Who is this?Published 11:00pm Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Unidentified photos prompt museum to ask for public’s help
As vice president of the Pioneer Museum of Alabama board of directors, Max Holmes has a strong sense of local history and a desire to preserve it. But standing in his way is a box of more than 200 photographs.
“For the most part, we don’t know who the people are, where the photos were taken or when,” Holmes said. “For the photographs to have historical significance, we need to know. An unidentified photograph is just a picture.”
And right now, Holmes has a big box of pictures.
“There’s one picture that I think is Gov. Charles Henderson and his wife, Laura Montgomery Henderson,” Holmes said.
“If this picture is Gov. Henderson, it was taken before he lost his hair. I’ve never seen a photo of his wife, but I’m pretty sure it’s them and it was probably taken around 1890.”
Holmes has pictures of a gathering of ladies at Smiley’s Bridge near Goshen, a young man he thinks might be one of the Douglas brothers and a lady with a pony.
“There’s a photo of several Confederate veterans and one of what could be a bachelors’ party and a photo of Rotarians that was taken in the 1930s,” he said. “One that has just got to be some of the Brantleys and one of a mule and wagon at the Freight Company, whatever that was.”
Some of the pictures have names on the back. Thomas and Susan Madison are pictured in front of a dogtrot house, but where, Holmes has no idea. Ada Galloway’s name is visible on the back of a photo but, who was she?
In an effort to know more, Holmes is turning to the people of Pike County for answers.
“We are encouraging people to come to the museum and look through the photographs,” Holmes said. “Who knows? They might find a person or a place that means something to them.
“We also encourage people to bring us photographs that they can’t identify or just want to discard. We’ll add them to our unidentified photographs box. And, hopefully, one day someone will say, ‘that’s Uncle Joe’ or ‘that looks like the old Foster place.’”
Holmes said the photographs will be digitalized and returned, on request.
As space permits, The Messenger will highlight photographs from the museum’s unidentified photo box in an effort to assist the Pioneer Museum of Alabama in making identifications.