Sunday, March 23, 2008

This Week's Photo - 24 March

My daughter found this photograph of a beautiful little girl in an antique store in Monroe, Washington. She was captivated by so tiny a little thing wearing pearls and brought her home for my collection. My daughter has a good eye, this is a wonderful photograph and I am equally captivated.

What we know from the photograph:

(1) The card measures 4 1/4 in. by 6 1/2 in. and is 0.034 in. thick. It has notched edges with gold embossing. The card stock's original color appears to have been buff or tan (matte finish) for the front and yellow (glossy finish) for the back.

(2) The photographer’s imprint on the front (recto) and back (verso) of the photograph lists the photographer as Rugg, 56 South 5th Street, Minneapolis.

(3) Handwritten in ink on the verso is Mary Irene Brunton Reynolds.

Card Analysis:

The card's measurements are consistent with a cabinet card. The thickness of the card stock indicates a time period of 1880 to 1900. The deckled edges indicate a time period after the mid-1800s. Edges were often covered with gilt after 1870. The use of different colors of card stock for the face and back of the mount indicates 1880 - 1890. Face of buff, matte-finished, with a back of creamy-yellow that is glossy indicates 1882 - 1888.

The card properties indicate a time period of the mid-1800s.

Photographer and Imprint Analysis:

How I wish every state historical society maintained a database of the photographers that operated within their state. It would be such a wonderful resource for collectors and family historians. Minnesota's Historical Society's has an excellent database.

The Minnesota Historical Society
, Photographer's Database - R lists the following information for Rugg:

Rugg, Arthur B.

Also Known As: Rugg, A. B.

Place of Birth: Lancaster, Massachusetts

Date of Birth: September 11,1853

Place of Death: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Date of Death: December 21, 1931

Gender: Male

Studio: Rugg Art Company

Minnesota Historical Society Photographer's Database - R

Dates of operation for Rugg at 56 South Fifth Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota are 1886-1892.

Conclusion: The photographer's information indicates a time period of 1886-1892. The period of operation is consistent with the card properties analysis of the mid-1800s.

Mary Irene Brunton Reynolds Analysis::

A surname search found the following information posted on, the Brunton Family Genealogy Forum, by Gary D. Carver (1/24/00) -
Seeking information on the descendants of Edward Samuel “Tige” Reynolds who was born in Oskaloosa, Mahaska County, Iowa on December 11, 1877. He died in Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon on April 26, 1931. He was a well known political cartoonist for several newspapers in the northwestern part of the United States including the “Portland Oregonian” and the “Tacoma Daily Ledger.” Tige Reynolds married Mary Irene Brunton, in Fresno, Fresno County, California on June 14, 1903. They had a son, Edward Brunton Reynolds and a daughter, Dorothy Lee Reynolds. Edward Brunton Reynolds died at Mercer Island, King County, Washington, on October 16, 1980. Edward Brunton Reynolds had a son, Stephen Reynolds and a daughter, Mary Jane (Reynolds) Taylor at the time of his death.
A seventeen year old Mary I. Brunton is found living in Fresno, California, in 1900 with her father Edwin and her mother Ella. The census lists Mary as having been born in Illinois in December 1882. Her siblings, Ethel (11 - b. 1889), Edwin (8) and Ruth (5) were all born in California. This indicates that the family moved to California sometime between 1882, when Mary was born in Illinois, and 1889 when Ethel was born in California.

Early photographs were taken to mark passages in a person's life. Mary's younger sister Ethel was born in California in 1889, so perhaps the photograph was taken when the family decided to make the move to California prior to 1889 as a memento for those family members who stayed behind. In the alternative it could have been taken if the family traveled to Minnesota for a visit in or around 1886, after having moved to California at an earlier date.

The photograph above was taken by Rugg and is of the Minneapolis
that Mary Brunton visited to have her portrait
taken in 1886.

January 4, 1919, The Centralia Daily Chronicle announced that "Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds have moved to Tacoma with their two children, Dorothy Lee and Edward, both of whom were born in Tacoma, and will make their home in Tacoma at 1115 North E street." Reynolds was returning to the Tacoma Daily Ledger as a political cartoonist.

Mary and Edward are found living in Tacoma with their children, Dorothy and Edward, in the 1920 census. Sharing their home is Mary's sister Billy Brunton, who is thirty years old at the time of this census. Mary's sister Ethel, of the 1900 census, would be approximately thirty or thirty-one years of age in the 1920 census. The Mary I. married to Edward Reynolds is consistent with the Mary I. Brunton of the 1900 census.

Mary and Edward's son Edward Brunton died in King County in 1980, this may explain the photograph being found in an antique store in Monroe.

Conclusion: The little girl in the photograph looks approximately four or five years old. If this is the Mary Irene Brunton of the 1900 census who was born in December 1882, the date of the photograph would be 1886. This is consistent with the card stock analysis and the years of operation analysis for the Rugg Studios.

The limited information found for Mary Irene Brunton Reynolds is consistent with the time period of the card and imprint analysis. The little girl in the photograph may be the Mary Irene Brunton married to Edward (Tige) Samuel Reynolds. Further research is necessary, but this is an excellent start.

This analysis demonstrates how a photograph alone can provide many clues as to a family or collector's mystery.

A step by step photograph analysis will be posted at Shades Of The Departed as a series.



Severa, Joan. Dressed for the Photographer. Kent: Kent State University, 1995.

Darrah, William C. Cartes de Visite in 19th Century Photography. Gettysburg: Darrah, 1981.


1900 U.S. census, Fresno County, California, population schedule, Fresno City, p. 312, dwelling 48 , family 73, Edwin Brunton (Head); digital images. Heritage Quest ( : retrieved 15 March 2008); citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 85.

1920 U.S. census, Pierce County, Washington, population schedule, Lemons Beach, p. 218, dwelling 59 , family 60, Edward S. Reynolds (Head); digital images. Heritage Quest ( : retrieved 15 March 2008); citing NARA microfilm publication
T625, roll 1935.


Unknown, "Tige Reynolds Joins Ledger Staff, "
Centralia Daily Chronicle, 4 January 1919. Online archives. : 2008.


Reynolds, Mary Irene (Brunton). Photograph. ca. 1886. Digital image. Privately held by the footnoteMaven, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Preston, Washington. 2007

Minneapolis 1886, Courtesy of Minneapolis Public Library, Minneapolis Photo Collection, M0074.
( : retrieved 15 March 2008).


Blogger Nikki - Notes of Life said...

Somebody has gone to the trouble of writing the little girl's name on the back of the photo (something that few people do, as you know). I wonder how it found it's way to an antique store. I'd be mortified if a relative gave away family photos, especially one who can be identified.

A brilliant analysis. Thanks for sharing :)

March 24, 2008 at 2:50 PM  
Blogger Lidian said...

This is absolutely fantastic - you are an amazing detective and writer. I loved reading it!

March 24, 2008 at 3:44 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...


Maybe by saving this photo and posting the information a member of her family will find her.

There is only one known photograph of my GGGrandfather Campbell. Every day I say a little prayer that someone will find it and do our family a good turn.


March 24, 2008 at 3:57 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...


Thank you for the high praise. Coming from you that means a great deal to me.

Wish I had access to Ancestry, then I could have done more research. One day perhaps.


March 24, 2008 at 3:59 PM  
Blogger LReynolds said...

Hello, my name is Linda Reynolds, wife of Stephen Edward Reynolds who is the son of Edward "Tige" Brunton Reynolds and Winona Dodson Reynolds. Our daughter Krista Reynolds, was playing on the internet and occasionally inputs family names to see what might pop up. Today was quite a suprise. All family photos were lost when Winona "Nonie" took ill and a distant relative came to the home and took anything of value. A very sad event as Steve is left with no family photos. Living in the Seattle area, you may recognize the name Steve Reynolds from Unlimited Hydroplane racing. He was the driver of several boats including the Circus Circus, 7-11 and Cellular One. Steve was injured in a racing accident in Madison Indiana in 1986. The writing on the photo is that of Winona. She kept very accurate records. If there would be any opportunity to recove this one family photo from you I would be very grateful. Did you only recover this one photo or might there be more? Is there a way to contact you via eMail? I signed up for this blog in order to contact you, but am not familuar with how it all works. Looking forward to the possibility of recovering some of Steve's heritage!

April 30, 2008 at 12:11 PM  
Blogger Sherry - Family Tree Writer said...

Maven, this is an awesome story! You have blessed us by writing this, and the family immeasurably by doing this story.

I don't believe in 'accidents' much, and I do believe in genealogy angels.

Bless you!

March 5, 2010 at 11:33 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home