Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.
This week’s Sepia Saturday photo prompt depicts a lovely young woman adorned with some elegant jewelry. While many of the women in my family tree appreciated jewelry, their tastes were decidedly more modest than that of the woman in the prompt.
According to my aunt, my great-grandmother Mary Susan “Sudie” Eppard Rucker was considered a well-dressed woman. Her husband was a railroad conductor in the days when railroads were booming. I suppose she had to dress the part.
|Jet jewelry that belonged to Mary Sudie Rucker|
Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of her wearing her jet beads that now are mine. The triple strand was originally a long single strand which was popular among 1920s flappers who liked wearing a necklace that reached at least to their waist. Since Sudie would have been too old to be a flapper, maybe her jet beads were actually mourning beads. The somber color and simple design made them appropriate jewelry for women in mourning.
|Mary Sudie Rucker|
My sister is now the caretaker of Sudie’s ornamental hair comb. It is black, probably celluloid.
Turn of the century “big hair” required a little help. Enter the hair receiver.
A Victorian dresser set would have included a tray, a powder jar, and a hair receiver like the celluloid one I display on my dresser. The hole in the lid allowed a lady to fill the pot easily with hair removed from her brush and comb. When she gathered enough hair, she would stuff it into a cloth bag called a “ratt” that could then be tucked under her own hair to add volume and height.
I wish I could say this was Sudie’s dresser set and her hair receiver. However, supposedly this celluloid dresser set was my mother’s. She was a teen in the 40s, so it’s unlikely the set is turn of the century. Plus it’s in terrible condition, speckled with paint that probably resulted from being left out while a ceiling was being painted. And there is nail polish, of all things, on the lid of the hair receiver. Had this dresser set been valuable, Momma would have taken better care of it.
So why am I including it in a post about jewelry? Because of something weird we found in Sudie’s attic.
I was quite young but I remember visiting Grandma Rucker’s house one last time after she died.
In the attic we found a bag full of hair.
She must’ve been planning some big ratt!
Please visit my friends at Sepia Saturday. You can bet their posts are real gems.