The Return of the Peculiar Trio

Peculiar-Trio-detLast week, I presented a photograph by John Capewell of a well-dressed trio situated oddly in an incongruous setting. This week , our peculiar trio is back in yet another strange setting.

They look to be surrounding a wagon that had some sort of tank in the back. A ramshackle campground looks to be before them with a spit in the foreground.

Peculiar-TrioThere are fields and what looks to be a farmhouse in the background. I don’t know where this was shot, but the South Jersey/Philadelphia area where Capewell lived had plenty of farms 100 or so years ago when this image was captured on photographic emulsion. It could be anywhere.

About The Capewell Glass Negative Collection

The Capewell Glass Negative Collection is a series of about 200 5-inch by 7-inch glass negatives shot early in the 20th Century by John Batt Capewell (1878-1951) of Westville, New Jersey. John passed the negatives down to his son Henry who left them in his wife’s possession upon his passing. Henry’s widow didn’t know what to do with them and didn’t particularly want them so she offered them to my Dad who couldn’t turn down anything. Ultimately I wound up with them and thought I would one day have photographic prints struck from them. That didn’t happen, but I came up with the digital workaround of placing the negatives on a lightbox and rephotographing them with a digital camera. The “processing” was then done on a computer with image editing software. They came out better than I thought they would so I thought I would show them off to the world on this site. Many of these pictures have not been seen in a century, and I’m proud to be presenting them today.

At first, I did not know who the people were in the photographs. I have a box of ephemera that accompanied the negatives and snagged a few clues from that as far as the Capewell name. I did some research on the internet and had a few false starts and wrong turns, but the readers of these posts have provided a remarkable amount of research and detail. I’m amazed at what people have turned up sifting through public records and such!

DSCN1555-negLast Week: Well-Dressed and Oddly Posed

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2 Responses to The Return of the Peculiar Trio

  1. John says:

    John sure had a nutty – and precocious – sense of humor. Way ahead of the Dadaists, The Goon Show, Monty Python, etc., etc.

  2. Joe_Williams says:

    That’s what I thought while reviewing these negatives. At the time these pictures were shot, entertainment consisted of primarily books and maybe a play in Philadelphia. There were picture shows, but radio was still experimental. Where did this strange sense of humor come from?

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