Sunday, September 6, 2015

PAGE 36: Shadow Silhouettes, Curious Valentine, and more, 1890s

As noted in previous pages, this blog is for the purpose of inventorying every page in my maternal great-grandfather's TERWILLIGER SOUVENIR ALBUM, covering the years from 1840 to roughly 1900.  After a number of pages of Wedding Cards of various sorts, we suddenly find a much more personal page:
Charming, isn't it?  Judging by the chins and other details these are shadow silhouettes of an older couple and a somewhat younger woman, plus a handwritten Valentine, an 1897 Christmas Programme, a few cards from friends as well as another couple's wedding cards, all from around the 1890s.

I'll take the three shadow silhouettes first, and assume they were done in late 1800s.  I'm tentatively assuming they are of my Grandmother's Grandparents and my Great-grandmother.

Such silhouettes were popular in the earlier part of the 1800s, but died out when photography began to be more used. This TERWILLIGER family seems to have been very interested in art and music, so I could think they carried on making silhouettes for their own enjoyment.  If made in the late 1800s, the older couple could be her mother's parents:  Charles Giles GRAVES & Hattie ORMSBEE (b. 1824, 1827). While possible, these could be her father's parents:  James M. TERWILLIGER (except there is no beard or sideburns, which he normally sported) & Harriet BUELL (b. 1825, 1829).  I'm assuming the ages of the older couple by the chins, hats, clothing.  The somewhat younger woman might possibly be Clara Augusta (GRAVES) TERWILLIGER, b. 1857. It is definitely a puzzle to analyze.

I'll take any thoughts from you readers about these silhouettes.  Of course, it is possible they are simply commercial silhouettes, having nothing to do with any particular family member!

On the top row is a torn bit of envelope (white pieces, see large photo at top) with a written label "Valentine Wish".  This seems to have come from a friend, a Mrs. Frost, in New Jersey.  The Valentine itself, hand-made with a pretty turquoise ribbon, states the following in the person's handwriting:
    "Love in a hut,
           with water and a crust,  
      Is  -  Love, forgive us,
           Cinders, ashes, dust."
Isn't that an odd verse?  [Update, Sept.6, 2015.  Thanks to a reader, Kathy, who knew this was from a John Keats poem, Lamia.  Details and the entire long poem may be read here, scrolling down, you will find the quote begins Part 2.]

On the bottom right is a calling card:
Mr. & Mrs. Norton B. Andrews, with an attached small card: Norton Herrick Andrews.
Odd.  It is clearly printed with those names and initials.  Is the attached little card a notice of their son's name?   

To the right of the calling card, is a wedding invitation of Anna Harvey Smith to Mr. William Richings Hill, May 27, 1894, eight o'clock, First Presbyterian Church, Roselle, N.J.   I have no idea what the relationship is of these two young people to my TERWILLIGER relatives, and have not yet found any links.

On the right side of the man's silhouette is a Programme  for a Christmas entertainment, 1897. The songs, instrument solos and other pieces listed, do not seem to be a religious programme, and I do not recognize any of the other names in the programme.  The embossed lettering on the front cover is very attractive. I do wonder why it does not state where this entertainment is being held? Perhaps it is printed on the back cover which is heavily glued to the page!

Finally, on the right bottom corner, is an invitation to a Sociable, Tuesday evening, February 10th, at eight o'clock. RSVP ------ 45 East 54th St.  In the top left, underlined, is the word:  Informal  The attached smaller card provides the names of the Eggert sisters:
"Miss Eggert.   Alvina Eggert"  in their own handwriting.

If any of these names are of people you know, or you would like further information, do contact me at the address below, or in the Comments section.  I am always happy to share details from the TERWILLIGER SOUVENIR ALBUM.

NOTE: My Blogger account is acting up and not allowing me to reply to comments. Assume that I am absolutely thrilled you took the time to come by, read the notes, and comment. You make my day.


  1. Hi, In reference to the Valentine wish, when I saw the word "mater" I immediately thought of tomato because mater can be the slang term for this. Paired with a crust of bread it could make sense. But really, it is a verse from a poem by John Keats called Lamia. The real word in the poem is water. I looked at the above photo and the m could be a w. What do you think? I have been enjoying your other blog and came over to this one because you referenced it there. I think this album is fascinating and look forward to seeing more.

    1. Wow. Of course!! Kathy, I appreciate this so much... it's been a long time since I've read poetry. Thank you so much!
      I appreciate your comments on this album - it's so huge, so full of oddities as well as items with no context. Sometimes I get discouraged at how much I'd rather do genealogy than inventory each page here! Thanks again for helping me make sense out of this Valentine.

  2. I think Norton Herrick Andrews was my Great Grandfather. What is the date of birth on that card?

    1. Cheers - The date on the card is April 10, 1898.

      Sound likely? I'm happy to take another better photo to send to you. My contact information is at the very bottom of the blog.
      - Celia

    2. Hi Celia. My apologies but I am not seeing your contact info. You can email me at THanks!