Male Family Portrait with Black Eye – Hiawatha, Kansas

This weeks Sepia Saturday post. Please visit the  inspiration for this at


Found this in an antique store, Lancaster, Ca.

Only old photo in the box with a bunch of Paper items. I first noticed it was all males, what happened to the Wife and Mother?

Photographer is Van Doran, Hiawatha, Kansas.

They are quite the handsome bunch, but the two boys in the back look like some tough street smart boys. And if you look closely, Brother on Left has a Shiner, yeah a black eye. His tie is messed up a little and the other brother beside him is sporting a white tie on a white shirt. He totally reminds me of some bully at the end of an alley way demanding your change. Actually when I look at them all, I see where a woman’s touch is missing, shed probably be there straightening all their ties up for this photo as everyone’s seems to a be a little off.

Click on the image 2 times to get a good close up.

Then you have the little guy up front, hes adorable, sorta like he would fit in perfectly for an episode of the Little Rascals.

Dad is handsome, with some natural curl to his hair, cant be easy working and raising 3 boys on your own. At this time divorce wasnt the norm, people were more likely widowed, so did she die? Did he remarry and get help with these boys? Or did those boys scare off potential new mates?

Or perhaps Dad was a harsh disciplinarian and he and the boy had a go at it? Maybe the two boys in the back had a scrap between them? You can fill in your own story. 🙂

Im sad to say there is no writing on this photo so no names to track, but it was the black eye that compelled me to take this one home.



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18 responses to “Male Family Portrait with Black Eye – Hiawatha, Kansas

  1. The boy on the left looks like he is smaller than he should be. He doesn’t seem to fit in with the other men.

  2. Different hair styles, different ties, all looking serious. There appears to be some similarity in their ears. When did watch chains like the father’s go out of fashion?

  3. I don’t think I’d trust any of them. They all have a distinctly ‘bad boy’ feel about them. The three young men all look rather sullen, whilst the older man is doing his best to put on a serious expression. It’s an interesting photo nevertheless and leaves us all speculating as to their story.

  4. It’s Interestingly posed.yes, You can sense the Absence .They also look really sad (but Proud)

  5. I saw a resemblance in the lips on them all except the boy on the right, but it could be the expression hes giving? He has that semi hungover or lack of sleep look to him. Yes I noticed the watch chain too, maybe someone can help date this. 🙂

  6. I looked to see if there was any resemblance to my family, because my mother’s family is from Hiawatha, Kansas, and it’s a small place…but I didn’t see any resemblance. I remember seeing a collection of old photos from Hiawatha, some identified and some not. It would be interesting to look through these and see if you can find any more that resemble these fellows.

    • Christine, I noticed my spelling error with Hiawatha or its what I could make out on the photo, thanks for that. 🙂 Ill update it. Wouldnt that be neat if they were relatives of yours? Well you know where to find them, hanging out over on my blog as a lost unidentified photo living a new life here in blog land on the internet. 🙂

  7. Karen S.

    They are all so handsome, great take on the theme photo, thanks!

  8. A grim looking bunch…

  9. Pat

    I had to enlarge to see the black eye after you pointed it out. I did not spot it at first. Well I suppose it might have been a men only photo, perhaps a present to the lady/mother/wife of her family. Glad you rescued it. It sure does fit, what’s going on?

  10. Nice detail to pick out. I have an old band photo from Hiawatha KS that I will post soon. So it did have some culture for such a small town.

  11. Interesting photo. Definitely something gangster-like about the 2 boys at the back.

  12. Actually, both of the boys in the back look they might have a shiner on their left eye. I think the little boy’s coat is a tad too big… maybe a hand-me-down. I think the two boys on the left strongly resemble their father. The boy on the right must favor their mother – that is if they are all siblings. I assume they are. This would make a great writing prompt.

  13. Your story about the photo certainly fits the picture – I too noticed the lack of a mother’s touch. I wonder if this is being sent to a distant cousin or acquaintance who has been asked to consider coming to care for them. “Helen, this is me and my boys. They need a mother’s touch.” I’ve seen many old pictures that look like post-funeral photos.

  14. I think the youngest boy and the man look incredibly alike, and even the boy with the black eye looks similar. The other boy I’m not so certain about. Interesting group.

  15. I’m guessing none of these fellows really really wanted to be there. Such gloomy looking guys.

  16. Leah

    This is really neat, totally suggestive of backstory, as you say. Perfect for me as I love to speculate about old photos, and this one is rather unusual!

  17. It is that downwards slope of the mouth – that frown – that is shared by all of them. It either signifies some sadness in their lives (mother gone) or maybe the photographer was making them frightened. Great picture, however.

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