Saturday, August 01, 2015

Americans (IV)

Guss Crader

Finally, a name we can trace; the reverse of this snapshot photograph bears an inscription from one Elder Guss Crader of Jennings, Louisiana.

I don't know whether Crader was the man in the dark hat and possible clerical collar at left, or the other man, or neither; the identities of both men were presumably known to the recipient. There were both black and white Craders in the Jennings area, and several alternative spellings, but the sender was probably the Gustave Crader, "negro," whom census records indicate was born in Jennings in 1879. By 1910 he had married a woman named Rosa and was living in Grayburg, Texas, but in 1920 and 1930 he and Rosa were back in Jennings again. His occupation is listed as "pastor" in the 1930 census, and he was employed by the Holiness Church. The photo is undated but I'm guessing it is from the 1920s or '30s. The inscription, with two spelling errors corrected and the Bible verses interpolated, reads:
here is 2 men you can have them if you know them now mind you they are yet Friends Looking for the hope of him that Said St. John 15:14 [Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you] and we are on the way to the Church as Said in Heb 10 C: 25 [Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching] and we are glad as Said in Psalm 1.22:1 [I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD] this Picture was taken at John your Brothers house with you and husband in mind wrote By Elder Guss Crader of Jennings La
There's an interesting border around the picture, showing what I take to be artist's palettes and easels. The number 31 has been stamped on the back.

Vivian Garrett

Though this portrait is smaller than the previous one, everything else about it suggests a common origin. The photographic paper stock is very similar, there is a border (though a different one), and a number (12) stamped on the back. I haven't been able to identify Vivian Garrett, but I suspect she was also from Jennings and would have been known to the same two men.


The dealer I obtained these photos from thought that this photo might also have come from Louisiana; I suspect it's later than the other two images. On the back, in a reminder of the fleeting nature of life and the inevitability of loss, is the following note: "this is Laurence it was taken about a week before he died"; the "u" in his name could also be a "w." There is something — it may well be a camera — slung over his shoulder. In the background, just to his left but almost invisible in this scan, is a Coca-Cola sign and another sign, almost legible, that may be for a bar or restaurant (see closeup at bottom of page). There's still a trace of a smile on Laurence's face.

Census records indicate that Guss and Rosa Crader had a son named Lawrence, born in 1901 or 1902, but I suspect that's just a coincidence.

More to come.

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