Camera Arrived

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Monday, July 7, 1913:  Went into Watsontown this afternoon to see if my camera was there, nor was I mistaken. It was in a big box. I carried it home any way. Wonder if anyone one laughed at me. Perhaps I did look funny.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Yeah, Grandma got her camera. She’d ordered it about two week prior to this entry on June 25, 1913.

. . .  Nothing less than that I sent off for a camera. I’ve wanted one for a long time, but thought I could hardly afford it. I was reminded that I really wanted it only by finding a camera catalog up in the garret yesterday. And as I had earned almost five dollars during the last two weeks, I carried the project through.

What a typical teen reaction—wondering if anyone thought that she looked funny carrying the large box the mile and a half home from Watsontown.

28 Responses

  1. Aw…..she must have been so excited (but a typical teen: worrying about being laughed at!). Love that you found a picture of what a camera looked like in those days….!

  2. Do any of the pictures that she took in those early days survive?

  3. I am more convinced than ever that your grandma would have loved blogging. Think of the fun she would have with her camera, her poetry, and her thoughts of the day. Lovely that you found the big box Kodak camera to illustrate her carrying it home!

  4. Do you have some of the pictures she took with this camera? That would be totally amazing@

  5. I hope you do have some of the photos! I have dozens of Brownie Camera photos, many of which I’ve posted on my blog over the last couple of years. Candids really present a different picture of how our ancestors lived in a way that traditional, posed studio photographs do not. I look forward to reading more about how your grandmother enjoyed her camera!

    • Until I ready your comment I hadn’t thought about it, but you’re so right that the composition of photographs changed a lot as people were able to take their own photos rather than relying on professional photographers to take posed picture.

  6. I think it would be cool to find some of the pictures she took with it! I have an old camera…I did some research to find out when it was from, but can’t remember exactly now (and that’s because I’m getting old!).

    • When I forget things, I used to blame it on my age. Then one day at work a twenty-something colleague forgot all sorts of important things. She blamed her poor memory on being tired after a busy week-end. Right then and there, I decided that both young people and older people forget things–and that I could come up with lots of good reasons other than my age then I forget things. :)

      • You are right. :) My daughter has always had a horrible memory. I do have a lot of reasons that I think my once impeccable memory has gotten so bad, but old age is the best. Anyhow, the camera is most likely from the 1920s, which is what I thought, but I double-checked with my husband.

  7. I can’t wait to see some of her photos. I hope you have some :) Annie

  8. She sounds like a typical self-conscious teenager the way she wonders how she looks carrying it!

  9. Her “teen-ness” is sometimes surprising to me–and this is another example of it.

  10. What an elegant photo btw;0) If Grandma walked around like that, she had nothing to worry about!

  11. Pretty sure that was better than getting the latest incarnation of the iPod, back then!

  12. Isn’t that adorable — the excitement of acquiring something she wanted so much, mixed with the anxiety of whether it presented the image she’d hoped for.

    I agree, Helena would have loved blogging. (I’m not so sure she isn’t still involved in this blog. Mormons love to refer to the last words of the Old Testament and the promise of the hearts of the fathers and the hearts of the children turning to each other.)

  13. Good for her for buying a camera! I got my first camera when I was about 10 years old. I still have photos in an album I took with that old camera.

    It’s cute that she was so worried about how she looked carrying that big box home. Typical teenager concerns…even back then. :)

  14. Sheryl,

    I want to let you know that two of your blog posts are listed in today’s Fab Finds post at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2013/07/follow-friday-fab-finds-for-july-12-2013.html

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  15. […] Grandma ordered her camera from a catalog and got it on July 7: […]

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