Saturday, June 27, 2009

Holli: The Long Lost Beauty

Who is this beauty?

I love looking though rolls of vintage photographs that chronicle someones life and collectively tell a story about what they were like, where they had been, and what kind of people they hung out with. It's delightful to be impacted by all the love and laughter that they shared and all the big moments that they went through in their lives. What I'm most interested in, however, is those lovely ladies that went through their 20's in the 1940's. I'm so fascinated by their tales of love, rebellion, war, fashion, technology...all the things that I have encountered as a young girl in my 20's.

I guess it's because of that that I felt immediately drawn to the woman in the following photos, not to mention her infectious smile and her sensational taste in clothes. The photos give you such an intimate look into her world of friendship, love, and family that you almost feel like a friend at the end.

As if her beauty and smile weren't enough, her photos are accompanied by the most bizarre and coincidental story that I've heard in some time. I didn't want to butcher it or forget a detail so I decided to deliver it to you just as I read it.

Who is this beauty?
"Here is one of the happiest faces I have come across in a long time. She is in most of the photographs in this "found" batch of old prints. They date from the 1940's and do tell a bit of a story. What do you see?

I had to make up the names "Holli and her friend "Thelma." They have glamorous smiles and lots of clothes.

She just looks like a Holli, maybe “Hollywood”. She dominates a set of 116 pictures found all in one bunch from an estate sale in Johnson City, New York. I posted the whole set originally in August of 2008.

There was nothing noted on the reverse of any of the photographs but there are lots of landmarks, lots of people. Someday I hoped, someone would recognize something and at least establish a location..."

Who is this beauty?
"Then, in June of 2009 I found another batch of photographs from an estate sale in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. You can imagine my moment when I saw “Holli” again looking up at me from the stack, about 400 miles from the first group and ten months later.

I was able to coordinate some of the photographs by means of the photo lab’s series stamps on the reverse of many of them. Others matched in physical details of the prints. Six photographs, unrelated in any other way, have a light red stain at the edges showing they have been stored in the same place for a long time and thus linking them together. A few of the photographs in the Pennsylvania batch must have been taken on the SAME ROLL of film as the New York batch. From the clothing and locations, obviously some were taken the same day, perhaps only minutes apart. So now there are 63 more photographs of our Hollie, her friends and her time.

One thing stands out in the Pennsylvania group. There is ONE photograph with a date on the reverse. November 22, 1943. Hollie stands on her toes to give her man in uniform a big smooch. It must have been a special moment for them."

Who is this beauty?
"In the set I have designated each item as Ney York Source or Pennsylvania Source in the tags to show where each photograph was found. In addition I have noted the origin in some of the captions.

Our Holli was a popular girl, perhaps a USO volunteer. She loved the beach and the sun. Her bright smile probably made her an instant friend to anyone she met.

Look carefully at these photographs. What do you think is the story?"


  1. That is the coolest thing I've ever read in a blog, Holli should be a flip book that gets sold in places like urban outfitters

  2. It's quite a story. Thanks for the link.