This photograph has scandal written all over it. Where are the seat belts? Why is there whisky on the hood of the car? Where is the windshield??!! And, why are there so many people piled in to one vehicle for goodness sake? Okay, clearly this is not a real car. As many of you may have dressed up in “Wild West” cowboy hats, chaps, and a fake pistol, and had your family photograph printed out in vintage sepia, so did Robert Burton and Alice and Nedd and Freda, and those other people in the shot). Likely this image was taken at Coney Island and these Brooklynites are having “a hell of a good time” according to the inscription on the back of this photograph.
This is part of a collection of materials about the Burton family. Robert Burton, who is in the center of the front seat was the son of Percival Burton and Josie Newcombe who lived in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood ofBrooklyn. Robert’s grandparents William W. Burton and Virginia Baptista were immigrants to theUS fromEngland andPortugal. The collection is a great example of an everyday family who documented their lives in Brooklyn through photographs.
So, in case you haven’t noticed: it’s September and the leaves are likely to start changing soon. Plan an outing with some friends – on a bike, in a car, by train – but maybe leave the whiskey at home for later. Happy Autumn!
Interested in seeing more photographs from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery which includes a selection of our images. To search our entire collection of images, visit BHS Othmer Library Wed-Fri 1:00-5:00 p.m.