Thursday, August 12, 2021

When bad things happen to good photographs

The bad news: When Inda VanArsdale Post shipped this oversize photograph of the Chariton High School Class of 1896 from Florida back to her childhood home (and the Lucas County Historical Society) in 1967, the heavy card backing snapped, breaking the image into two pieces.

The good news --- the break occurred between subjects, so we're still able to see all 24 members of the class clearly. Because of the miracle of Photoshop, it would be a relatively simple matter to repair a scan of the image digitally were there a reason to do so.

But it's a lovely photo in its current battered condition --- taken by Clarence Rose at his Rose Studio. Clarence was a talented young man whose life would be claimed by tuberculosis three years later, during October of 1899. With the exception of one deer-in-the-headlights facial expression, everyone  appears to be relaxed, serene in their graduation finery.

This was the largest class to date graduated by Chariton High School, as reported in The Patriot of May 28, 1896: "The class of 1896, twenty-four in number, is the largest ever before graduated from the High school since its formal organization in 1878. The largest class preceding the present --- twenty-two in number --- was graduated in 1889. The total number of graduates of the High school since its establishment is one hundred and eighty-three. The first class, in 1878, were Susie Kubitshek, Lizzie Davidson, Jesse Waynick, Betty Burns, Harry Woodward and Lee Russell, six in all."

Inda identified members of the class of 1896 as follows (right click and open in a new window to enlarge): (First row from left) Gertie Baker, Louise Moore, Sylvia Douglass, Ethel Dorsey, Ila Myers and Nellie Hanlin; (second row) May McMasters, Mabel Dorsey, Bess Brant, Sue Copeland and Minnie Main; (third row) Anna Lyman, Myrtle Dungan, Maude Malone, Emily Rogers, Daisy Dent, Ferne Brown, Gem Coles and Laura Kull; (fourth row) James Treasure, Lloyd Penick, Delman Threlkeld, Clarence Dalin and Roy Gittinger.

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