The Psychogenealogist Pic of the Week (#49)

Every Friday The Psychogenealogist shares a "Pic of the Week." The intent is to encourage thought and imagination about the spaces where psychology, genealogy, and history converge.

This week's photo is a real stunner! Kristine Bartley is a loyal follow over at The Psychogenealogist Twitter Page. She responded to one of my tweets with this photo of her grandmother. I love everything about it. This is Ruth Ardis (Hanson) Steadman (1903-1989)

I call it "Camping Grandma".

Ruth (Hanson) Steadman (1903-1980) - "Camping Grandma"

Late 1940s or Early 1950s 

Here are some notes Kristine had about her grandmother :

This photo is sooooo her! Her big holiday was Christmas. She worked on Christmas decorations all year. I am the lucky recipient of her fabulous Christmas table cloth. It is covered in sequin and beaded bells that she sewed on by hand. Her great grandfather ran the ferry boat across the Nishnabotna River in Lewis, Iowa. He helped escaping slaves prior to the Civil War. Her genealogy goes back to the Mayflower. I’m thrilled that you want to include her in your wonderful Tweets.

Ruth grew up on 42nd street, In Des Moines, Iowa where her father had a drug store 1/2 block away. The store is still standing today. 

She married Carl Steadman and had two girls. Ruth and Carl were together for more than 50 years. Kristine said that her grandfather was an early adopter of travel trailers, as illustrated here in this photo. It was in a pack of other photos from a trip to California from their home in Iowa.

Ruth was a proud member of the P.E.O., which I learned is the Philanthropic Educational Organization. The organization's motto is "Women helping women reach for the stars." Hard to argue with a mission like that.

[Check out another Pic of the Week dealing with a similar organization for men, the Oddfellows]

This photo really captures the spirit of a woman that I would like to know. In the gorgeous light, an aproned Ruth stands confidently in the leafy woods. She is both rustic and refined as she prepares to pour the coffee.

I would love to sit down and have a cup with her. Wouldn't you?

Camping Grandma 2.jpg

Do you have an old photograph or a genealogical story that you would like to share? I am happy to consider guest submissions for possible Pic of the Week or other blog posts in the future. Send an email to for more information.

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