The Dillingham's

The Harriet Dillingham Scrapbook

How The Scrapbook came to be in my possession.

I’ve been working on a pretty big project here lately. It’s running name is “The Harriet Dillingham Scrapbook” I was recently in North Carolina for a gallery show at Turchin Center for the Visual Arts in Boone, NC (I had a piece in a show which is a story for a different post). While there we decided to make a short vacation of it. We just sorta let the trip plan itself out once the gallery show was over. That’s how we ended up at a small roadside antique mall in Maggie Valley, NC.

It was our last day of vacation, we had pretty much done everything except for the American House Cat museum and the drive home. We were probably about 4ish 5 hours from home but we decided to meander a little bit. once we left the hotel I had a vague memory of something we said we wanted to do the night before as we got there. I said “remember that! We’ll stop there tomorrow!” Needless to say neither of us remembered it until we passed it the next day.

We walked in the place and it was pretty much a curated collection of antiques. I like looking at these places but I hardly ever buy anything because it’s already at the end of it’s price range for me. An older man came out of the back had a long wizard like beard and said “I don’t know what you’re looking for but we have more though that door.” as he pointed to a rickety old set of steps with a door at the top.

I opened the door and there was a wonderland of piles of stuff no one knew what to do with. No one had really looked at it for what felt like years judging from the dust. All I could see was treasure. we worked our way around the room. I ended up finding an old family scrapbook. I flipped though it and found photos, documents, even a receipt for a casket marked 1888. I turned the scrapbook over and saw a sun faded five dollar sticker. So I pulled the trigger.

What I’ve Decided To Do With The Scrapbook

Every time I find something like this scrapbook I wonder to myself about how I can share it with the world. This blog is one way I’ve tried to do that. For me it’s such a thrill to find a little piece of history like this. So much stuff linked to the same family in the same area.

I recently had an idea. I thought maybe I could scan the entirety of the scrapbook. Everything from photos, the writing on the back of the photos, documents, Everything contained within the pages. Make a cover that relates to the original scrapbook and compile it into a book.

Every photo, document, name, location, and scrap are all clues to who these people were. I thought if I compiled it into a book for a decent price, that maybe some of you could help solve the mystery of these folks. I decided not to do any more research into the scrapbook that way we can have a fresh slate to start with if anyone wants to participate in solving a mystery.

By making this book I’m trying to recreate the thrill of finding a piece in the wild with so much history linked to it. I figure once all the research is done I could layout a second edition with all the information that we’ve found. Maybe we can get some of this stuff back to he family. I also thought that if this scrapbook was in book form and we could get all the copies we wanted. That would give all the family a chance to have a copy rather than one person to be picked out.

One of the photographs

Post Card

This photo is a family portrait of who are most likely The Blankenship’s. It was found within Harriet Dillingham’s scrapbook. Though what little research I’ve done I believe the woman to be Harriet Blankenship. She was the Granddaughter of Harriet Dillingham. As stated on the back Hugh T. Hart was the photographer, and he was in Spartanburg, S.C. At the time.

What Can We Tell About This Photograph?

Hugh T. Hart Photographer

The first Photo from the right is a of the woman’s hat. It appears to me to be some form of a ladies boater hat. This style hat was very popular between the 1880s to about 1910. So that gives us a good guess to within a 30 year period of when the photo was taken.

The second photo is of a little boy. He looks to be wearing something like a little sailor suit just like his siblings. It looks like it has a wide lapel and is white. Also check out his socks! If this is a little sailor suit that could give us a time frame of 1890s to around 1920.

The third photo is a mustached man. He’s wearing what appears to be a Dimond point bow tie. From what I understand the diamond point bow tie was popular around the turn of the century till around 1910. Although the Diamond point does pop up from time to time in popular culture.

The fourth photo is from the back of the original photo. It list the name of the photographer an address, and the city in which he practiced his photography. From what I’ve found about Hugh T. Hart it states that he’s practiced photography in Spartanburg, S.C. from 1905 to 1930.

I would be willing to bet with all of this information this photo was probably taken sometime between 1907 and maybe 1914. So that gives us about a 10 year period that is a real possibility. Once we find names and dates of the people in the photograph we’ll definitely be able to be more precise about the time frame of this photo.


All this information is 100% speculation on this photo, but I’d love to hear your thoughts about the family in the photo. Where did they come from? What was their life like? Leave a comment about photo 0013: Photo from the Harriet Dillingham scrapbook.

If you would to see more of this type of stuff go check out the BMG Blog home page, our Facebook page, or our Etsy page.

Each purchase helps us bring more material to this blog! We really appreciate any contribution to the cause!

As I get closer to publishing The Harriet Dillingham Scrapbook I’ll be sure and put relevant information up on this blog. It shouldn’t be too long before I have a finished product. Everything has been scanned and I’m currently working on the cover and the layout. That being said I might have the book done this week. Check back in for updates!

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