The Folks Out Back

Folks-out-back-detSome of the glass negatives shot by John B. Capewell are in terrific shape with crisp, sharp images that reproduce beautifully while others are somewhat worse for wear. This is one of the latter sadly. It’s a little blurry which is maddening because there are a lot of details in this shot begging to be discerned and identified.

The faces are hard to read so I’m not sure whether these may be members of Capewell’s family we’ve seen before in earlier posts. The man standing at the barrel or churn resembles Capewell’s father, but it’s hard to say definitively.

Folks-out-backI’m not sure where this is shot. It may be Westville, New Jersey where the Capewells resided, but there’s no way of telling. I thought it sort of looked like the back of a shop in a town’s business section. Capewell thought it was important enough to record these people and this place for posterity. Maybe some sharp eyed reader out there can identify the place. Feel free to make comments in the comments section below or at our Facebook page.

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!

Last Week: Henry & Young John in Younger Days

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7 Responses to The Folks Out Back

  1. agitating the laundry?

  2. Joe_Williams says:

    I’m not sure. I thought it might be a churn or ice cream maker.

  3. Joe:

    This is the back of 458 Kaighns Avenue in Camden, New Jersey. Mark Anthony Capewell Jr., a glassblower, resided in the house to the left (456 Kaighns). Mary Anthony Capewell Sr. was a cigar maker and retailer. The machine on the porch is a hand-powered washing machine. The large wheel operated the plungers that worked the clothing inside while the small crank on the side of the machine rotated the drum inside the barrel.

    Another great image from the Capewell Collection!

    Best regards,

  4. Joe_Williams says:

    INCREDIBLE, Jerseyman! Thanks! The image is fairly poor so I didn’t think anybody would be able to make heads or tails out of it. You even knew the address! How? Are there other pictures of this place floating around?

    Washing machine makes the most sense since there is a clothes line right there.

    Wasn’t sure if that was Mark Anthony by the washing machine. This fellow looks fairly spry compared to the other pictures I have of him. It’s probably one of the older photos in the collection.

    Thanks, again!

  5. I agree that the image includes Mark Anthony at the washing machine and that it is one of the oldest images in the collection.

    To verify the location, I observed the urban buildings surrounding the rear yard, checked Camden City Directories (after assuming the view was in Camden) and then checked the 1906 Sanborn Map Company fire insurance map for that address on which everything matches perfectly!

    If I had the ability to attach an image to this reply, I would include a detail from that map!

    Best regards,

  6. Joe_Williams says:

    At the risk of repeating myself, INCREDIBLE, Jerseyman!!! Thanks so much!

  7. Tina says:

    From 1911 to well into the 60’s – 458 Kaighn was the home of Friedenberg’s Bridal Shoppe.

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