Back in my college days, I was taking a photography class, one of many as it was my major (obviously English was NOT!). During one semester our entire class went down for a week to Tonopah Nevada. If you have never been there, well, you haven’t missed much. I can say that we visited the “famous” Mitzpah Hotel, stayed in a shell of a home in the desert which is now owned and refurbished by some Richie Rich who put his heli-pad out there and we visited several underground nuclear test sites. If I ever get lung cancer it’s because I laid in the dirt that actually was registering on the Geiger counter. Boy did Peter Goin point out what a stupid move that was.
I had a great time and while most of my fellow photographers took landscape and abandoned building/mining/rock painting photos I hauled around a blow up sex doll I named Helga. She really got around. That’s right. My photo series was called Helga Does Tonopah. Just a taste for you.
Ok. Now that we got the dirty doll out of the way.
While in Tonopah a group of us found it fascinating to enter our fair share of abandoned homes. Don’t think we were alone in this. These places were a popular hangout for the teenagers of Tonopah, and several in our group were photographing these kids in their “natural” habitat. On one occasion I thought we were all going to die in a fire because the kids had a “campfire” burning on the second floor. Not in a fireplace mind you, BUT ON THE WOOD FLOOR! The ashes could be seen burning through and falling to the first floor. Ah, to be young again.
So let me get to the point of this blog.
One of the small homes that we poked around in had a small pile of rubbish pushed up into the corner. I, being the scavenger that I am, always poked and prodded looking for “treasures”. In this particular house I found one, a small photograph of a girl. This Daguerreotype is framed in metal and in typical folding frame of the time. Only one side exists as the other broke off at the hinge. Here is the image of the little girl. You will notice that her face and gold necklace have been hand painted.
Normally this sort of photo would be untraceable. But it is what is behind the photo that gives me some clues as to the family. It reads (to the best of my translation ability).
Jane Hollow Howard Chambers
Jane Hollow born Oct 19 –1858
Jane Hollar Howard Chambers
Jane Hollar born Oct 19 1858
Mother of Edith Gertrude Cain O’Rourke born Jan 2 - 1878Here is a photograph of the writing that was hidden behind the photo for all these years. If you have any suggestions as to corrections to my translation, please, let me know.
Please, share this blog with your friends, Facebook, twitter and other friends and help me return this photo to descendants of this family.