Local History and Genealogy

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McConnell Photograph Collection

It happens to many of us – a distant relative by marriage or a close family friend passes away. They had no children, and someone delivers a box of old photos to you because there is no one else to take them. You don’t know who any of the people in the photos are and you’re quite sure none of them are related to you. So what do you do with them? Well, you might consider donating them to the library located in the city where most of the photos were taken.

We are very fortunate that thoughtful people have done that very thing from time to time here at KPL, and recently the photo collection of Marion Louise McConnell came to us that way. It is an incredible collection of over 100 photos from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Many are portraits taken by Kalamazoo photographers. Unfortunately, very few are identified, but the collection is too good not to share. We have created a Flickr collection and will be updating it with information regarding the photographers and any other clues we can determine. Enjoy the slideshow, and if you recognize any of the people or places please leave a comment on the photo. Families that may be included in the collection are McConnell, Rineveld, Kelder, Born, and Link.

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Marion Louise McConnell
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/kalamazoopubliclibrary/sets/72157631096317746/
Beth T

Moustaches, Cigars…and Potatoes

This unidentified photo really has to speak for itself, because we have absolutely no information about it. It features two men who clearly like to live large – sporting large moustaches, cigars…and potatoes! They are sitting on a step at the outside entrance of a building. Styles suggest a date around the turn of the 20th century. Let us know if you can shed any light on this image.

Help us! Our local history photograph collection is a wonderful resource, but unfortunately not every photo comes to us with full details of the place, people, or date associated with it. For that reason, we are enlisting your help. Watch our local history blog posts in the coming weeks for photographs that we could use a little assistance with. We’ll tell you what we know and you can respond if you have any ideas. But even if you don’t, be sure to take a minute to enjoy some of our interesting old photos.

View all photos in this “unidentified” series.


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Men with potatoes
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http://www.catalog.kpl.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/5?searchdata1=potatoes&library=LOCAL-COMM&language=ANY&format=ANY&item_type=PHOTO&location=ANY&match_on=KEYWORD&item_1cat=ANY&item_2cat=ANY&sort_by=-PBYR
Beth T

A Character from 1940s Kalamazoo

Unlike many of our unidentified photos, this amazing image came with just about everything short of a name. The man in the photo has a weathered face full of character, and at first glance it looks like he should be out in the old west. A closer look reveals that he is holding a puppy. The information on the back of the photo identifies him as a former schoolteacher and a “hermit [who] lived on KL Ave.” The photographer, Chester B. Robinson, apparently captured the image around 1942. Can you give this man a name?

Help us! Our local history photograph collection is a wonderful resource, but unfortunately not every photo comes to us with full details of the place, people, or date associated with it. For that reason, we are enlisting your help. Watch our local history blog posts in the coming weeks for photographs that we could use a little assistance with. We’ll tell you what we know and you can respond if you have any ideas. But even if you don’t, be sure to take a minute to enjoy some of our interesting old photos. 

View all photos in this “unidentified” series.  


unidentified-man-598

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Unidentified man 
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http://www.catalog.kpl.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/5?searchdata1=hermit&library=LOCAL-COMM&language=ANY&format=ANY&item_type=PHOTO&location=ANY&match_on=KEYWORD&item_1cat=ANY&item_2cat=ANY&sort_by=-PBYR 
Beth T

Interesting Costumed Group

This photo has to be one of the most unusual in our collection. It features a group of robed or costumed women, a man with a skull and cross bones, and a goat. Historic photos really don’t get any better. Unfortunately, it was not identified in any way. It may be a fraternal organization or possibly a theatrical production of some sort. Whatever it is, there must be a good story associated with it. Do you know the tale behind this photo?

Help us! Our local history photograph collection is a wonderful resource, but unfortunately not every photo comes to us with full details of the place, people, or date associated with it. For that reason, we are enlisting your help. Watch our local history blog posts in the coming weeks for photographs that we could use a little assistance with. We’ll tell you what we know and you can respond if you have any ideas. But even if you don’t, be sure to take a minute to enjoy some of our interesting old photos. View all photos in this “unidentified” series.

unidentified-costumed-group-598

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Unidentified group photo
goat-skull-160
http://www.catalog.kpl.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/5?searchdata1=lodge+regalia++AND+goat&library=LOCAL-COMM&language=ANY&format=ANY&item_type=PHOTO&location=ANY&match_on=KEYWORD&item_1cat=ANY&item_2cat=ANY&sort_by=-PBYR
Beth T

Does this neighborhood look familiar?

This week’s unidentified photo is a great one of a children’s bicycle parade. Unfortunately, it came to us with only the caption “World War II – Kalamazoo” for identification. However, it is full of clues for anyone with memories of that neighborhood or time period in Kalamazoo. At least six of the children’s faces are in good view. Many details of three houses and some of a fourth are visible. There is even a man in the background with ladders set up, working on one of the homes. Does this neighborhood look familiar to you? What about the children?

Help us! Our local history photograph collection is a wonderful resource, but unfortunately not every photo comes to us with full details of the place, people, or date associated with it. For that reason, we are enlisting your help. Watch our local history blog posts in the coming weeks for photographs that we could use a little assistance with. We’ll tell you what we know and you can respond if you have any ideas. But even if you don’t, be sure to take a minute to enjoy some of our interesting old photos. View all photos in this “unidentified” series.

bicycle-parade-598.jpg

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Unidentified Photos

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/local-history/blog/Default.aspx?category=Unidentified+Photos&blogid=2186
Beth T

Who are these people?

Help us! Our local history photograph collection is a wonderful resource, but unfortunately not every photo comes to us with full details of the place, people, or date associated with it. For that reason, we are enlisting your help. Watch our local history blog posts in the coming weeks for photographs that we could use a little assistance with.

Our first offering has always been one of my favorites. It came to us with the Wallace White collection, but appears to be a photo taken earlier and copied by White. It features two young children, seated and facing the camera. We have estimated the date to be around 1850. The only identification given was “Miss Howard’s sisters.” Can you help us discover their identity?

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Portrait of two unidentified children, possibly Kalamazoo, roughly 1850

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Unidentified Photos
howard-sisters-160
/local-history/blog/Default.aspx?category=Unidentified+Photos&blogid=2186
Beth T