Photo of the Week: Sweethearts

”Sweethearts,” Tobyhanna 09,’ 1909, v1981.283.3.53; Burton family papers and photographs, 1981.283, Brooklyn Historical Society.

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, this week’s photograph is a portrait of “sweethearts” dated 1909 from the Burton family collection. The collection contains over 189 photographs, of the Burton family and others. The couple above is unidentified but possibly related to the family. It’s unclear what Tobyhanna indicates, but it likely references Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania. It’s all speculation who and where this photograph was taken—these “sweethearts” remain a mystery!

This charming photograph, and many of the photographic items in this collection, is part of two personal albums. By 1909 when this photograph was taken, the Brownie camera had been introduced and popularized the photographic “snapshot.” The Brownie camera was inexpensive and handheld, which for the first time allowed everyone (not just professional photographers or commercial studios) the opportunity to photograph everything from special occasions and trips to everyday life. The Brownie camera made photographs like this more commonplace. To see more photographs from the Burton collection, check out this gallery.  To learn more about the history of the Kodak Brownie camera, check out this page.

Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. Interested in seeing even more historic Brooklyn images? Visit our Brooklyn Visual Heritage website here. To search BHS’s entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections visit BHS’s Othmer Library Wed-Sat, 1:00-5:00 p.m.

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