Capi Lynn writes:
Val Springer rediscovered the box in her garage not long ago. Inside were five large photo albums.You can find more images and clues in the article. What is most interesting here are the bikes.
She intended to track down the family whose lives are chronicled on the pages, but didn’t know where to begin and never got around to it.
So she asked for my help.
I’ve had success reuniting people with family keepsakes — some 1930s letters between a father and daughter, a World War II service flag with the names of three brothers handwritten on it, and a World War II veteran’s wallet with precious family snapshots inside.
These albums deserve a home, too.
Two of the images they reproduce show bikes identified as circa 1897. They both show a woman, and even though she has a skirt, she appears to have a bike with a top tube, not a step-through. In one of them a man on her left does have a step-through.
Is this evidence of a moment before frame geometry was gendered? Is this evidence that the family or group didn't ride the bikes and instead were using them as props to show a kind of up-to-dateness? Bikes were expensive at this time, and still represented advanced transportation technology.
|(click to enlarge for detail)|
Are two of these in the photo below?
|(detail of a photo of a photo on an angle in an album)|
If these are the same two people, they've switched bikes
|"The Scorcher" sheet music - step-through|
by George Rosey, via Johns Hopkins Library
|Cosmopolitan, August 1895 with step-through|
(more conveniently extracted here)
Hopefully also there will be a happy ending to the mystery of the albums' ownership.
There was a happy ending! They were returned to a family in Ohio, one of whose grandparents were the ones with the bikes. (The story wasn't clear about the location for the pictures, whether they were taken in Ohio or were taken in Oregon and the family later moved to Ohio.)
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