to be one and the same, based on the shape of her eyes and lips, as well as her long neck. Don't you just love a good family mystery?

    1. Well, it didn't exactly keep me up all night, Linda, but after I posted this entry, I did wonder if I had been mistaken in my guesses. Those old beach pictures have another couple that might be a better match. The man here seems to look more like that other gentleman in the beach pictures--but he was the one with the smiling wife and baby. She just doesn't seem to match the woman in this postcard.

      See...even with a good night's sleep, I can still have misgivings!

      And you are right, I do love it anyhow!

  2. I think your guess is pretty good..I am sure not knowing for sure is hard. It is indeed a possibility! :)

  3. If you have some faded photos and email 'em to me, I might be able to "spruce 'em" up for you. I'm no wizard, but sometimes I get lucky with Photoshop (a product which on the whole, makes me feel like I have 3 thumbs and webbed at that...)

    The "long faced" woman at the beach might be this person - its hard to tell (she "filled out" a bit, if it is). I think I either see a shop sign in a window or a poster on the left - might have some clues.... :)

    1. I tried looking at that sign in the window, Iggy, but even blowing the photo up, I couldn't make out what it said. I guess that leaves me clueless about yet another clue!


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