Backstage Pass to North Dakota History

This blog takes you behind the scenes of the State Historical Society of North Dakota. Get a glimpse at a day-in-the-life of the staff, volunteers, and partners who make it all possible. Discover what it takes to preserve North Dakota's natural and cultural history.

Happy New Year? Remembering Y2K in the Museum Collections

While we look upon most new years with great anticipation and excitement for the possibilities of what the upcoming 12 months will bring, the preparations for the turn of the millennium brought fear and trepidation along with hope. Faced with the prospect of calamitous computer problems posed by the Y2K bug, people prepared to shelter in place or alternately to “party like it's 1999.”

Some artifacts in the museum collections show the variety of activities and emotions associated with the coming of the new millennium.

The specter of Y2K brought worries that computers in financial institutions such as banks wouldn’t be able to handle changing internal computer calendars from 1999 to 2000. Since many programs represented years by their final two digits, the concern was that systems, unable to differentiate 2000 from 1900, would crash and all the money in our accounts would be lost. This led some people to withdraw all their money from the bank with the plan of depositing it all back in early January. To prevent a run, bankers tried to quiet these fears by assuring their customers that their money was safe.

SHSND 2002.120.1-2

The U.S. government also did its part to assure people that Y2K wasn’t Armageddon in the pamphlet “Y2K & You: a new horizon” published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This pamphlet contained information on a variety of topics such as “The History of the Y2K ‘Millennium Bug’” and “What Are State Governments Doing,” aimed at calming a jittery public.

SHSND 2007.33.1-2

Churches also did their best to help bring hope for peace with the new millennium. Faith Lutheran Church in Bismarck included a notice on the back cover of its Christmas program inviting the congregation to attend a vigil on December 31, 1999, at 11:30 p.m., with a candlelight walk through the neighborhood at midnight.

SHSND 2003.19.10

For those who were “gonna party like it’s 1999,” there were lots of fun items to help with the celebrations. Along with the traditional party hats, noisemakers, and napkins, one could pick up a pair of 2000-shaped novelty eyeglasses or some confetti to toss at midnight. And for the big toast, a bottle of sparkling wine and a “Happy 2000” balloon could help you ring in the new year in style.

Celebratory accoutrements for the new millennium. SHSND 2003.19.1-9, 2004.5.9

There were also everyday items made a little extra special for the new year. M&M’s made special edition “Millennium Party Boxes” with its famous candies in confetti colors. (Though to be honest, aren’t they already in confetti colors?) It looks like brown was replaced by purple. Inside each box was a fun New Year’s resolution that the different M&M characters made. I particularly like Yellow’s resolution “to stay away from people who only love me for my shell. It’s what’s inside that counts, right?” No one can argue with that!

SHSND 2004.5.5-8

Not only was 2000 the start of a new millennium, it was also the start of a new century. Calendars were made to remember the previous century while this child’s calendar helped to document the firsts of the new century.

SHSND 2004.5.3-4

Looking back at that time we can see the fears were largely unfounded, and for most of us 2000 was just another reason to celebrate and be able to say we lived in two centuries and two millenniums! So here is wishing you all a very happy new year in 2024.

A Work in Progress: Refining the State Museum Collections

Museums continuously accept new objects for their collections. They must also re-evaluate their existing collections, identifying those items that are redundant, lack documentation, or don’t meet their mission. Instead of holding on to items taking up valuable space, museum staff will help make room for new objects by looking for other museums where the objects would be more relevant.

Over the years, the State Historical Society has been able to give artifacts to other museums in North Dakota and across the country. A thresher, our third one, was taking up a lot of our storage space, so this was sent to the South Central Threshing Association in Braddock.

The South Central Threshing Association received this circa 1900 thresher from the State Historical Society.

It also made sense to donate two World War I German machine guns. Not only did we already have one on exhibit, but these two were incomplete, would never be displayed, and were taking up much-needed storage space in our gun vault. Due to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) regulations, there are only limited museums or organizations that are allowed to possess machine guns. We first offered to return them to the original donor, the North Dakota Office of the Adjutant General. We next offered them to the National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas City. They were very pleased to be able to add these guns to their museum.

We donated these German machine guns to the National WWI Museum and Memorial.

In turn, we have accepted artifacts with a strong North Dakota connection from other museums. This 1884-89 Dakota National Guard uniform was offered to us from the Wisconsin Veterans Museum in Madison. The brass buttons on the coat and hat feature the seal of Dakota Territory and “Dakota N.G.” While we are not sure who owned these items, they are a unique example of the territorial National Guard’s uniforms. Similar ones do not exist in any collection in North Dakota or South Dakota. Given its rarity, we decided it would be an important addition to the state’s collections as an example of an early National Guard uniform.

Dakota National Guard uniform coat and kepi cap. SHSND 2001.48.1-.2

Recently, we accepted an Icelandic askur (covered eating bowl) from the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah, Iowa. This askur has a very detailed history. It was originally owned by the Rev. Hans Baagøe Thorgrimsen who emigrated from Iceland in 1872. He served Norwegian and Icelandic congregations in Mountain and Grand Forks. The vessel’s Icelandic origins meant that it was outside the typical collecting scope for the Vesterheim, but the owner’s North Dakota connections made it a very interesting addition for our collections.

This Icelandic askur was a gift from the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum. SHSND 2022.60.1

These five ballot boxes with limited documented history were offered to us from the McLean County Historical Society Museum in Washburn. We already had similar items; however, we accepted the ballot boxes for educational use at the 1883 Stutsman County Courthouse State Historic Site in Jamestown. Since these are educational props instead of artifacts, the ballot boxes can be used in programming and made available for audiences to touch, open, and use as innovative learning tools.

Five ballot boxes from the McLean County Historical Society Museum have found a new home at the 1883 Stutsman County Courthouse State Historic Site.

Moving forward, we are continuing to evaluate our collections, looking for new homes for items that have limited North Dakota history or are overrepresented in the state museum collections. We are also open to accepting items from other museums that will further help us tell the story of North Dakota and the people who live here.

A Historian’s Adventures in Entomology (aka “Other Duties as Assigned”)

I like to consider myself a historian specializing in textiles. I am in my element when I can talk to visitors about quilts or catalog a lovely dress. As curator of collections management here at the State Museum, I can also hold my own when it comes to talking about a variety of subjects from furniture to guns. Bugs are a whole different matter, however. While I have a background in science, the only thing I know about insects are which ones are dangerous to museum collections and the phone number for our pest control professional who can take care of them.

When we were offered and accepted a cabinet containing a collection of butterflies and moths, I was mildly concerned about cataloging them, but the opportunity to get a butterfly collection that represents the upper Midwest was too important to let those concerns get in the way. In the summer of 2021, I was able to find the perfect intern, a museum studies student with an interest in entomology. Mary Johnson, a graduate student at the Cooperstown Graduate Program at SUNY Oneonta, had exactly the background we needed to get the collection cataloged. Unfortunately, we could only fund the internship for 2 1/2 months, and there were well over 1,000 insects to identify and catalog! It was impossible for her to catalog the whole collection. (You can read about her project and others in this blog written by our interns last summer.) This meant someone would have to catalog the rest. But who? (Insert the sound of crickets chirping here. And no, they are not from the collection drawers!) As fate would have it, it fell on me—a history person, a textile person, and a quilter—to identify and catalog drawers full of butterflies and moths.

While butterflies are beautiful, they are way out of my sphere of knowledge. The butterflies I am used to working with look more like these and are embroidered with thread and yarn.

Close-up of quilts from the State Museum collection. SHSND 17662, 1981.93.1

Still, I had a couple of things going for me. First, collectors house like specimens together so a drawer might be one genus and the various species in that genus will be lined up together. Even so, when faced with a drawer like the one below, it can be a bit daunting for someone without an entomology background.

SHSND 2021.10.434-.467

My second help was that Mary made a guide for each drawer. She photographed the drawer and labeled or at least narrowed down the possibilities of which species the various groups of butterflies belonged to.

Lastly, some but not all of the specimens were identified by the collector. Some but not all also had collection locations identified, which helped when a species is found in a specific area.

Here is an example of a butterfly with full identifying information, including where and when it was found, its species, and who found it. SHSND 2021.10.461

But many specimens had little or no information.

Sorry, folks, but the “From Clyde” tag doesn’t help me much. SHSND 2021.10.455

When I was lucky and a butterfly’s species was noted on a tag, I could safely assume the butterflies in the same column were also of that species. When identifications didn’t agree, I felt I needed to verify the species. I also knew that as research has evolved, species names have changed; animals once thought to be different species might now be combined in the same species, or animals thought to be the same species might be separated due to what my untrained eye sees as a minor variation. With many of these specimens collected and identified nearly 50 years ago, changes were a possibility.

But how was I going to verify the identification? I did what anybody else would do—I turned to the internet. In the past, internet searches have helped me with everything from how to tie a necktie to how to wear a Bohemian folk costume to the names for various parts of a saddle, and I was hoping it wouldn’t let me down when it came to identifying butterflies. I found many websites. Some were scientifically written and over my head; others were geared toward kids and way too simple. A few were written for folks like me using plain English with enough detail to help me identify different species. Even with the collector’s notes, Mary’s notes, and help from websites, trying to decide if a specimen was an eastern tiger swallowtail, a Canadian tiger swallowtail, or a western tiger swallowtail wasn’t easy.

“Other duties as assigned” is a broad category I never would I have thought would include butterfly identification. But the task turned out to be an interesting adventure for this historian and has given me a better appreciation for the work of all scientists.

The Linda Slaughter Painting and the Meaning of Conservation, Preservation, Restoration, and Repairs

As curator of collections management, I get asked from time to time if we ever restore artifacts at the State Historical Society of North Dakota. The easy answer to that is no. But then the visitor will point out the recent work carried out on the Linda Slaughter painting. This is when we have a little conversation about what we mean by conservation, preservation, restoration, and repairs.

A painted portrait of a woman with long, dark curls in her hair, an orange choker necklace with pearls forming a circle in the middle, a longer pearl nexklace, and an off the hsoulder dress or blouse with lacy fringe and a blue bow in the middle at chest level. The painting is framed in a light colored wood.

Portrait of Linda Slaughter before conservation. SHSND 2920

On the surface, conservation, preservation, restoration, and repairs all seem to imply the same thing, but in the museum world each is very different. Repairs mean fixing something that is broken or torn. For instance, if someone glues a vase back together or sews up a hole in a garment, they are repairing it.

Restoration is the process of taking an object back to a nearly new condition. Think about the person in the garage restoring a 1964 Mustang to how it looked coming off the factory floor. They usually have no issues repainting the body or getting the necessary new parts. This is why we don’t restore artifacts at the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum. Restoration erases the artifact’s signs of use. How an item was used is part of an object’s history, and we don’t want to destroy the history.

Preservation is preventing damage and reducing the rate of deterioration that all artifacts experience. This is what we strive for here at the State Museum and is in line with best practices at most other museums.

Finally, conservation aims to improve the condition of an artifact by stabilizing its physical problems and addressing surface disfigurement caused by deterioration and/or damage. Conservators strive to retain as much of the original materials as possible, but their work should always be reversable and not cause damage to the object in the long run. Conservators are highly trained individuals with advanced degrees, which include knowledge of art history, chemistry, and other sciences. They are also usually talented artists.

Occasionally, I will repair an object—this usually involves sewing a button that has fallen off a garment back on so it can be exhibited. Even then, the repair is documented with before-and-after photographs as well as a report of what was done, including all materials used. But most of the time what I do is preservation. I make sure that the artifacts’ environment is correct, that the lights are not too bright to cause fading, that there are no bugs or vermin to damage the artifacts, and that any materials we use around the artifacts are acid free, inert, or archivally safe.

Every so often, we will have a damaged artifact that requires the services of a trained conservator. The painting of Linda Slaughter—pioneer educator, author, and activist—is an example of such an item. In preparation for the 150th anniversary of Bismarck’s founding later this spring, we began thinking about what artifacts could be used to mark the occasion. We all know the significant role Slaughter played in the early years of Bismarck and North Dakota and thought her painting would be an excellent way to explore these important contributions. (For an excellent intro to Slaughter’s fascinating life and achievements, see this earlier blog post by Manuscript Archivist Emily Kubischta.)

But we had a problem. There was a large tear in the neck of the portrait, which had been badly repaired in the past. Also, the varnish had yellowed with age, and we would later find out there was other damage. I am not a trained conservator, and this kind of damage is well beyond anything I would attempt.

A close-up of the neck portion of a portrait painting showing a tear in the canvas.

Close-up of damage to neck.

The back of a framed painting showing a ton of dirt on the canvas

Previous repair to the tear in the neck included gluing a piece of fabric to the back to stabilize the edges. Courtesy MACC

In August 2018 we took the painting to the Midwest Art Conservation Center (MACC) in Minneapolis for an evaluation and cost estimate for the conservation.

Once the process began, Alexa Beller, a painting conservator at MACC, wrote to say, “I have consolidated the tears, punctures, and areas of loss with a stable adhesive to prevent additional loss of paint. I then cleaned the verso [back] of the canvas with a dry brush, vacuum, and soot sponges. There was a bulge running across the lower edge of the canvas caused by lots of dirt and debris trapped between the canvas and stretcher.”

The back of a framed painting showing a bunch of dirt on the canvas with dirty sponges sitting below

Back of painting with the dirty sponges used to clean it. Courtesy MACC

In her email Beller also noted, “After lots of testing, I then began to clean the recto [front] of the painting with a pH adjusted aqueous [water] solution to remove the accumulated grime. I reduced the discolored natural resin varnish with a solvent mixture after additional testing. This solution also reduced some spots of discolored overpaint across the surface. There was additional grime and dirt trapped underneath the old varnish, so I made a second pass with the same aqueous solution. ... Reduction of the varnish revealed clearer tonality and more details in the figure’s hair and face.”

A painted portrait of a woman with long, dark curls in her hair, an orange choker necklace with pearls forming a circle in the middle, a longer pearl nexklace, and an off the hsoulder dress or blouse with lacy fringe and a blue bow in the middle at chest level. The left half of the painting shows it as it was before being cleaned, and the right half shows it after being cleaned. It is much brighter after being cleaned.

Slaughter portrait showing the right half of the canvas after cleaning. Courtesy MACC

Beller also told us in her email: “After cleaning I began to remove the three patches on the verso and their adhesive residues with a scalpel. ... I then locally humidified these areas to relax the tears and punctures into alignment in preparation for mending tears and canvas inserts for the punctures.”

Beller put in weeks of work just on testing, observing, planning, and cleaning the painting. It then took months more to finish the work, as she needed to repair the tears and holes, apply a new varnish, and fill in the areas of paint loss. It is a slow process to let materials dry, settle, and cure.

Part of the process involved applying a new stable and non-yellowing synthetic resin varnish to the surface. Beller explained, “This allowed me to really see all the fully saturated colors and tones to begin filling the losses with a pigmented wax mixture and inpainting abrasions and losses with a conservation-grade synthetic resin medium. The inpainting materials we use are always selected to remain colorfast and fully reversible in solvents that will not adversely affect the original paint if my work ever needs to be removed.”

A woman with long, dark hair bulled back in a low ponytail wearing a dark blue shirt with a white shirt under it is touching up a painting of woman's portrait.

Conservator Alexa Beller works on inpainting areas of paint loss. Courtesy MACC

During the last stages of the conservation, Beller noticed some odd lines in the composition that seemed to be compositional changes. She wrote: “Sometimes this happens when an artist changes their sketch in the early stages of painting and continues on top of the older version. … With the grime and old varnish removed, the changes in this composition became slightly more visible to the naked eye.” Using an infrared camera that can detect underdrawings, Beller identified several changes to Slaughter’s necklace.

A grayscale infrared image of a painting of a woman shows pencil sketches where the artist orignially was going to place the necklaces the woman is wearing.

Infrared image showing the artist’s changes. Courtesy MACC

Our early records of the painting indicate that it arrived in the collection with a gilt frame. At some point the canvas was removed from the frame, and that frame was lost. While the current frame was nice, it wasn’t in a style typical of the late 1880s, and we decided that the portrait needed a new frame. We contacted Minneapolis-area framers for ideas and ultimately selected Andrew Webster of Master Framers to carry out the work. Webster and his team built a custom 1880s-style gilt-and-wood frame, which features current conservation techniques such as a lining on the inside of the frame to prevent future damage to the portrait. And since the frame was built specifically for this painting it provides a perfect and secure fit.

Before and after pictures of a painting of a woman. The left painting is darker and more dull witha  light wood frame. The right painting is brighter and has a very dark frame lined with a gold color around the painting.

The painting before (left) and after conservation.

The Slaughter painting is now ready for the State Historical Society to use in upcoming exhibits. And with proper handling and environmental conditions, the painting should continue to look great for a hundred years or more.

Fragments of History

Within the State Historical Society of North Dakota collections, we have lots of fragments. The archaeologists have fragments of stone that come from the manufacturing of tools. These flakes help them understand how the tools were made and used on the site where they were found Paleontologists have fragments of bones that help them better understand prehistoric life and the environment the animals lived in. But are fragments of buildings, ships, or other historic artifacts the best way to understand the times and the people who used or built them? Yes and no.

In the museum collections, we have rust scales, a splinter of wood, and a metal plaque that have a connected history.

A memorial plaque for the U.S.S. Maine. There is an image of a person holding a shield. To the left side of the plaque are a few small pieces.

How are these objects connected?

Let’s take a closer look at these fragments of history to see what they can tell us about a time in our past. The rust scales are believed to be from the mast of the battleship USS Maine, the splinter of wood is said to be from the Spanish cruiser Reina Cristina, and the plaque is a memorial made of metal from the hull of the USS Maine.

To understand the connection these three pieces have, we will have to go back to the late 1890s when the United States was not the global power it is today. There were no new lands our country could claim, and we were looking to acquire more territory. The only option was to get the lands from a global power, one way or another. At that time, Cuba was controlled by the militarily weak Spain. Under the guise of helping the Cuban people revolt against the Spanish, the United States sailed the USS Maine into Havana Harbor in January 1898. On Feb. 15, there was an explosion that ripped a hole through the hull of the Maine, sinking the ship and killing 260 sailors. Of course, the Spanish were assumed to be responsible despite the lack of evidence. President McKinley tried to reach a compromise with the Spanish government, but publishers like William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer whipped up American sentiment against the Spanish with slogans like “Remember the Maine, to Hell with Spain!” By April 21, McKinley succumbed to a variety of pressures from the press, the public, and politicians and signed a joint congressional resolution that authorized him to use force to supposedly help Cuba gain independence. Shortly thereafter war was declared, and we were now fighting the Spanish-American war.

A few years earlier, in 1896, Theodore Roosevelt, then the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, got his friend Commander George Dewey the post of Commander of the Asiatic Squadron. Shortly after the start of the Spanish-American War, Dewey was charged with either capturing or destroying the Spanish Pacific fleet that was near the Spanish-controlled Philippines. Dewey entered Manilla Bay on the night of April 30. The following morning, they began the attack. It took them six hours to defeat the Spanish Pacific Squadron. One of the ships sunk that day was Spanish Admiral Patricio Montojo’s flagship, the Reina Cristina.

By Aug. 13, 1898, Spain surrendered, and Cuba was a protectorate of the United States, which now also had control of Guam and Puerto Rico. By 1902, the U.S. also had control over the Philippine Islands after fighting and defeating the Filipino people. Our country had become a global power with territories in the Caribbean and in the Pacific.

In 1912 the United States raised the USS Maine, which was partially submerged in Havana Harbor. The mast was relocated to Arlington National Cemetery as a memorial to the USS Maine. Lt. C.L. Hansen, U.S. Navy, was a cadet at Annapolis and obtained these rust scales from the mast. He sent them to his father, Mr. C.L. Hansen of Bismarck, who presented them to the State Historical Society in 1921.

Rust scales from the mast of the U.S.S. Maine

Rust scales from the mast of the USS Maine. SHSND 2075

Pieces of the hull of the USS Maine were salvaged and recast into over 1,000 memorial plaques in 1913. Each plaque is numbered; ours is 351. According to our files, it was given to a relative of a man who died aboard the Maine. We don’t know the name of the sailor or the relative who received the plaque. It went through many hands—some unnamed, others named—before coming to Sister Quintin at the St. Joseph School in Mandan, who donated it to the State Historical Society in 1945.

Memorial plaque made from metal salvaged from the U.S.S. Maine

Memorial plaque made from metal salvaged from the USS Maine. SHSND 10116

As mentioned, the Spanish Admiral Montojo’s flagship, the Reina Cristina, was sunk in Manilla Bay by Dewey’s forces. Unfortunately, we don’t know who or under what circumstances the splinter of wood was collected, but in that kind of a battle, we must wonder how they knew that this piece of wood was even from the Reina Cristina. It reminds me of the multitude of pieces of the true cross that are in churches throughout the world.

Splinter of wood from teh Spanish ship Reina Cristina

Splinter of wood from the Spanish ship Reina Cristina. SHSND 4434

Even knowing the history behind these “fragments of history,” one must wonder if it is the meaning that we imbibe into the artifact that is more important than the object itself.

These seemingly inconsequential “fragments of history” are related to an interesting time in our history. But are they meaningful artifacts on their own? The rust scales and splinter of wood came into our collection when most people still did remember the Maine, and it was a much different time in our collecting strategy. With the uncertain provenance of the wood and the fragmentary nature of the rust scales, it is unlikely that we would accept either if they were offered to us today. While we don’t have a full history of who was the original recipient of the plaque, it tells a complete story by itself, and we would probably accept it now if it were offered. While searches for records of which serial number went where have proven to be in vain, we can only hope that one day we will find that elusive piece of the puzzle. So yes, fragments of historic objects can help us understand the times and people who used and built them by showing us what others thought were important artifacts of history. I have to think: What items have we collected in the past 20 years that will cause people a hundred years in the future to scratch their heads and wonder why we accepted them into the collection?

A 1930s Timeless Black Dress Still Stuns Today

Every woman seems to search for that timeless black dress that looks fabulous and helps them feel fabulous, that they can wear for years and will never go out of style. Fortunately for Donna Weinrebe of Minot, she had no problem finding that elusive dress. In 1936, when Donna was a student at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, she wore this lovely gown to a college dance. While it was the height of fashion in 1936, this dress is still fashionable today.

Two side by side images of a black felvet dress. The first image has a matching short sleeved coat over the top of it. It is a full-length, sleeveless dress that is somewhat form fitting with a matching belt around the waist.

Worn to a University of North Dakota dance, this timeless black velvet gown was donated to the museum collection by Donna Weinrebe in1990. SHSND 1990.253.7

This dress was made for drama. The floor-length, Grecian-inspired gown was created from a luscious black velvet fabric that one of my co-workers described as a “black hole of gorgeousness.” It is sleeveless with a scoop neck and a peekaboo slit down the back. Blousy and loose at the top, the dress is fitted at the waist and hips. A matching belt helps to accentuate the narrow waist. To not distract from the dress, the belt buckle and button at the back are covered in the same velvet fabric.

The back of a black velvet dress. It shows an opening going down the middle of it to just above the waist.

The matching bolero jacket is the one piece that dates the outfit. In the 1930s, puffed sleeves on dresses were in fashion to exaggerate the shoulder and make the waist appear smaller. These puffed sleeves were made with five rows of corded pleats to provide more volume.

A black velvet jacket that clips together at the neck with short sleeves that are puffed.

Although not on exhibit in our upcoming fashion exhibit, Donna also wore this gorgeous coat made of the same black velvet and lined in white silk with the dress. The stylish, loose hood would help to keep the wearer warm and her hair in place on cold North Dakota nights. There is only one button at the neckline of the coat. The coat is held closed by ties and an interior loop at the waist.

A full length, hooded, long sleeved black velvet coat. There is a button at the neckline and ties around the waist.

Matching coat. SHSND 1990.253.276

The women of the Weinrebe family were quite fashionable in their day, and this dress is no exception. Few clothing pieces stand the test of time, but by leaving the bolero jacket off, a woman could still attend an elegant event wearing this dress today. No one would know her fashion dates from the 1930s. What classic pieces are in your closet?

The black velvet fabric that makes this dress so lovely also makes it nearly impossible to photograph and capture the details. It is a dress you need to see in person to really appreciate. So, visit Fashion & Function: North Dakota Style when it opens soon to see this timeless dress!

Three older women in dresses stand holding an award. They each wear a white corsage on their left side.

The Weinrebe women of Minot displayed an elegant sense of fashion. Here Ethel is receiving the Minot Sertoma Club’s Service to Mankind award in 1974 with daughters Nita (left) and Donna (right). SHSND 10560.0002.00

A mother and two daughters pose for a picture. The mother wears a darc colored dress with white lace around the neck and cuffs and a white belt around the waist. The youngest child wears a  white puffy dress. The other child wears a dark colored dress with three white lines around the collar and wrists. She also wears a large bow in her hair.

The Weinrebe women were stylish at an early age. Daughters Nita and Donna pose for a portrait with their mother, Ethel, circa 1920. SHSND 10560.0002.00026

6 men sit and stand together while another man stands across from them looking down at something in his hands. The men wear sack suits featuring a boxy cut with a higher neck line and shorter lapels. They are all also wearing hats.

Julius Weinrebe, Donna’s father (seated), and his friends were also sporting national trends in men’s fashion. Notice their sack suits featuring a boxy cut with a higher neck and shorter lapels. Julius’s bowler hat was also the style choice of the day. Circa 1907. SHSND 10560.0002.00016