PHOTOS
Comments 38

Ouida in photos

I apologise to The Baz’s loyal followers for the unprecedented hiatus. Moving is a nightmare. You lose things. Including your mind. I never want to do it again.

But anyhow. In my absence, it seems the nice lady relative of Ouida’s who promised to get back to us but never did has begun selling her Ouida-wares on Ebay. By which I mean photos, mostly of O herself, some of Basil. As various people have been sending in copies, I thought I’d post some of them here.

The photos seem to date from c.1915 onward. Many are snapshots of Ouida’s psyche as much as of her sturdy little form. Aspirational. Romantic. Tinged with the unreal.

This one alleges to have been taken in Connecticut, probably around 1920, possibly when Ouida was married to George Fitzmaurice, certainly before she knew Rathbone. She seems to be standing in a field wearing a kimono and carrying a Japanese umbrella. As you do.

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And here she is, again c. 1920, this time wearing nothing but a fur wrap.
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This one is captioned “New York Apt/ Married to George Fitzmaurice/ Picture Producer/ Ouida’s second husband”. Which means whoever wrote that knew about the shadowy Mr Burgess, Ouida’s first husband back in Little Rock. The one she seems to have forgotten to mention to Rathbone…
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Ouida and that second (or first or third, depending on your source) husband at home, with candles…
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Finally, two photos of Ouida’s third (or fourth or second) and most famous husband. This lovely photo is allegedly by the “Hollywood photographer” Russell Ball. Rathbone looks very young, so if it was indeed taken in Hollywood it must have been one of his first visits there, either in the mid twenties when touring THE SWAN, or 1929-30 when he was out there making THE LAST OF MRS CHEYNEY.
rathbone c 1924

This one was taken maybe as little as eight or nine years later, but note the difference in Rathbone’s face and demeanor. In the first he looks open, willing. In the second he seems much more closed down, much more reluctant to be there. In the first he seems happy, in the second not so much.
BRandOUida2

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38 Comments

    • Ceridwy says

      1776! Love it! Its a masterpiece I say…It is a traditional must see every 4th of July!

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  1. the countess says

    owwwwhttp://www.ebay.com/itm/8×10-Vintage-Studio-Copy-Negative-Basil-Rathbone-Candid-/200954651674?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2ec9d4a41a#ht_2311wt_900

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  2. the countess says

    Have any of you seen the Milton Berel show on youtube with Bathroom,ahh I mean Basil? that is the funniest thing.I just laughed and laughed and laughed! I saw it last night.Youtube now works for me.Doing the happy dance here!And the beer comerical.wonder how many glasses of beer he drank to get that toungtwister name right? Did you see the Christopher Show? The one where he starts off talking about bad kids and then switches to hollywood marriages then back to J.D.s again.Unless I missed it and it’s posible I’ll have to go back and rewatch it,it was very late like 2:30 am,but he talks about happy hollywood marriages..and never says ..Me and Ouida or my wife and I or now take my own marriage..nothing like that..the perfect time to say..oh yes we have been happily wed for years and years…but not once does he say it.As I said I’ll have to relisten,But I never heard what I expected to here.He beats all around the bush but never does he touch the bush.
    Oh and catch the bloopers of 1938 TO TO TO FUNNYAnd not even 1 complaint or p.g.13 word.out of him.

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    • GRETCHEN says

      I mentioned that Uncle Milty “bathroom” mishap in another comment I made some time ago……even Baz started cracking-up!! πŸ™‚ I first saw that back in the early ’90s, when my dad played us his new VHS tapes of “The Best of the Milton Berle Show”. It’s so nice to see all these things on YOUTUBE now.

      If you use the “Bing” search engine to look-up “Basil Rathbone”, you’ll see a section of videos of him. click on that, and it’ll bring you to a page of all these WONDERFUL vids—some various movie-clips, interviews, and even homemade montages of beautiful (and heartwarming) images of Baz being lovely and charming, set to music. (If you’re interested, you can also look-up Basil’s (and Vincent’s) buddy Hans Conried on “Bing”, and find some GREAT vids and pics of him, too! When he’s interviewed candidly, he speaks as his TRUE self, and has a quiet, normal voice—unlike the grandiose one he uses when performing as his TV and film personas…it’s nice to see him this way. He acts quite shy and socially-awkward, as well. But then, he was sort-of a NERD, like me.) πŸ™‚

      I’d REALLY love to see some outtakes from Basil’s movies—where he swears and walks-off in a huff, giggles and falls to the floor, or angrily yells at himself for messing-up for the 20th time! Also, other actors around him forgetting lines and such, making him laugh or get upset…that would be sooo cute! Why have we NEVER seen this from him?? Is there no footage of this stuff left in existence, or WHAT???

      I’ve also watched the “Christophers” vid…too bad we can’t see the ENTIRE interview! The whole thing is only a short representation of the hour-long program. It’s difficult to FIND this piece, as well. Something to do with “copyright infringement”—it’s been turned-off most times I’ve attempted to play it from different sites.

      Years ago, I bought the series of Warner Bros. “Bloopers from the 1930s-1940s” vids all on ONE DVD at Target’s dollar-section for a buck! I only got it, ’cause it showed that Baz was in it……this helmet—no, THIS helmet—NO! THIS HELMET!!! The funny thing is, I believe the one they finally ended-up using on him in the movie (“Adv. of Robin Hood”) was the FIRST ONE he’d tried on…HA-HA!! πŸ™‚

      There’s a YOUTUBE video of Baz on the panel of the ’50s TV show: “The Name’s The Same” (with Mickey Rooney as the actor who shares his name with a GIRL who’s the mystery guest). It’s SUPER-CUTE! After Mickey shows-up to greet the girl and sends her off with a handshake, Basil is SO taken by Mickey, he won’t stop chatting with him and praising his GREAT acting skills…the host tries to get him to let Mickey continue to speak about his upcoming work and then move-on to the next guest because time is running-out, but Basil just won’t SHUT-UP!! He even breaks-in during their conversation (you hear him in the background) to KEEP YAPPING on and on! He’s obviously a BIG fan—and when Mickey is ready to leave, Baz shakes his hand with vigorous enthusiasm (not wanting to let-go), and says good-bye with a satisfied smile. (I wonder what Mickey was thinking!) What a SILLY (and somewhat RUDE) guy Baz was, sometimes…this is THE most candid thing I’ve found of him, totally being himself—I like him that way. πŸ™‚

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  3. Ellen Foley says

    Maybe internet provider actually office in India.I kept getting charges for overdrafts even while pestering my Pension Adm for info on where my last 2 checks actually went.1938 photo,OR looks reasonably trim.Yesterday my comp wouldn’t allow me to sign on,maybe cuz someone else using other comp.Love Tom Jones,esp in rare movies.

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    • Ellen Foley says

      Great info on baz’s Sherlock play,esp since it did well prior to transferring to Broadway.Thanks Marcia for the info,relieved to hear it wasn’t the total disaster previously thought.Shame that he had the burden of poor reviews in NYC.Glad Terry Kilburn was in that play,too.I like him and glad he and Ms Quinn from the movie GIIB praised our Baz.

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      • Ellen Foley says

        HMM<George Fitz married and divorced wife he had after Weedy,died in 1940 and George had daughter around 1929.Baz concerned would she divorce to marry him,threatens to divorce Baz(?) over a serious affair,everyone's miserable in Rathbone house,OR alienates Baz and Baz Jr reconciliation,has various hangers-on thru H-wood years living in house,spends it as fast as he earns it.He should've left her in H'weird,gone to NY and let her divorce him.He didn't need that kind of companionship.He could've rented it a lot cheaper than the cost of buying.I still think he shoul've remained marries to Marion,no matter the particulars.Never bought the "Why I'm a happy man baloney".

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        • I agree that he should have divorced Ouida. But that would have resulted in a scandal. I think BR was afraid it would ruin Madame X’s career. By staying with Ouida and moving to NYC, he protected the career of Madame X. His own career went down the toilet, but he didn’t know that would happen. I’m sure he thought that in NYC he would have steady work in the theater, just like in the 1920s.

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  4. Judy D. says

    First photo: “As you do.” You can be so funny!! Thanks for sharing these oldies. I sympathize with moving… having missed out on your blog for a month due to trying to get a moribund computer back to life, I just spent the last 1.5 weeks (and more to come) recovering from falling down the stairs (that’s what I get for watching vintage Tom Jones and having a wee taste or two). Huge bruises everywhere and a very sore shoulder. Up to my hips in pet hair, so finally got my act together and dug out this a.m. I would prefer this, however, and the resultant helpless days huddled in a recliner reading old New Yorkers, to moving!!!

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    • the countess says

      Understand about the compuker,just got mine back up on line. Mines been down sence the end of May..it wasnt my compuker but my internet provider. Who stoped suporting my browser but refused to tell me that, and after I think it was 20 some phone calls to them they kept blameing my computer.Offered me no solouition and kept right on billing me for service I couldnt access.. I realy dont want to know how you were imbibieing watching Tom Jones and going up and down stairs at same time? But dont do that again..Tom Should be watched while seated and enjoying him,unless your at a concert when it is quite permisable to stand up and scream the whole time..yes ladies realy DO throw panties on stage at him.[we didnt but we were to far back or we might have.]That was right after the Album ‘The Lead and how to Swing it” came out.But mostly he sang his greatest hits. He sang Delilah and I was happy.He didnt sing “Letter To Lucille” but Delilah made up for it.He did Pussycat,what more could I have asked for.Have you seen the newer look for him the gray hair gray beard..a bit hard to get used to but not bad.

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      • Judy D. says

        Ah, a fellow Tom Jones fan. I’ve been a fan since I heard “Green Green Grass of Home” but got really into it while watching a 1978(?) Canadian special of his. Rushed out and bought five albums, a stereo, and a VCR recorder! I’ve managed to feel most parts of his body since then and get the occasional stageside kiss and have a backstage photo which I got great joy out of having put on a T-shirt and wearing to concerts. (He seems to be a very nice, polite, quiet guy offstage, by the way.) He is now not so sexy, and he knows it, and has adapted his nightclub act accordingly, having gone blues/gospel/soul in his last few albums. They get great reviews, but when do we ever get to see him perform this stuff?? Not in this dumb country with its impossible radio stations. No, I didn’t fall while watching; I was sitting, or dancing a bit, having a great time with the 1969-70 show DVDs, then “calmly” went upstairs to bed, stupidly without turning on the light, and I got disoriented on the small landing.
        He cracked my ribs one other time and I had to call in sick after a trip to hospital–was in the kitchen minding my own business when suddenly I heard Tom singing; I rushed to the living room, stepped on a small pile of slippery magazines next to my chair, and fell with a loud crack against the arm of the chair. When I called work next day the girl who answered was nearly in hysterics when I told her it was because some damned fool was doing an act where he was bouncing his nose around in time to Tom’s “It’s Not Unusual”!! So, yes, Tom must be watched while strapped to a chair with no danger of sudden excesses of emotional outpourings. (And I have my treasured lacy pink underwear, rubbed against his face, unfortunately without me in them, inside a protective plastic bag.)
        And to think, during all this I had room (and plenty of it) for our Bazz. Who, coincidentally, I discovered while recovering from breaking both wrists while riding a runaway horse. There seems to be a pattern here.

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        • the countess says

          OMG..My other mother would have pretty nealy throtled you for them pantys. Judy my Dad would have siad you were ‘a accident looking for a place to happen’ he used to say it about me.Oh and I’m courius anout not so much the parts of Tom that you did touch as what you havent? Didcribe said parts in P.G.13 or G. discriptons please as we know not who are audince will be.Must relate the runaway horse story.I grew up on horseback.Got my 1st poney at about 1st grade.She was demon possed I swear.First time I got on her she ran away with me ran 2 blocks with me clinging on despretly,and then dumping m yard[a muddy one too].e over her head into a neighbors

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          • the countess says

            sorry that post was so disjointed the coments section was doing odd things like jumping,and flickering… any how she dumped me off over her head into a neighbors yard.That became her fav. trick,unxpectedly tearing off at a gallop, and then stopping dead,and I off course would go flying over her head.And you know in all my kid mishaps,and there were plenty,I never broke anything,at least not officaly anyhow.how did you break your wrist?

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          • Judy D. says

            Sorry, I missed your question on my “untouched” parts of Tom Jones. That’s pretty difficult, so I shall go with the PG13, starting in anatomical order, bottoms up: I have had at his feet, bum (while smashing him (and his junk) against me onstage), hands, chest, mouth…think that more or less covers it. Shortly after these interludes, he wisely began his policy of not interacting with anyone at the stage, not that all this action happened there. Celebs certainly have their cross to bear…on the way to the bank….
            You got to own a “first!!” pony? Grrr, I hate you. I have a photo and memory of being put on a pony screaming as a little rugrat, then later went horse-crazy (blame the Black Stallion for one), but never got to ride regularly until my late-20s when the YWCA ran a course. That’s much too late to learn, like ballet, so as your father says, I certainly was an accident waiting to happen. When I got on a too-fresh horse one day and the horse took off in the ring like a bullet and they said just let him go and work it off but he headed so close to the side of a jump that I thought he meant to rub my leg off, I panicked and bailed, causing two wrist fractures and a few bruised or broken ribs. But you sure got yourself a total brat of a pony!
            Now on to those YouTube, shots of BR–a nice way to recuperate from bashing a rib Fri. a.m. after skidding on cat Basil’s invisible upchuck. (Sigh.)

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  5. the countess says

    Oh forgot to mention,the back of the 1st pic of Basil,the younger one with the trophys or what ever they are behind him on the wal. ,what is readable of it says apartment,but cant make out whose. Nice to be proven correct about there being a 1st hubby,to a certian doubting Thomas whos name will remain unmentiionable[1st name inital A] lStill looking for 1st [?] hubbys name havent had any luck.He seams to have disapeered,but then all I have to go on are initals.

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  6. the countess says

    YEA you found them I wondered if the links would work.Lady sounds a bit Weedy eee to me, not getting back to you after she promised you. these were going up and commeing down so fast that i had to search throught back sales just to find them..hope your move went well and you find your mind soon. :} I still cant find things from my last move and I’m positive they didnt get throwed out.I monitered what went in the trash,and i mean strictly monitered, but i didnt pack all boxes myself. So the search continues.

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    • Hee yes the same thought occurred to me. Generosity obviously runs in the family πŸ™‚ Moving is a fading nightmare now. I can locate almost everything. Though bizarrely I’m missing the right shoe of two different pairs. ?? I think there’s a packing-fairy that likes to play games with us.

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      • the countess says

        Did you notice Weedy seems to have been generious in giveing her TX relitive copys of pics of herself. I gives me the feeling that she was one of those relitives that thing every holiday should be cleabrated by giveing you a giant signed 8×10 photo of themselfs.In a frame.You know the regifters of the world, Dang your good.Only 2 missing shoes? Hop a plane or a boat and sail over here and find my missing copy of “IAOOC” missing now sence 2008.In that case my packing fairy likes me about as much as Tink likes Wendy,of all the things shes hideing from me why choose that.

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      • rosebette says

        My daughter, who has moved several times since she graduated last year, has a trunk full of shoes with no match!

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    • Ellen Foley says

      Sounds like sneakiness ran in the Branch family.And opportunism.Another one trading on the Baz connection to the family.Apparently she never thought Baz’s kids and grandkids should have consideration for photos,too,more so than an in-law,which apparently she must be,she’s not a natural relative of Baz’s like his son and natural daughter.Too bad things went like they did for Cynthia dying so young,bet she ould’ve been a fountain of info and objective,too,unlike momma dearest.

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  7. BASIL says

    I don’t actually mind Ouida that much……..oh damn it now I’m going to be trolled! Why the hell did I say that ;n;

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  8. I think you’re projecting your own feelings about Ouida onto those last two photos. In the photo taken with Ouida he is looking out..very much aware and “there”. In fact, they’re both looking in the exact same direction…in sync. In the other, earlier photo he’s looking neither at the camera or at anyone..he’s looking down, and he seems very closed off. His expression is, at best, neutral. Remember, whatever we may think about Ouida…he married her and stayed with her until his death.

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    • True. But staying together doesn’t equate with being happy necessarily. People stay together for all kinds of reasons

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    • Alyssia says

      I completely agree. People try to find ways round the evidence that Basil was happily married because they want to see it that way. But the evidence proves it. They were together for forty-one years!

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      • “They were together for fourty-one years”. That means absolutely nothing regarding the state of their marriage…it’s evident of nothing. My parents made it to 52 years…and it was an dysfunctional, miserable marriage. And so were many of the marriages around me growing up (one of the reasons I decided to remain single). Couples stay together for reasons that can make no sense to an outsider…many times it makes no sense to those on the inside. Alyssia, I know you want to believe that Basil and Ouida had a blissfully happy marriage, and frankly, I would like to think so too, considering the length of time they spent together. But from everything that I’ve read, I’ve come to the sad conclusion that their marriage wasn’t as happy as we would like to think it was. Simply believing something rarely makes it so.

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    • Brad says

      Yes he married her and stayed with her until his death, but he also had numerous affairs and Ouida attempted to take her own life through fear of losing him. It’s scarcely projecting to see evidence of the strain between them in a photograph taken close to the time.

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      • GRETCHEN says

        Alyssia has absolutely NO IDEA what she’s talking about, or what a truly “happy” marriage entails—it’s not how MANY years one is married that dictates one’s happiness…it’s the amount of JOY brought by one’s union with another human being that does.

        My parents were married for 53 YEARS (1955-2008), and they were miserably unhappy MOST of the time. They’d NEVER dated anyone else prior to meeting each other, and even waited till marriage for sex. My mom went all “religiously-nutso” on him after they’d been together a while, and slowly got weirder and more annoying over time, until she drove my dad (AND my 2 brothers and me) crazy……PLUS, she also began hoarding stuff about 25 years ago. When my dad was dying at age 83 in 2008, he’d regretted marrying my mom SO much he didn’t want her to inherit ANY of his money or properties after his death—and he said it IN FRONT of my mom AND the lawyer who was helping to write his will when they were visiting him on his deathbed at the hospital!!! He was disappointed when the lawyer told him that wasn’t a legal possibility, since they’d been married for SO long, and her name was on the deeds with his. (Now, that’s what I call an AWKWARD conversation!) The reason they never got divorced was because they were Catholic, and the faith discourages divorce, as well as remarriage while divorced. So, they were pretty-much STUCK together…my mom’s currently dating someone who’s a total narcissist like Ouida (and he’s driving HER crazier than she already IS), so she’s getting HER payback, now!!

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        • GRETCHEN says

          Oh, and my mom couldn’t understand WHY my dad and us were always on her case about her behavior…or, that it upset him when she spent most of his social security money on the LARGE amount of stuff she bought and kept stored all over the house to “use later” to give-away to the church for the poor, or as our family’s X-mas and birthday gifts, etc. She thought HE was the problem, and refused to see that what she did was ruining his enjoyment of old age and retirement, and causing him to become DEEPLY depressed and argumentative. She assumed we were all “against” her, or “of the devil”, because we were tired of her selfish strangeness, and she believed we were preventing her from doing “the Lord’s work”.

          Ahhh……isn’t mental-illness REFRESHING?? πŸ™‚

          People can be very unaware of the BAD marriages that on the surface seemingly last contentedly for a “lifetime”, and it hurts me to know how completely IGNORANT these people are about reality.

          For instance: SO many women with low self-esteem stay married to abusive husbands for 30+ years, who beat them EVERY day and remind them of how “worthless” they are…sounds like a “happy” marriage to me!! Some people stay married until death because they feel the guilt of “obligation” to keep the promise they made, even if their partner argues-with or cheats-on them constantly; or, if they’re not really “in love” because it was an “arranged” marriage, and it’s EXPECTED of them to remain together—whether they like it, or NOT.

          In other words, a LONG marriage does NOT necessarily mean a HAPPY one. It’s a good idea to keep this in mind when looking back at Basil and Ouida’s union. There is a strong probability that BOTH of them were unhappy for different reasons, because they just weren’t a good, compatible match. This doesn’t mean they didn’t LOVE each other—just that some hidden resentment may have existed between them. Love alone isn’t ENOUGH to keep a marriage together……the ability to love, accept one-another, AND get-along and live in harmony (spiritually, emotionally and financially), IS.

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          • Ellen Foley says

            Dear Gretchen:Your sharing is so appreciated,esp when some parties refuse to see reason of this “happy union” of OR/BR.Think it stands to reason they stayed together for better/worse,and he constantly swallowed his pride,coped with drink/ciggies/pills as needed.As another whose parents stayed in it cz of being RC’s,I hear you,and pat yourself on back for surviving yourself!

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  9. Ellen Foley says

    OR knows how to strike a pose,but not smile.One pic looks like Bride of Dracula with that cape.Baz looks ill at ease in “38 pic.Welcome back,hope you’re feeling more relaxed after move.We really missed you!I

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    • the countess says

      I thought he does too. Shes leaning into him.But. Hes got his right hand on the table his left hand is closed at his side.But then we have seen this disconect before in pics of them havent we.I dont read to much into them both looking the same diriction,you can do that with your dogs too.Just put any group of dogs togather and hold up a dog treat off camera.it’s like in group pictuers when camera man says ‘everbody look over here’. Also I think her dresses are pre 1920. in fact I’ll date them sometime between 1912-1919.[think Titanic-to Downton Abbey era. Dresses got shorter after the war began. But hemlines did drop one more time between the end of the war and 1920 when waistlines dropped and hemlines went up to the knee[think Great Gatsby] Hemlines dropped again in 1930s. Went back up in the 1940s and back down in the 1950s And one thing we can be sure about if it’s Weedy shes IN FASHION.The only thing that makes me want to make those pics as late as 1919 is her shorter hair.But her hair may just be put up in the back makeingit look shorterthen it is. I have a pic of my Grandma dateable to the early 1920s you’d swear she had a short hair bobwhen it was actuly knee lenth, but put up in back.

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  10. Roberta says

    So lovely to see the blog updated! I had missed these photos though I do check Ebay regularly. Thanks so much

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