Mystery photo – are these Day family women?

Five unknown ladies, about 1905

Five unknown ladies, about 1905

I love old pictures, and love to solve the mysteries associated with them. Who are the subjects? When was the photo taken? It doesn’t even have to be my own relatives in the picture – the challenge is just is fun. However, the reward of solving the mystery is greater when it is my own family, and it makes the individuals I’m researching come alive.

The photo above is quite a mystery. The picture recently came to me by way of my aunt, who had priceless treasures that she entrusted to my care. Here is what is known:

  • Cormany photo studio, where the photo was taken, operated in Duluth, Minnesota from 1887 to 1888.
  • The studio apparently moved locations in 1889, and continued 307 West Superior in Duluth through 1890.
  • In 1894, the studio was situated in Minneapolis
  • In the 1880s and 1890s, Cormany Studio had photographers in Princeton, Minnesota.
  • The studio continued as late as 1914, when Gilbert Maggert published in the Princeton Union his rental of the studio’s premises and equipment “in all its locations”

Based on the clothing and hairstyles, a date of about 1900 to 1905 seems appropriate for this photo.

The left appears to be Susan Stanwood, who would have been 15 in 1900.


Susan Stanwood, born 15 May 1885


Susan or a relative?

The woman in the top right of the picture strongly resembles Susan’s mother’s cousin, Sarah (Day) Hughes:

Sarah (Day) Hughes

Relative of Sarah?

Sarah (Day) Hughes, born in 1851, was far too old to be the subject in our photo.  However, she bears a striking resemblance to the woman in the upper right and was clearly a relative. Sarah’s family resided in Plymouth, Minnesota in 1900; Susan lived in Northfield, but often visited her older sister Georgiana (Stanwood) Cravens in Princeton, so it is likely that Susan posed for this photograph at Cormany studio with her relatives.

If you can help solve my photo mystery, please drop me a line below!

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