Friday, December 2, 2016

Friday's Faces from the Past: Kindergarten Twins, circa 1924

This school photo was taken more than 90 years ago, when the Schwartz twins (my mother Daisy and her sister Dorothy) were in kindergarten. Since the twins were born in 1919, I estimate the date of the photo to be 1924. Mom (1919-1981) and Auntie (1919-2001) would have been 97 years old this month.

Although I don't know which twin was which, it's easy to spot them sitting side by side in the center, with the Buster Brown hairdo so obviously popular at the time.

How did the photographer get these youngsters to sit still long enough to capture the image so clearly? Maybe that's why the kids aren't smiling!*


As the photo indicates, the twins went to school at P.S. 62 on Fox Street in the Bronx. This elementary school was across the street from the apartment building at 651 Fox Street where the family lived (and where the twins were born, at home).

I'm posting a fragment of the 1920 Census, showing the twins (age 0/12) and their older brother "Fredie" (age 7) with their parents, Theodore Schwartz and Hermina Farkas Schwartz, at that address.

With a magnifying glass and a little imagination, this Census confirmed what I already knew--that my Grandpa Teddy was born in Ungvar, Hungary and my Grandma Minnie was born in Bereg (now Berehovo), Hungary.

The Census-taker wrote the town names in parentheses under "place of birth" for all immigrants on that page...later the town names were crossed out but still visible.

By checking the original rather than relying on a transcription, I could see the birthplaces for myself. Faces and places from the past!

*Actually, the kids aren't smiling because the convention of smiling in a photographic portrait was only coming into favor around this time, as Time explains.

2 comments:

Wendy said...

My mother had that same hairdo about 10 years later, so it must have been a classic. It's funny that we are returning to the "do not smile" policy for legal things like drivers licenses and passports (in some areas, at least), to make facial recognition software more accurate.

Marian B. Wood said...

Yes, I think that hairdo was a real classic of "early" 20th century, Wendy. I also saw it on a photo of my mother's first cousin, circa 1922. Not sure I'm smiling about "do not smile" making a comeback, but in family photos it's a must!