Democrats may be trying to figure out who got more delegates on Super Tuesday, but there is no doubt who was the front-runner in our own poll. With 50% of the total votes cast, we can proudly proclaim that Thomas MacEntee has won the 13th Walking the Berkshires Family Archive Caption Contest!"
Well done, and congratulations to all the contestants. This picture completely cracks me up and I'm pleased that it inspired such excellent nominations.
The WASP-waisted woman was my Great Grandmother Margaret Stearns Olmsted, seen here at the tender age of 19 in 1893. I have no idea who her companion might be, nor why he felt compelled to don a skirt while hamming for the camera, but I can tell you something of the occasion, for this tintype is contained in a pale paper sleeve with these words printed on the cover:
"At The Midway, World's Fair 1893"
Yes, this picture was taken in Chicago at that epic World's Fair, which reinforces a suspicion I voiced in another post about the possible souvenir origins of a pair of earrings made from a union officer's buttons. This picture was the equivalent of the "Old Tyme" costume photographs that one can still pose for today at the county fair in frontier attire or mobster glory, or perhaps it is the predecessor of the photo booth that takes four automatic images of capering couples at similar venues.
In any case, that Madge Olmsted was a hoot and full of joie de vivre. You'd never guess that her legs were not strong: the only lasting effect of childhood polio that left all but her determined parents and one very special doctor believing she would never walk. Iron braces eventually straightened her legs and spine and she miraculously gained near complete mobility. My mother reminds me that her grandmother used to call her legs "Lamey and Nursey", but she could walk unassisted until late in life.