A Special Photograph

While taking a short break from research, I want to share a few photographs and records I’ve received recently, but did not have a chance to post on the blog.

You may recall the series of blog posts I did about Amalia Hamberg and her family.  Amalia, born Malchen, was my great-grandfather Isidore Schoenthal’s first cousin:

corrected relationship isidore schoenthal to malchen hamberg


She acted as the administratrix of the estate of Charles Hamberg, the cousin who lived in South Carolina whose first wife had been murdered and whose son Samuel Hamberg ended up living with Henry Schoenthal in Washington, Pennsylvania after his father died as well.  Amalia had married Jacob Baer, with whom she had nine children, many of whom ended up working for the family jewelry business founded by the oldest brother, Maurice, in Attleboro, Massachusetts.

Well, one of the descendants of Amalia and Jacob Baer found my blog and connected me with his siblings, one of whom graciously shared with me this wonderful photograph of Amalia Hamberg and Jacob Baer. Both Amalia and Jacob lived long lives.  Amalia lived from 1851 until 1931; Jacob from 1847 to 1932. Imagine all the changes they saw—starting in Germany in the middle of the 19th century and living through the Industrial Revolution, the first World War, and the Roaring Twenties.  They raised nine children in western Pennsylvania and must have seen Pittsburgh grow from a small fairly rural area to the home of steel manufacturing.  They lived to see the invention and development of cars and telephones, even airplanes.


I don’t know when this photograph was taken.  Although Amalia and Jacob may look old because of their attire and Jacob’s seemingly gray hair, their faces have no wrinkles, and the style of dress does not look 20th century to me.  I would guess that they were in their 40s, so perhaps the picture was taken in the 1890s.  What do you think?

I am so excited to have this photograph. Thank you so much to the Adler siblings who shared this with me.

18 thoughts on “A Special Photograph

  1. Just knowing how I feel about the coming of age of the internet that has changed my life from my childrens to the grands, I can’t even imagine what they might have felt with cars, airplanes and the telephone, my goodness! 1890 – 1900 is a great guess on the clothing!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Having the couple identified and knowing when they lived influences the dating of the photograph. Without taking this in consideration, the man’s overcoat with the large lapels may be late 1880s or early 1890s. The 1890s saw more puffy sleeves in women’s dress. My guess (!) would be late 1880s.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a find! Or gift as you’ve said. I love the title of Administratrix. There has to be a blog post in that alone! I agree with the prior assessments of the time period based on family members’ clothing I’ve seen. My thought on their ages was that because life was difficult, they may be younger than they look.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. By the 1890s the sleeves were puffier. I tend toward the 1870s-1880s for this photograph, even early 1880s, as possibly they were wearing an old style of clothing. I am not an expert but based on having seen many photographs that were positively dated. I always enjoy your stories!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Janice. 1880s is certainly what I am hearing, and it makes a lot of sense overall—I just have to stop thinking that someone in their 30s in the 1850s would look like someone in their 30s in 2017!


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