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 we have a lovely cabinet card of seven similarly aged young men and women. Presumably, they are from or near Uniontown, Pennsylvania, as the photographer marketing on the front suggests.
Usually with these types of group photographs I assume the subjects are family members. In this case my first impression is that they were siblings. That they seemed all to be the same or very close in age led me to reconsider.
The back of this photographic is unique, in my experience, because it has a "copyrighted" date listed as 1889 in the lower left corner. We can assume that the photo was taken around this time.
Also, if you look closely on the far right it says "friends in Uniontown 1889 or 88" written in pencil. My guess is this was written much later. So, it seems likely that this was a group of friends, perhaps even classmates.
I searched for information on "Kough and Leeper" and very little showed up. I did find some other images online with the same or similar photograph paper, but I didn't find any information specific to this "Photographic Art Studio".
I found a couple early 20th century references to an O.C. Kough who was a photographer in Uniontown, PA.
Here was short newspaper mention of an O.C. Kough who took a group photograph worth mentioning in the paper. It was in the June 5, 1908 Daily News Standard in Uniontown, PA.
This one was from a 1912 volume of Bulletin of Photography: A Weekly Magazine Devoted to the Interests of Professional Photographers.
That would be a tragic accident for anyone. But for a photographer to lose his sight seems an especially cruel fate.
Finally, to give you a sense of the times when the this photo was taken, here is an advertisement for men's clothing on the front page of the March 21, 1889 Uniontown Evening Standard.
As you reflect on this Pic of the Week consider the following:
- Who are the young men and women in this photograph?
- If not their names, what are their relations (siblings, classmates, friends)?
- Why can't I find anything about "Kough and Leeper Photographic Art Studio"?
- What is it like for a photographer to lose his eyesight?
- What were these young men and women thinking and feeling at the time of this photograph?
- Is there a meaning to the two woman on the right holding their left hands behind their backs?
- What do you think, wonder, and feel as you look at the the faces of those in the photo?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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