The Scrapbook Belonging to Great Aunt Doris
What an album, what a treasure. This is my Great Aunt Doris’ photo album/scrapbook. In honor of the 100th episode of the Carnival of Genealogy, I offer you an album that is nearly 100 years old. Doris attended the Fenway School of Illustration in Boston during the ’teens. There are photos from home in Montana, the Blackfoot Indian tribe, and photos from New York, where she lived with her sister and brother in law (my grandparents).
I pulled out this photo album again recently (it’s the topic of Intervewing with Photo Albums, part 2, and I’m using it to make a little movie for you). I got stalled on some of the movie making because, well, there’s so much interesting stuff in it. So much. It’s huge. I can’t share it all. (I haven’t even scanned the whole thing.) But I can give you a sample.
Doris moved from Billings, Montana, to Boston Massachusetts to attend the Fenway School of Illustration. The early pages of her album show her in school, with her friends from school.
Note: click any image to enlarge.
The FSI medallion in the image above was, I guess, the Fenway School logo. When my mother and I talked over these photos, Mama didn’t know what, exactly F.S.I. stood for. The Fenway School of Art? Something? What’s with the I? Thanks to a recent bout of searching on Google, I learned that Fenway School stands for Fenway School of Illustration.
According to the Friends of Fenway Studio, the art school met in the Fenway Studio building.
Mama was enamored of her Aunt Doris—she was just the coolest aunt ever. See her there, in the middle of the photo spread, dressed in her western horse-woman clothes (complete with spurs and riding whip!), to pose for fellow artists as a model for drawing.
Can you imagine being a native of the East Coast and then your classmate comes to class to model dressed like that? Talk about a getting-to-know-you icebreaker of a conversation that must have started! What’s it like to grow up in the West?
The next spread shows a whole bunch of thought-bubbles of Doris and her friends. (some of the photos were taken in the west, especially the one on the center-right. Just look at the surrounding plants, there.)
We’ll revisit this next spread, below, (and the one that follows) when I finish putting together the movie that’ll be part 2 of the Interviewing using photo albums post. The images with the shadows are photographs of paintings by Doris, we think. (We: Mama and I.)
Above: See the circular photo toward the bottom right? That’s Doris, painting someone. Or something.
Below: Here’s Doris the Painter (pink smock), with some of her artwork.
More artwork samples (including horse sculptures, top right). More importantly, the tinted photo of Doris sitting outdoors, wearing her big 10-gallon hat while she paints, is one of my mother’s favorite photo of Doris.
Apparently, she lived at Brooke House. Or her friends did (or both). This might be from the year Doris was away at school before she was joined by her sister, my grandmother. They lived together when Doris attended FSI—Fenway School of Illustration and Flossie attended MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (If anyone has any info about the historic Brooke House in Boston, please let me know. Searches on Google result in something more modern and reconstructed. I’m confused by it.)
Heigh ho! Montana!
There’s an entire Montana section of the album. Here’s the horsiest bit of it.
Remember, the coloring that you see here is done by Doris. On the photographs. I scanned them in like that.
The type-written label here says Gray Hawk and Rusty Pete. Below the center image, notice the names of the two horses feeding: Pete & Repete.
Speaking of Pete, I am including another photo of Doris and Pete that I scanned and worked with earlier. It’s from another page in this album.
Here’s a retouched image from elsewhere in the album. It’s Doris and her horse, Rusty Pete. The caption on the back of this photo says, “Pete and I have the usual argument.” Now this photo is different from all the other color-tinted photographs here. I found it in the album as a black and white image. I retouched it and colorixed it. Not with paint and pigments, but with Photoshop. There was good precendent for that that. I hope that Doris would not mind.
That’s Doris, in the center (you saw her at the beginning of this post). I’m pretty sure that’s her on the right. On the left, not so much, even though the horse woman is standing. Unless Doris had a dark suntan.
Doris appears in several of these photographs below. She cut them out and composed and glued them on the album page. It looks as though the Doris in the lower left corner is directing some kind of horse-based performance by all the other Dorises and friends and Pete and other horses.
She was very talented and her sense of humor really comes through. I love “Pete and I have the usual argument.” You are so lucky to have such a treasure.
I never know what you’ll come up with, Susan, but you never disappoint. This is a terrific contribution to COG 100! I’m amazed, impressed, and envious of Doris’ photo album. The photos are terrific, her display of them is wonderful, and your narrative is perfect. Thank you so much, dear friend, for participating in COG 100. I’ve missed these great family stories of yours!
This is spectacular! I’m enamored of Aunt Doris, too. Thank you so much for sharing her.
Congrats on being nominated for Family Tree Magazine’s Top 40 Blogs.