Monday, February 3, 2014

Mystery Monday: Photographed at Sol Young Studios in NYC

A handful of photos in my "unknown" box were taken in Sol Young Studios--no names, no dates.

None of these New York City studios is on the Lower East Side, where many immigrants lived (including most of my ancestors).

However, thanks to the well-researched blog Photo-Sleuth, written by Brett Payne, I learned that Solomon Young had these studios during the 1910-1920 era, which helps me date the photos to that period.*

 First up are two ladies (one with the umbrella and one without) who might be mother and daughter.

They are standing in front of the exact same bookshelf backdrop and are posed in similar ways. Both are wearing huge, eye-catching fashion hats. I wonder whether the hats belonged to the photographer?

At immediate left is another lady photographed against the same bookshelf backdrop. No hat, different clothing. Is she related to the hat ladies?

At right and below left are two ladies with chairs in Sol Young's studio. Both are wearing fairly elaborate clothing and both display rings.

No hats, lots of hair. 
Possibly they're related to each other?

'Tis a mystery. Philly Cuz suspects the photo at left is of my grandma, Hermina Farkas. She has a good eye for faces, so she could very well be correct!

For comparison, see Hermina's 1909 portrait below, taken at the Beldegreen studios in NYC, for the Kossuth Society anniversary. Still, the lady at left might not be my grandma, not just because of the eyebrows but also the clothing--grandma made her own, and the dress at left seems more complicated than her usual home-made attire.

* Brett looked at these photos and believes they're from 1910 or possibly earlier. I have a total of 8 Sol Young portraits in my "unknowns" box and have scanned them for Brett. One, of a child, was taken when Sol Young had expanded to 18 studios in New York city and state, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Philadelphia.


  1. Hi Cuz - could these be Farkas relatives? Farkas sisters or cousins? The one on the very bottom especially looks like Hermina to me - seems to have a similar hairstyle to the photos of Minnie in the pics of her from 1909 & 1910 that you have on Ancestry. Very fun to see these beautiful photos! Love, Philly Cuz

    1. Hi Philly Cuz, I'll ask my Farkas folks to take another look. Usually the family used Beldegreen as their photographer. But you have a very good eye for faces, and thanks for the hint! Love, Cuz M

  2. HI. I just found a box of photos from a studio. In the box are many many glass plate negatives, photos, studio receipts, studio vendor orders, militarily discharge, etc. Basically it's everything from persons professional studio business from 1890 - 1950. Includes Sol Young Studio, Bloomingdales Brothers Studio, etc. Is there value here?

    1. Sorry, I don't know anything about the monetary value, because my interest is genealogical. Good luck! And thanks for reading.

  3. I would like to post my great grandmother's photo from this studio in 1910. How do I post?