It’s a Ward Flexible Album; a 7x5 black leather book with “steel gray leaves,” made from Ward’s “puro” paper, and is “guaranteed not to discolor the photographs.”
It belonged to my grandfather,
Gardner Sabin Gould (1886), and it’s full of wonderful old
family photos, some taken at the family summer home in East Boothbay, Maine: Gould kids on sailboats, on the public dock in East
Boothbay, lined up on the back steps of the summer house, paddling around in
the icy waters of . Linekin
There are shots of picnics on the rocks, pine woods in the evening, two of the older boys in a small rowboat, the two youngest—Margaret and Howard—sitting on a boulder near the house, proudly displaying their new shoes!
And then there’s this damaged shot – sunstruck, ripped at the edges – of my grandfather, walking barefoot along the pathway beside the seawall...
...wearing a dress!
I wasn’t quite sure I was seeing it correctly, so I rummaged around in a desk drawer for my magnifying glass and took a good solid peek.
It’s a dress, all right.
Plain as day.
It’s below knee level, but not as long as I thought it might be for the turn of the century; it’s belted – it’s actually quite classy, but not so classy on him...my best guess is that it belonged to his cousin Jessie; she had quite a sense of humor and might very well have dared him to wear it.
Jessie’s or not, here he is, striding right along, skirts swinging—my grandfather, in 1900s drag!