// current face


a shades of the departed special birthday edition: ladies in glasses

Many of my ancestresses suffered from poor eyesight, but only a few of them were ever bold (or perhaps desperate) enough to wear their glasses for the camera.

The Bold: Ella Holzmann Brown (1882-1971) with daughter Rona and granddaughter Dione

  My great-great grandmother Ella was a very fashionable lady and a very strong-willed one.  It’s likely she didn’t need glasses until she was middle-aged (her side of the family is not generally a near-sighted one), which is when these very classy rimless frames start showing up in photographs.

The Desperate: Ethel Kalisch Hoffer (seated, 2nd from right) with the rest of the Temple Beth Israel (York, Pennsylvania) confirmation class of 1932

Unlike Ella, my grandmother Ethel needed to wear glasses nearly all her life (her side of the family is, unfortunately, a sometimes very near-sighted one) and made the move to contact lenses as soon as she could get them. Clearly, her confirmation in 1932 was before that date and she just really needed to be able to see.  In all of her high school yearbook photos that I’ve seen, she managed to sneak her glasses off before the shutter fired, but obviously not this time.

I wouldn’t have noticed about either of these foremothers wearing or not wearing glasses if it hadn’t been for another excellent lady who wears glasses: the footnoteMaven.  fM, as she is known to her friends, is the founder of Shades of the Departed, one of the most well-written, researched and loved genealogy blogs out there, and she is also the publisher of Shades of the Departed Magazine, where I was fortunate to be a regular columnist.  fM’s skill with words, research chops and passion for photographs are obvious to anyone who has ever read her work, and her generosity, supportiveness and general awesomeness are readily apparent to all who’ve been lucky enough to meet her.

Happy birthday, footnoteMaven!  I hope the coming year brings happiness, health and lots of ladies wearing glasses!

Top two photographs from the author’s collection; third image: footonoteMaven. “Earth Day – Birthday Graphic.” footnoteMaven, 22 April 2009. www.footnotemaven.com/2009/04/earth-day-birthday.html : 2012.
Visit the blogs linked below to read more about the lady in the birthday tiara!

CreativeGene, by Jasia

The Educated Genealogist, by Sheri Fenley

For Your Family Story, by Caroline Pointer

Geneablogie, by Craig Manson

Healing Brush, by Janine Smith

Shades: Birthday Edition — A Teacup Throne at Moultrie Creek, by Denise Olson

What’s Past is Prologue, by Donna Pointkouski

The Family Curator, by Denise Levenick


5 Responses to “a shades of the departed special birthday edition: ladies in glasses”

  1. It’s true. I wouldn’t pay nearly as much attention to women wearing glasses in old photos if it weren’t for footnoteMaven. She’s influential like that. Does Klout measure that kind of influence? LOL.


    Posted by Caroline Pointer | April 22, 2012, 9:49 am
  2. A great tribute!

    Posted by Craig Manson | April 22, 2012, 11:07 am
  3. Love “the Bold” women wearing glasses in your photos. You are so right about learning from fM, she is one smart lady!

    Posted by Denise Levenick | April 23, 2012, 8:45 am
  4. I’m pretty sure that the girl sitting next to Mom, in the front row, is her lifelong friend Babs.

    Posted by helene | February 26, 2013, 7:08 pm

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