« Tiny Bookworm »


I have pointed out in previous posts that from the beginnings of studio photography, the convention of using a book as a prop was a way to signal that the subject was serious-minded and interested in knowledge; at a time when a classical education was unusual even for females whose families could afford it, we see photos of young girls and women of all ages holding a book (though in some instances it was a bible and was meant to indicate piety). Certainly this was not always a pretension, but what intrigued and amused me here is that I had never seen it employed in a photo of someone so young, so I imagined the following explanation by her fond parents:

"Yes, our little Myrtle was never one for toys, even as a baby. She began reading at 5 months and by the time this photograph was taken it was not the normal doll or toy animal for her, no, she lugged her usual hefty tome along to the studio. No, I don't remember what she was reading, but we should have warned the photographer; he really didn't understand the situation, so when he decided to take the book away from her to get a more conventional childlike pose, she bit him! No, she actually bit him on the hand! She was really a very sweet child but you would never want to come between her and her book. It was unfortunate. The atmosphere was somewhat testy after that, so this was the only photo we got that day. It's not a bad likeness though; she always was a serious child."

Absurd, of course. No one will know why she had the book or why the photographer thought she should be holding something. Maybe she really was a difficult child. It's one for the collection though, don't you think?

Taken by T. A. Dunlap, Bloomfield, Iowa. The tiny bookworm is Myrtle Abernathy.

Reader Comments (5)

This is very curious indeed. Can you read the title of the book?

November 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDon Williams

Occasionally you can read titles (see previous entry, An Afternoon At The Old Fishing Hole), I tried my best on this one but the resolution is not sufficient even on a scan of 1200 ppi. I really doubt that it is a children's book or that it belonged to the child; probably something the photographer gave her for some strange reason; you would have thought he might have had something smaller or more appropriate - which is of course why I came up with the totally absurd scenario.

November 9, 2009 | Registered CommenterTimebinder

These lv handbags have loads of space inside, allowing the woman to carry all the necessary stuff around. For the seasoned globetrotter, lv wallets has created the unique looking Travel Shopper set of shoulder louis vuitton purses . For the woman on the move, these bags are must-have accessories.

July 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterlouis vuitton

This was a really admirable topic! I was luck to come cross your website in digg Also I get much in your theme really thank your article very much i will come later.replica designer shoes

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDelores R. Karry

Saints Jersey
Patriots Jersey
Tedy Bruschi Jersey
Tom Brady Jersey
Wes Welker Jersey
Drew Brees Jersey
Lance Moore Jersey
BenJarvus Green-Ellis Jersey

Archie Manning Jersey
Bobby Hebert Jersey
Darren Sharper Jersey
Deuce McAllister Jersey
Devery Henderson Jersey
Garrett Hartley Jersey
Jeremy Shockey Jersey
Jonathan Vilma Jersey
Malcolm Jenkins Jersey
Marques Colston Jersey
Mike Bell Jersey
Morten Andersen Jersey
Patrick Robinson Jersey
Pierre Thomas Jersey
Reggie Bush Jersey
Rickey Jackson Jersey
Robert Meachem Jersey
Scott Fujita Jersey
Sedrick Ellis Jersey
Tracy Porter Jersey
Andre Tippett Jersey
Danny Woodhead Jersey
Deion Branch Jersey
Devin McCourty Jersey
Fred Taylor Jersey
Irving Fryar Jersey
Jerod Mayo Jersey
John Hannah Jersey
Julian Edelman Jersey
Laurence Maroney Jersey
Leigh Bodden Jersey
Randy Moss Jersey Shop featuring Sports Apparel and Fan Gear
An New Orleans Saints fan? Then our New Orleans Saints shop can help you make your dream come true. Here you can find New Orleans Saints jerseys you want with all kinds of styles and colors. It's easy to get, just click your mouse. Here you can choose many types of Saints jerseys, such as authentic jerseys, premier jerseys, and replica jerseys, they are all of high quality. They are made of high-quality polyester two-way stretch pique fabric and has solid mesh inserts for ventilation. You can also see many jerseys of hot players such as Drew Brees, Jonathan Vilma and so on; you can choose what you like best from them. They are all free shipping and not tax.

November 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersaints Jersey

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>