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Dorothy Mae Birmingham's Photograph Album, 1927-1933
Along with her "Memory Book," Dorothy Mae Birmingham kept "Photographs," a collection of pictures from Summer 1926, when she was 16, to 1933, when she was 23 and when Jack Frantzen had become part of her life. The earliest photograph is at the very end, from 1916, when she was just 6 (page 73).
The notes that follow are based on work by Eleanore Kilcoyne. Eleanore read through my mother's photograph album and recorded her comments March 2015. A lot is missing and mysterious, of course. There were nine loose pictures tucked into the album. I was able to match 5 of them to their probable right spot (see pages 33, 34, 49, 53, and 59). Four other I guessed at; they are described as being placed on the page, rather than restored to the page (also on 4-18-2015; see pages 8, 43, and 54).
Page 1. Four photos of Sisters of St. Francis across top, teachers at Immaculate Conception Academy, Elma. Mother has pictures of them on p. 8 of the Memory Book: Srs. M. Laurentina, De Sales, Elizabeth, Clare. Below the sisters, in white ink: Genevieve Biever; Betty Walters; Mary Biever; Margaret Biever; Mary Biever [listed twice]. Bottom left: Ames, and underneath, "Carefree Bill" McConnell. At far left, "Aug. 1926." Bottom right "In days of Charleston, Clear Lake," with DMB identified with arrow and date 1926 (this is mother at 16 swimming at Clear Lake).
Page 2. Upper left: women at picnic table. "H. C.'s (possibly H. Co.'s) Indians holding a Pow-wow in Tama." Right: "Harriet Birmingham, Regine R., Esther B," on a pier in Clear Lake. Underneath: "Why all the bait?" Lower left, above the photo: "Just before we leave for Des Moines." Lower right, in Ames (also Fr. Renier, pastor at Lourdes, Iowa). A class or club trip to Ames in Summer 1926.
Page 3. Upper left. Three women, initials of one are GC, others cannot be read. Upper right: "A few miles out of Marshalltown, Iowa, Summer of 1926." Also written under the picture: "On the pavement." Mother seems to have taken this and many of these other photographs, which is why she is not in them. None of the girls is identified. Lower left: Ames, Iowa, "In a little garden." Small photo in the middle is of Dorothy's two brothers, Patrick and Adrian Birmingham. Lower right: Mabel and Estella Gonterman. The word "blinded" is written across the picture in another ink color, probably added later.
Page 4. Left: "Beauties" in Cedar Falls, poking their heads through flowers. Irene Shandley and below her Dorothy to left and Vera ? to right. Center picture: Cedar Falls again, Vera and Irene, standing inside one skirt; picture probably taken by mother. Written above: "How come?" Right, mother, looking chubby, in tennis clothes. Taken at Clinton, Iowa, "Whoopee" in the darker ink, 2 tennis racquets on either side of mother's head.
Page 5. "Few are chosen" is the caption for this page. Upper left: 2 unidentified women; below, Postville, Iowa (Alice Vangh--?); Center, above, Virgil, Ed; lower: Dorothy in front of trees. Right upper: Virgil and Ed again (both very natty); lower: unidentified woman in glasses, Ames, Iowa.
Unidentified friend, Bernice Wheeler has the page all to herself.
Page 7. 3 pictures of Dorothy's sister, Mildred Evelyn Birmingham (Sisul). Pictures left and right taken at Mt. St. Claire, Fall of 1927. Middle picture at Brophy home, 4-H club meet, summer 1927.
Page 8. Dorothy at the wheel of the old Saxxon, the familiy car, Mildred standing on the far side of the vehicle (for more, see page 38. "Aint chuckk chuck. Aint no go!" written beneath it (imitating the baby talk of Francis Thraenert, a neighbor, who would say that when a car wouldn't start--evidently not a rare event). Written on the top line to the right, "On the road to knowledge." Mother's sisters Sister Martin (Violet) and Mildred also drove that car to Elma to attend Immaculate Conception Academy for two years after two years of high school at Lourdes. Lower left: Frances Goetz (pronounced "Gates"; she was later Sister Stanislaus) and Mildred Birmingham. To their right: Martin Birmingham, Jr. (Dorothy's brother) in a baseball uniform. Above the picture of the girls, "Hilldahl, N.M.L". Lower right: possibly a picture of the Birmingham farm in winter; might go with the pictures on p. 9 (Winter scene). Placed on p. 8 by AJF 4-18-2015.
Page 9. Birmingham farm in deep winter. Note that the top of the chicken house is visible above the snow. Is the girl in the top photo Harriet Birmingham? Lower left: Dorothy in the snow. Written above this picture: "In the suburbs of the City (Elma)." Mother's little joke. Lower middle photo: Dorothy (seated at left, next to Vera [see above, p. 4]. Standing between mother and Vera might be Irene Shandley, I.S.); and on the left, Bernice. Picture on the right: Dorothy, standing in center, and friends: Vera left, Bernice right, Irene above.
Page 10. Blank.