CROSS DRESSING and COUNTRY HIJINKS Iin RURAL VERMONT 1922 PHOTO ALBUM
This small photo album, measuring 6” x 4 ¾”, contains 37 photographs, in addition to its rather elaborate title page and a following page which lists a cast of characters. The title page announces “Mr & Mrs Frank Bruce presents [sic] Brookside ‘Daffydils’ [.] Place - Brookside Farm, South Newfane, Vt. Time - All Hours, Sept 2nd to Sept 16th, 1922.” What follows are about 10 photos which depict various plays or skits put on by the teenagers in the group. The actors, in most cases strictly female, stage a mock wedding, and pose for the camera wearing often humorous costumes. Photos in the following pages show life at Brookside Farm, and perhaps other, unidentified locations in the area.
A mouse, or perhaps just the ravages of time, have left a large patch of damage on the spine of the album. The corners of the album are worn, and several of the sewn-together pages in the middle of the album have come loose from the binding. 26 of the photos in the album measure roughly 4 9/16” x 2 ¾” (a few are slightly smaller), and take up a full page. Smaller sizes appear towards the back of the album, several on the order of 2 ¼” x 31/4”, mounted two to a page.
The most interesting photos, and sequences in the album show up in the front. There is an all-female mock wedding, costumed outdoor photos where characters either propose to each other or threaten to kill each other, and in another notable photo, a scene where “The Sheik” appears with “The Bride,” roles no doubt inspired by Rudolph Valentino and The Sheik, the famous movie that had premiered in 1921. In the photo, The Bride is wearing a white niqāb, which leaves only her eyes exposed and makes her look like a ghost. It’s quite an amusing photo.
Early on in the album, many of the photos have captions. One photo, showing seven of the young women sitting on the porch steps, some wearing costumes, is captioned: “Oh Death Where Is Thy Sting (note: not a man in sight).”Photographs that follow show farm life, a country auction (perhaps), family and togetherness.
This album presents a simpler life, a simpler time, and perhaps fun of a similar order, fun that doesn’t require fancy equipment and exotic locales. This writer finds it very appealing.