“The past is the present, isn’t it? It’s the future too.”
— EUGENE O’NEILL, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Looking back at the oldest people we knew as children, history starts to take on a very personal perspective. Someone’s grandfather, with his handlebar mustache, was born in the last quarter of the nineteenth-century, so his father was alive at the time of the Civil War and fought with the Confederate army. An elderly next-door neighbor, with gray braids worn hat-like on top of her head, had emigrated from the Germany of Wilhelm I. An ancient Quebecois spoke of the Boer War as if it were yesterday.
By listening to people and reading their expressions, events take on personal meanings and it doesn’t take too much imagination to transport you further and further back. History is, after all, about people and their stories, and their stories often show up vividly in their faces.
Nothing illustrates the truth of this as well as spending time with old photographs. And certainly it’s reason enough to put together miscellaneous selections of these culled from dozens of albums, boxes, and scrapbooks. In this and future editions of the website you’ll be offered assorted glimpses of the past. Enjoy!