Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Thirza's Photograph Collection
In seeking to return abandoned photographs to family members who will cherish them, I try to pay attention to all the details clustered around that photograph. Any names or locations mentioned or indicated, of course, would be prime items to research, but in the case of Thirza—or Thiega—Cole, I not only have the clues from the back of her portrait, but a welcome cache of other pictures with at least her first name attached to them. I suspect what I have is a part of her collection of family photographs—which, for our purposes, is a good thing.
Today, I'd like to introduce the main characters from this collection, as best I can read their names from the various handwriting samples found on their pictures. Some of them are part of this collection for sure, guaranteed by the name "Thirza" added to the reverse of each picture. One, at least, is likely part of Thirza's family, though I can't tell for sure; the name is so common, and besides, her name isn't added to the back.
Only one of those photographs has a studio imprint affixed to the front. It happens to also be the picture with the name that I have the most difficulty reading. It's a baby picture taken in Greeley, Colorado by the photographer F. E. Baker. The name above the baby's head looks like Mildred Rigg.
Another baby picture, this one without any mention of a location or studio imprint, simply bears the name Louise, though there is a note on the reverse for Thirza.
Yet another photograph looks to be the oldest of the three. It's a faded image of a young man, with the handwritten name above his head reading Ralph Pollack.
The only thing the three of these photographs have in common is the fact that the name Thirza is handwritten on the back. At first, I hoped that these were three individuals related to our Thirza, but now that I've been thrashing around the Internet's vast array of genealogical records, I'm not finding any such connections.
I'll begin by introducing each photograph in turn, one each day, and noting any possibilities for subjects. Of course, if a link to Thirza manifests itself in this cursory review, I'll make note of that as well. Meanwhile, I have plenty of work to do to prepare the rest of the story about Thirza, herself. If I have the right person, she is turning out to have an interesting life, indeed.
Above: Inscription from the back of one of the baby photos I found at a northern California antique shop. This is the clearest handwriting of all those pictures which include that name, which in this case is clearly Thirza, not Thiega. This inscription was written on the back of a photograph from Greeley, Colorado; the front has the name Mildred Rigg written above the baby's head in a different hand.