Monday, October 28, 2013

A Lesson in Searching a Photo for Clues as to its Date

The above photo of the Poore family provides a lesson in how to find clues in a photo as to its date.

First the identifications. From left on the front row, Clarice Poore (1932-2013), Ezra A. Poore (1882-1963) and Billy R. Poore (1930-1966). Back row from left, Niola Geiger Poore (1889-1983), Bernice Poore (1912-1974), Ralph E. Poore (1918-1976) and Dick A. Poore (1922-1988).

Not pictured is Ezra's and Niola's oldest daughter Selma Poore (1910-2003). In 1931, she had married Richmond Chet Hosey and during World War II they lived in Mobile.

Now for the date clues. The first clue is the corporal stripes on Ralph's shirt sleeve. According to his military records, Ralph was promoted to corporal on April 3, 1942. So the photo had to have been taken after that date.

The second clue comes from the fact that Dick isn't wearing a uniform. According to his military records, Dick was inducted in to the Army on Oct. 19 and entered active service at Camp Shelby on Nov. 2.

So this photo had to have been taken between April 3 and Nov. 2 in 1942. Given the short-sleeve, light clothing on the children and the leaves on the tree in the background, the photo was probably taken in late spring or early summer. Since there were no written clues, that is pretty close dating just from the checking the contents of the photo against known facts.

According to the 1940 census, the Poore family was living on Bush Dairy Road in Jones County, Mississippi. Ezra, Ralph and Dick had all worked at Bush Dairy. So the probable location of the photo is at the Poore house on Bush Dairy Road.

Have you searched your undated photos for possible clues as to when they were taken?

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