Most end-of-the-year picture sets consist of pictures taken in that year. This one's a little different...it consists of 82 pictures from a set of negatives found years ago in a thrift shop. From the available evidence, these pictures will turn 100 years old in the coming New Year—the poster (who, as far as I can tell, is anonymous as well) figures they were taken in 1912. The number of stars on this flag is one of the clues.
Not only do I find some of the pictures fascinating—snapshots they might be, but whoever took them was actually a pretty good photographer—but I think it's telling that they're now "on exhibit" worldwide after being scanned and posted on the web. That part, at least, is very 2012.
(Thanks to Lynn Burdekin in Sydney)
P.S. Warning: the parent site where these pictures are posted is a bit sketchy, and admits to being vandalized regularly for its extreme political views. I don't see how any reader looking at the pictures could be harmed by this in any way, but I figured you should know.
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Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Alan Anderson: "The sign in one photo gives clues that the photos were taken in the foothills and slopes east of a line connecting Ventura and Santa Barbara California. The courthouse (?) may have been Ventura County. The naval photos were taken either in San Diego or Long Beach California, both ports used then as now by the U.S. Navy. The older Officer wears two stars, at that time the insignia of a Rear Admiral; his cap device shows he is in the U.S. Navy. Obviously a well-to-do family with acreage planted as new orchards and a processing plant. They also have the connections to arrange a visit to part of the Pacific Fleet."
Featured Comment by Kevin Purcell: "The 46 star flag reminds me of the Simpson's episode (3F20, 'Much Apu About Nothing') in which Apu becomes a citizen with Homer administering the citizenship test:
Homer: Please identify this object.
Apu: It appears to be the flag that disappeared from the public library last year.
Homer: Correct. Now, we all know the thirteen stripes are for good luck, but why does the American flag have precisely forty-seven stars?
Apu: Because this particular flag [chuckling] is ridiculously out of date! The library must have purchased it during the brief period in 1912 after New Mexico became a state but before Arizona did.
Homer: Uh...partial credit.
"So it's a shame it didn't have 47 stars then we could precisely date it :-)
"It's often interesting how much extra date or time info (e.g. from shadow angles) you can get from ephemera in unknown photos."