At the Train Tracks, Mid-Century

CameraCar61Most of the photos I find are amateur family snapshots where it is sometimes hard to determine accurate color or details. This one, a color slide, is of an unusually high quality. I suspect that whoever took the picture had just as good a camera as the women posed here.

Written in pencil on the slide is “1961,” but I doubt the date. Unless these women were particularly uninterested in fashion—and all in the same way—the clothes really cry out “mid 1950s.” In fact, I found similar dresses and shoes in a reference book, Fashionable Clothing From the Sears Catalog, Mid-1950s.  The dresses, with their small floral prints, look like they could have come from the Sears collection “For the Gracious Lady,” designed specifically for the older set.

The other objects fit into the fifties time frame as well. My friend Sally, who turned the slide into a jpeg, mobilized her network of experts to determine the age of the car and the cameras. The small Kodak camera on the left was made from 1954 to 1957 and the larger German one in the middle was produced from 1929 to 1956. The car is a Studebaker President from the mid 1950s and looks pretty darn new to me.

I wish I knew the story behind this image. What were these women doing out in what looks like the middle of nowhere? Why do they have such high quality camera equipment with them? And who took the photo?

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4 Responses to At the Train Tracks, Mid-Century

  1. Those women could be my grandmothers! My grandmother had a camera like that with just that leather case. Even though the dresses and shoes don’t look like 1961, women of that age were thrifty back then, and didn’t buy as many new things, so it could be late 50s. As for the slides, my Dad was very much into that technology, and had one of those carousel projectors for his “slide shows.” The running joke in that era was that you wanted to avoid going to dinner party where you would have to look at someone’s vacation slides.

  2. Jen O says:

    I also remember mature ladies wearing similar dresses into the 60’s–especially with dresses that have little fullness in the skirt, much like these. I also think the date of the car could be from 5 years or more, but well cared for (they are probably retired and bought this just before they stopped working). Who are they? sisters? cousins? The front two are close enough to embrace for the photo, the younger sister is in back (wears wedding ring), so I guess her husband took the photo. The object of their photos may be behind the photographer–their old home? their old family business? maybe it is slated to be torn down and they wanted a final view (like so many Victorian era buildings that were demolished in the 60’s). It’s summer (no shadows), so at least we know they may have taken a trip to see this mystery place!

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