As I have written about previously, I purchased a group of photos from an antique store in Winooski, Vermont which used to be in the collection of Albert Joseph James Perreault. Of those photos, only one is still unidentified at this writing, so I’m going to delve into this more deeply to see if I can narrow down the suspects.
First of all, here is the photo:
On the back it says “One of Gramp’s Aunts on the Olivier Side”. There are a few clues here. The photo was taken at the Hector Huard studio in Winooski, Vermont, it is a cabinet card, and the woman in the photo seems to be about 30 years old.
According to online sources, cabinet cards were popular between 1875 and 1895 and had more or less died out by 1900. According to the Winooski City Directory, Hector Huard was a photographer in Winooski starting in 1890 and continuing until his death on 11 Nov 1939 at the age of 76. His studio was on the corner of Allen and Main streets that entire time… nearly 50 years! Between 1890 and 1895 he was partnered with Ezra T Langlois as part of “Huard & Langlois” [I have some photos from that studio], but Hector seems to have struck out on his own starting around 1896 or 1897. So it’s most likely this photo was taken between 1897 and 1900. That’s a pretty narrow timeframe.
As I said, tthe woman looks to be about 30, so I’m putting her birth date somewhere around 1865- 1875. She would have, mostly likely, been living in Winooski or Burlington in the 1900 census. The “aunts on the Olivier side” of Albert Joseph James Perreault would have been the female children of Henri Octave Olivier. They were:
Marie Angéline Olivier, who died in 1871.
Marie Cordélie “Cordelia” Olivier (1867-1907)
Marie Josephine Albina “Albina” Olivier (1869-1928)
Marie Victoria “Victoria” Olivier (1876-1945)
Marie Evelina “Evelyn” Olivier (1878-1934)
I have photos of all of these women, fortunately, apart from Angéline who is not a suspect since she died at the age of seven. I can say definitively that the woman in the photo is not Albina, nor Victoria. That leaves just Cordelia or Evelyn. Both Cordelia and Evelyn lived in Burlington, Vermont (very near Winooski) in 1900, so that leaves them both as suspects.
Here are side-by-side comparisons of both women using photos taken around the time frame being discussed:
I don’t think either one is a slam dunk, but given that the comparison photo of Evelyn was taken in 1898, I think it’s less likely that it’s her than Cordelia. The photos of her would be about 7-10 years apart if it is, indeed, her.
The hair styles for the two photos of Cordelia are certainly the same, but the mouth, nose, and even the shape of the eyebrow ride seem to be different to me. So the lips, nose and eyes of Evelyn seem more like the mystery woman, but the hairstyle and time frame seem more likely Cordelia.
I’ll post more here in this blog as more information becomes available.