Monday, May 14, 2018

Some Stories, We'll Never Know

It was graduation weekend around my home this past weekend. We made the mistake of driving down the road past the main entrance to my alma mater, just when all the newest graduates and their families were driving away from the campus celebrations. The resulting traffic reminded me of the festive occasion we had participated in, only a few years previous, when our own daughter graduated from that same university.

Most graduates are rightly proud of their accomplishments, including in their commemoration of that event their graduation photographs. This is evidently a time-honored tradition, judging from the photograph I found last winter among those forsaken specimens I located in a northern California antique shop. Just as graduates-to-be enclose their cap-and-gown photos in invitations to their ceremony this year, students have been doing the same for generations, apparently.

Something inside me keeps hoping some insignia on the cap and gown of the woman in this old photograph will provide at least a clue as to which educational institution she had once attended. I guess I just hate to see old photographs not claimed by family. But in the case of graduation pictures, they couldjust like those of this year's graduateshave been distributed far and wide by proud parents and their family members. Whoever this mystery person was, she likely attended schoolor perhaps taught in onein or near Washington, D.C., for the photo's imprint reveals that it was taken at the National Portrait Studio at 1107 F Street NW in that city.


  1. Is that “MC” on her cap? Something College? I have never seen such a cap. I know it was not Madison College because that name came much later than the time of this photo.

    1. I thought that was a curious detail, too, Wendy. Not to mention--the gown is far more ornate than what we expect graduates to don for their ceremonies now. I keep thinking these details should be good for clues to lead us to an answer, but can't seem to make them talk loud enough for us to hear.

  2. Do you think it is a graduation gown? I think it is a gown/dress 1895. I bet she was a teacher. I wonder if MC were her initials. What was allowed on that part of the hat back then? :)


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