Friday, September 9, 2011

Out For the Evening

Everyone—well, the women, at least—likes to dress up and go out for a special occasion. This photograph bears the label:

Uncle Sullivan + Aunt Jo
Grandmother’s sister + husband
+ dress she wore to lead Grand March of C. O. Forester
She was Chief Ranger for many years

As this photograph is from the collection of Edna Tully McCaughey, “Grandmother” once again refers to Mary Ann Sullivan, the widow of Samuel Swanton, who subsequently married Edward X. Ryan in Valparaiso, Indiana. In this Mary Ann’s family, she has both siblings and half-siblings living both in Ontario and the Chicago area.

The problem is that I am not able to locate a brother who married anyone with possible nickname, “Jo.” Nor can I find a sister who married someone named Sullivan. Further, the photograph was taken at the studio of Fein & Schnabel in Chicago—a fact which helps limit possibilities only slightly.

I do have some help from the transcribed diary of Edna Tully at a young age, which mentions an aunt and uncle who lived nearby, which I’ll need to recheck and see if details match.

As for the organization’s designation, I was aware of Foresters before, but the “C. O.” puzzles me. More research for the history buff in me, I suppose.

And yet, despite my limited ability to find out more about this couple, I certainly enjoy taking in the formality of the stance, the details of the outfits, the tilt of the head and the facial expressions. There is so much more I’d like to read between the lines on this portrait.


  1. C. O. Forester is one of the organizations - Canadian Order of Foresters or perhaps the Catholic Order of Foresters, both of which are mentioned here (

    Being some family was from Ontario... the Canadian one might be the one?

  2. If this is accurate - it might be of some help: (3i)

  3. I am thinking the organization was the WCOF, Women's Catholic Order of Foresters which was chartered in 1894, since SHE was Chief Ranger.

    The WOCF both originated and was based in Chicago, Illinois. If this is the case, you have a date to work with. Perhaps there are lists of "Chief Rangers" somewhere that might list, and show just who, Jo was...


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