Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.
When I saw this week’s Sepia Saturday prompt, I could not help thinking of this studio portrait of my grandaunt Violetta Davis Ryan taken probably in 1920 when she was just 16 years old.
I’ve written so many times about Violetta that I thought for sure there was nothing left to tell. I turned to NewspaperArchive hoping to find something new and interesting. Her name popped up often, usually when she was reappointed as principal at Pleasant Hill Elementary School or when she was attending a conference for educators. Meh ~
But I did find a couple keepers:
When Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine was licensed in 1955, there was a campaign to inoculate all school children. In Rockingham County where Violetta was a principal, the schools and other facilities were set up as polio vaccine clinics. Violetta was named as chairman for one of the clinics.
Originally I dated this photo “1960 or 1961” based on a wild-guess at my sister’s age.
|Glenn, Me, Violetta, Mary Jollette, Bobbie|
Come to think of it, I do remember that dress as my Easter frock that year. It looks white, but it was a print of pastel watercolor swirls and splotches. That doesn’t sound nearly as pretty as it actually was.
|from Harrisonburg Daily News Record|
8 Nov 1960
That’s right! Violetta sold encyclopedias. My parents bought the 1960 World Book plus the annuals – obviously from Violetta. We also had the accompanying Childcraft books (in their "handsome Heritage binding") which were written in simpler text to serve like encyclopedias for younger children. I used World Book to death but rarely bothered with the Childcraft.
Until I saw this ad, I had forgotten Violetta sold encyclopedias. Years ago, they were sold door to door. It is not likely she did that though. She probably sat right at her desk and used her position as teacher and principal to influence parents and other teachers for which she earned a nice little 15% commission.
While you’re at your desk or on your phone, please visit my friends at Sepia Saturday.
© 2020, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.