Class of 1938: Where the Story Begins

Small houses can be a big problem when you go to awesome flea markets. Pat and I hit up the annual Madison-Bouckville Antique Week earlier this month, which boasts over 2,000 sellers (this does not appear to be an exaggeration as it took us three days to go through half of the venders). There's a lot to want, but very little room in our space to have. So I settled on a selection of vintage Philly postcards, a few old containers for storage, and my favorite find: two tin recipe boxes filled with old negatives.

I always get the same gut feeling when I find something special. So when I had that gut feeling about these negatives, I was nervous to ask: "What do you want for these two tins?" When the seller said, "Twenty bucks," in his Northern Mass accent I was sold without a haggle (not that I'm any good at haggling).

I had the foresight to ask the seller where he got the negatives: "An estate sale in Essex." But beyond that, all I know about the photos, the photographer, and the subjects is what I've learned from looking through and holding them up, one-by-one, to the light.

I'm unleashing my inner-sleuther, hoping that a mix of my novice investigating-skills and some crowdsourcing we can uncover those 5-W's and the H.

  • Who is the photographer? Who are the subjects?
  • What is the relationship of the subjects to the photographer?
  • Where were these photos taken? 
  • When were these photos taken?  1938! (More on how I know this in an upcoming post...)
  • Why were these photos taken?
  • How were these photos taken?

And most importantly, and this is where a lot of the crowdsourcing comes in, I'm hoping to reunite the subjects, or their loved ones, with these long ago forgotten moments in time.

So join me here and on Instagram (@Classof1938) as I slowly scan and share the hundreds of negatives in these two tins, and let's find the Class of 1938!