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The Glass Plate Negatives - part 5

This post is part of a series. If you missed the earlier posts, you may want to go here to begin reading.

As Paul Holbrook developed and posted more images online, I collected clues. I wondered if it would be possible to identify the family in the plate glass negatives. I love this next picture. It is an earlier photo of the children with the mother in front of their home. It reveals a lot about the family.

Here is what I have gathered:

1) There are most likely three children. An older daughter, a son and a younger daughter. Given the ages in this photo, and my guess that the children here are the same we see in other pictures in the collection at a later date, the oldest daughter is several years older than her brother. The boy and his younger sister may be two to three years apart.

2) The father is absent, but I suspect he is the photographer or away with work etc. The family looks well off and given the state of their home and the way they dress, I do not feel the woman is widowed, raising the children on her own. Without any further evidence to the contrary, I believe it is possible that I am looking for a family of five.

3) The glass negatives came from the Bronx. However, that doesn't mean the family is from the Bronx. But it seems like a good place to start. I am inclined to believe the family is from a large city/town and want to begin searching in the Bronx. I am convinced they lived in an established city/town in the Northeastern region of the US for the following reasons:

a. the houses are close together. This indicates a city.

b. the house is on an established street. Notice the curb in the image below.

c. the family is near a veterinarian and a bakery or restaurant. Again, if we are convinced that this would be in the very early 1900's, it would not be a small village but a bustling town or city... like New York, Philadelphia, Boston.

d. the trees and plants visible in the images indicate the nothern part of the US, and most likely not the Western or Southern regions of the US.

e. notice the abundant and thriving climbing plant below. It indicates years of growth. This is not a new house, so again, an established city/town that was settled before late 1800's.

5) Given the Queen Anne style of the house (notice architecture, doors, wood siding, two-tone paint etc), it seems safe to say the house was built in the latter part of the 19th century. Double block homes also became popular in the mid to late 1800's as a way to save money for tenants and make money for landlords.

More clues will appear in my next blog post with some pictures of the interior of the home. Stay tuned!

Go here to read the next post.


All pictures in this post are courtesy of Paul Holbrook. Used with permission.


163 views4 comments


Thank you Lucy!


Mesmerizing to say the least. Thank you


Thank you Paul! And thank you so much for sharing the pictures with me and my readers.


You're making the display and mystery of these glass negatives more interesting than I was able to within the limited space of Facebook! It was an experience for me and I'm glad to see you're presenting this adventure so well.

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