past faces


botanical gardens, ice cream, and family photos.
rebeccafm has written 77 posts for a sense of face

charlotte, 1912

A few months ago, I found two job wanted ads that my great-grandmother Charlotte placed in the New York Herald in 1910. I only found two ads for consecutive weeks in May, and so I assumed that she must have found an ideal situation and had no need to keep advertising. It turns out I … Continue reading

charlotte, 1910

In 1910, my great-grandmother placed these job wanted ads in the New York Herald.  I could only find two of them — for consecutive weeks in May — and I am taking that as evidence she found the position she was looking for.  In both of the ads, she says that she is experienced, and … Continue reading

park-view inn, ca 1909

I have only been to the Jersey Shore once, and far from being a place full of MTV-worthy personalities, it was sort of like a slice out of the past — or at least out of a summertime world very different from the one of my California childhood. It is unremarkable and normal for east … Continue reading

honeymoon in south america, 1919/2011

ethel, 1918

It was my grandmother’s 93rd birthday yesterday. Ethel Kalisch Hoffer (1918-1991)

hans and rosalia, 1905

Last week, I spent a lot of time scanning old family photographs, and wanted to cry when I reached the photographs of my great-uncle Hans as a baby, because they made me think about his mother. Hans had no idea that the woman who raised him wasn’t his biological mother until he reached adulthood, because … Continue reading

daniel and fanny, ca 1927

My great-great-grandparents Daniel and Fanny got married, at least in part, because Fanny’s twin sister was a good cook. I’ve written about this story before, but to refresh your memory, Fanny was apparently very bad in the kitchen, while her twin sister, whose name I don’t know, was considerably more gifted culinarily-speaking. When prospective suitor … Continue reading

gus and charlotte, 1912

A grandson of the couple above recently sent me this photograph, which is surely one taken to commemorate their marriage. Though it may be hard to see on the computer screen, her left hand, with an engagement ring on it, is carefully posed under her chin. His left hand with its wedding band is carefully … Continue reading

max and annie, 1904

My great-grandparents, like good Jews, got engaged on Christmas Day, 1904. I don’t know how long they knew each other before this event, but the story goes that Annie, my great-grandmother, was sitting on the porch of the relative she was visiting in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, when Max, my great-grandfather drove by. He caught a glimpse … Continue reading

rona, 1927

I recently got engaged and have been thinking of somethings old that I could borrow from my ancestors for my own wedding. My great-grandmother Rona’s amazing veil and headpiece did not immediately spring to mind, though they would be quite spectacular, though much less dramatic on me, since I am at least 6 or 7 … Continue reading