Minnesota Reunion, 1921

Nevis, Minnesota, 1921

How I love people who annotate their photographs!  This one shows a family reunion in Nevis, Minnesota, in the northern part of the state. There is a long list of names on the back, including the Hayworths, Babbs, Ballards, Smiths, and one woman, Marie Knoedler, who doesn’t seem related to the others. Unfortunately the order of names does not match the line up on the front, so I can’t figure out who’s who.

Let’s look first at the three older women on the left, all in black or another very dark color.  The oldest looking woman on the far left looks the fanciest in her shiny dress. Next to her is another woman with a good dress on.  It has interesting details on the front, giving it almost a military look.  Military details were in style, inspired by the First World War.  The older woman in the middle, wearing an apron, appears to be in service at the event.  Perhaps that is her house in the background and she is in charge of the food.  The younger woman next to her is dressed in a similar way.

But the couple in the middle, in military garb, steals the show.  The handsome man wears a high necked uniform, a common style in World War One. The dark color indicates he might have been in the Navy.  She is also in a uniform of sorts. What kind, I wonder? Woman working for the war effort wore all kinds of uniforms, even those who didn’t leave American soil.  Given her jaunty pose at the wheel, I’m guessing she might have been some kind of driver. Her outfit, what we can see of it, looks similar to a Motor Corps Captain Uniform at the Smithsonian, although the hat doesn’t match.  The overseas uniform for the Salvation Army is another possibility.  (Scroll down the Smithsonian post to see the wide variety.)

So here is the scenario I’ve made up for this photo.  Marie Knoedler is the woman at the wheel, recently engaged to the handsome former soldier next to her.  They met during the war and have worn their uniforms to show them off to the family.  Everyone has come to celebrate this modern romance.  Isn’t it a good story?

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4 Responses to Minnesota Reunion, 1921

  1. lovely story – I often wonder about the ‘preamble’ to the taking of photos from this time as generally only a few would be taken on a day so is everyone – was everyone ’rounded’ up – did the photographer ‘direct’ people like the wedding photographers?
    The photograph does have a feeling of a celebration, and I like your backstory

  2. Bell Neice says:

    Is the young boy in the front wearing a kerchief of some type around his neck? Is it blowing in the breeze, or am I getting confused with all the other dark cloth around him?

  3. Black Tulip says:

    I love the dress with the military-style detailing, and your backstory.

  4. Lizzie says:

    It is a great story, especially since they all look so happy!

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