Minnesota Photo Detective: What’s the story?

There is nothing more poignant than a family photograph, sitting in a box in a second-hand store, with little or no clue on it about the identity or history of the people pictured. But sometimes there are clues, enough information to start on a journey to find out more. Every photograph is the starting point of a story as I said in my book We Are at Home: Pictures of the Ojibwe People. Every once in awhile it is worth trying to find the story.


The photograph appears to show a young woman in overalls and a hat standing in the middle of a field.¬†Who is she? I found this photograph in a second-hand store recently. On the back are written the following words: “Out to Aunt Graces at Ponsford in July 1926. Myself.” I’m really intrigued by the mystery. There are so many questions. According to the 1920 and 1930 U.S. censuses there were several women named Grace old enough to be somebody’s aunt, living on the nearby White Earth Reservation and in parts of Becker County, Minnesota. Among them were Grace Willis, Grace Hull, Grace Shinway or Shumway, Grace Snetsinger, Grace Porter, and Grace Fairbanks.

If anyone has any ideas please add comments. I will add more information as I find it.

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