|Photographs of a Scotia mother and child: Nellie Reynolds and her baby, Neil Bailey Reynolds, 1903. Photographs from Grems-Doolittle Library Photograph Collection.|
Turn-of-the-century family photographs in our collections tend to be posed portraits. The people shown in them may look stern; even if they are smiling, they tend to capture the family as it wished to be presented to the world -- dressed in their finest clothes, all assembled together, giving the appearance of unity, abundance, and vitality. It is rare to see photographs of this era that capture the spontaneous moments of everyday life.
That is what makes the above photographs such a special treat in celebration of Mother's Day. The love, tenderness, and sense of playfulness between the mother and her baby are palpable. We see the mother's smile spread into a delighted grin as the baby rolls and kicks on her lap, and can almost hear the gurgling and babbling of the infant. The photographs are a rare glimpse of the connection between mother and child.