Friday, August 11, 2017

Sepia Saturday: Hair Do's and Don'ts

Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.

This week’s Sepia Saturday photo of the young man posed with hand to cheek gives me an excuse to share a photo that I really DO NOT LIKE. Here is my most beloved grandaunt Violetta Davis (Ryan) posed likewise in that thoughtful way with hand to cheek.

Violetta Davis

For some time the reason for my dislike eluded me. After all, the photo is clear. There is an elaborately carved table and chair. I love Violetta’s velvet dress with sheer sleeves adding another layer of elegance to an already elegant and formal setting. So what is there NOT to like?

I finally figured it out. It’s her hair. Sorry, Violetta, those bangs were not a good look for you. The Violetta of my memory did not do bangs.

Not as a toddler.
Violetta Davis ca 1906

Not as a school girl.

Violetta Davis

Not as a college student

Violetta Davis  1923

nor as a graduate with a Master of Science degree in education

Violetta Davis

The young schoolmarm hairdo served her well throughout the 1930s.

Violetta Davis Ryan

Violetta Davis Ryan 1946-47
In the 1940s she changed things up. I can picture her wagging her finger and joining in with the Andrews Sisters singing “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B.”

Violetta Davis Ryan 1951-52 https://jollettetc.blogspot.comVioletta Davis Ryan 1952-53

In the 1950s, her beautiful grey hair was often pulled back allowing her to show off her earrings when she chose to do so.

1960s - Oh NO! A Perm! Aaaack -  Step away from the curling rods, please. Whew!

Violetta Davis Ryan 1960s

In her later years, Violetta’s hair always seemed wild and BIG to me. However, looking back now, I see that her hair was soft and wavy and, yes, BIG. And it suited her.

Violetta Davis Ryan 1981
Violetta in her living room
December 1981

With finger to your cheek, give some thought to visiting my friends at Sepia Saturday. You’ll get a bang out of it!

© 2017, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. Your first photograph matched the prompt so well with the pose and the elaborately carved chair. I liked the way you developed the theme with hair do's down the decades. My favourite look for Violetta was in the 1950's - such an elegant, classic, timeless style.

  2. Her hair was soft! I loved her wild look. She was just the coolest of cool.

    Glad I have that chair!

    VERY clever post Miss girl!

    Love your Tonette Twin,
    Mary Jollette

  3. Wow Master of Science Degree in Education! Quite an accomplishment for that time period! Looking at the pictures reminded me of seeing pictures of my mother in law over the years how her hair style changed reflecting the times. When I came to know her, she was at the stage where she got her hair done weekly and somehow managed to keep it looking good between shampoos and sets.


  4. Such a great collection of portraits of one woman throughout her life, and it works well to follow her hair do's. And your aunt certainly was a woman to be remembered well!

  5. You are right about those bangs. I remember when I really, really wanted bangs and my mother was adamant that I wasn't going to have them. Good thing too, wouldn't have been my best look.

  6. Wow! The 1940's makeover was radical!But,fair play to her,Violetta carried all her different styles well.

  7. My favorite photo has to be the one on the right in the 1950s duo. What a lovely-looking woman! She did well by all her later hairstyles - except maybe the tight perm. I liked the bangs look, but as it was so different I can understand why you didn't.

  8. What you call bangs are what we call a fringe I believe. They do make Violetta look quite different.

  9. I so love photo sets that let me see somebody age...and these of Violetta do exactly that! And I'm with Sue...the 1950s style was perfect for her!

  10. In the first photo the bangs didn't strike me as a problem until I looked at the rest of her photos. Your aunt has a beautiful face. I especially like the 1940s and 1950 photos best.

  11. She was quite lovely. I especially love the ones from the 50s. Was she a serene person?

  12. I love the hair theme - I might have to steal that from you at some point!

  13. WoW! What a lady to get her master's and all way back then. Makes this teacher proud, bangs or naught. Hello from New Zealand where I have a bit of relaxation time today before I head back home and to work :)

  14. I didn't think much about the bangs either until I saw her without them. I agree---I prefer her hair softly swept back off of her face.

  15. What a great post and an accomplished Aunt. And what a great collection of photos. I had a similar reaction to a photo lately of a great-aunt. In that case it was her glasses, they made her look much too stern.