Shared Photo: Picnic in Robinson Grove

+7 votes

A candid, group photo from 1892! No child blurred! 23 people ALL identified! (and now, almost all with profiles in Wikitree). Just sayin... Seriously, this is a very early date for candid outdoor photos, and thanks to g-g-grandmother for adding all those names.

in Photos by Robert Seale G2G6 (7.8k points)
edited by Robert Seale
A wonderful picture at a time when a picnic was fun and it meant family time together. Robert I bet some of the people in the picture could help you with your family research. If only pictures can talk. It is also amazing because their names are on the picture. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for that take on the photo -

Having been lucky enough to accumulate hundreds of pre-1900 photos I can't emphasize how valuable these photos are for research. A few examples I can name from this picture alone are:

•Georgia Kirk married a Robinson 4 years later - so I know the families were already neighbors and friends.
•Roy Wonn's family was living in Ohio - so the cousins on that branch spent time visiting back in WV
•Mary Robinson did actually go by the name of "Wonnie"
•The photo led me to search in Paw Paw for that "Robinson Grove" - but repeated flooding of the Potomac River and loss of institutional memory have left no signs even the homes are gone - but I had a place to look.
•The picnic-goers were important enough to family that all the participants were labelled, and this photo was sent to J Robinson's sister in northern New York State, evidence of continued familial connection.

•There is not a studio label on the back, supporting my belief that this was an early family candid photo. (Leading to my corollary plea to starter family historians to always record the information on the back of photos, to help focus research)
Impressive information came from your pictures and that's good. I think that you are a very good researcher also and good luck always comes to a good researcher. I have a different take  on pictures than most people because I used to be an amateur photographer. I believe that helps me view pictures, and settings differently. Not better, just differently. I still use film when I can. Usually black and white. There is something special about working with film.
Jerry, as a photographer, here's an aspect I didn't address, and maybe you have thoughts:

Camera sleuthing:
     This is a large photo, measuring 4 5/8 x 7 3/4" begging the question, what was the camera if this was 1892? Dr. Kirk was a physician, J Robinson a well-to-do merchant. One of the few (Kodak) cameras available with that size film was the Eastman Interchangeable View (1886-1890) and cost $100 without lenses.

One of its multiple backs measured 5x8" - and could have been trimmed down to make this print.

Note also that the overall focus of the photo is good, but the upper left and upper right person in the photo are blurry - I suspect this may have been spherical aberration from the lens (a Beck autograph rectilinear lens was commonly used in this camera, but I don't know its failings).

If it was a smaller format camera, and there were many by 1892, then the photo would have to have been enlarged - not commonly done at this time.
Robert, I will try my best. In 1892 there were  many different cameras and negatives. There were far less professional cameras at that time. About 1892 the use of paper negatives were being used. They were much cheaper than the glass negatives.

This picture is sharp with crisp edges on everything such as faces and clothing. The paper negatives were of lesser quality than glass. I guess you had cost or quality. I imagine this photograph was from a glass negative. The man that was first to the left in the back row is of poor quality almost as if  part of the background. The woman first to the right was blurred or grainy. The front tree looks out of focus. I believe everything else was clear. Other than quality of equipment or depth of field, I do not know why this would have happened.

You mentioned the dimensions of the picture. I do not believe that a paper negative could have been that large for an average person to have. It was about this time that George Eastman was greatly improving the paper negative. Probably too expensive for an average person. Eastman Kodak Company had a stranglehold on the film at this time. If the new paper negatives were not used then the photograph would have been enlarged and I do not see the grain associated with that time period cameras, film or darkrooms if the picture was enlarged. My guess is that the photograph was taken from a glass negative.

The lighting needed to be improved to the left side a little. The depth of field is poor or it may have been taken by a professional photographer using a backdrop. Even today the backdrops may not be as focused as the main focal point for effect. Since this photo is so old the grayscale could have been photoshopped recently to improve the quality of an old picture. I do not see any fading induced  by time which is odd for a photograph this old.

I think this is a wonderful photograph, with all the names available. Thanks for sharing.

3 Answers

+5 votes
Best answer
This 1892 picture is in very good shape. I see children holding dolls, a little boy with his dog, a woman eating watermelon, and a woman pouring something out of a bottle into a glass.

There are baskets and buckets, dresses and skirts. Ribbons, bows and ties.

Clean faces, and bearded faces. The young and the old.

Robert, you have covered everyone and everything in this picture, which is why it is WikiTree perfect.

Thank you for sharing.
by Cheryl Hess G2G Astronaut (1.6m points)
selected by Susan Laursen
Thank you, sweet Susan, for selecting my answer.
+3 votes
Robert this photo is wonderful, they look like they had a fantastic picnic.

Everyone on the photo look so amazing and how magnificent you have there name too

Thank You for sharing this wonderful photo
by Susan Laursen G2G Astronaut (2.8m points)
+2 votes

Everyone named! How unusual for a photo of a large group of people. Shame the dog isn’t identified. smiley

An excellent photo. Very clear.

by Pip Sheppard G2G Astronaut (2.1m points)

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