It’s all in the hands.

Jul 18, 2012
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I was planning to write a bit about the Bandini/Elliott family a couple of weeks ago.  But I have to make an admission here, I have two addictions.  The first, is an addiction to coffee.  The second, as if you didn’t already know, is an addiction to historical research.  There are worse addictions to be sure, but they still get in my way of fulfilling promises from time to time.  For this, I apologize.

Over the past few months, I immersed myself in historical facts and images.  I had been sleuthing and archive diving in preparation for the talk I gave at the end of June.

It was after reading, and taking some pretty healthy notes from 140 manuscripts, that I discovered images of the Bandini family that I’d never seen before.  Nearly a dozen of them.  Very intimate images  – Helen Elliott Bandini, a mother for the second time at about 40, looking like a night’s rest would be golden.  Or her brother Whittier striking an immensely formal pose, looking more like a banker than an ice cream store owner.  The photos and their visual formality mirror a distant era of that seems so different from our own day to day lives.

Courtesy of Elliott Collection, Huntington Library 

Here we see grandmother and grandson, formally dressed and formally posed.  They are all ribbons and laces, buttons and bows; she seated, he leaning up against her.  It’s really easy to miss their hands.  But if you did, you’d miss the sweetest part of the story.  A sweet story any time you see it taking place.

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