At left is my great-great grandmother Alice Jane (Greene) Barker (1852-1914). Her son, Raymond Barker inherited many of her facial features, and I recognize much of my grandfather Robert Barker in both of these photographs as well (shared here with you courtesy of my 2nd cousin Karen Shaw Knapp).
A curious reference in one of the typewritten family chronologies in my Barker archives mentions that Alice Greene Barker "was a poet of renown and wrote under the name Grace Melbourne." I have found no examples of her work, and am left with just the acknowledgment that the family recalled her talent and accorded it respect.
They were churchgoing Midwesterners, Methodists of sound moral character. Jane Greene's family adopted two orphans when she was a girl - Jimmy Green and Charles Wolfley - and after she married Samuel Barker, Jr., the Barker's adopted a girl named Hortense Towsley. In this same year, their 8 1/2-year-old daughter Alice Glen died.
The set of her jaw in this photograph conveys something of the stoic, tough-as-nails qualities which carried her through adversities. But is there also any hint of the poet behind those spectacles, finding voice despite the high collar at her throat? We are not always what we seem - thank heavens - and there are sides to every personality besides what we get in the full-on view.