Dealing with Uncertainty
We were able to identify eight out of the 46 images we had to analyze, but the unidentified images remain useful. The group portraits to the right show period fashion, outdoor recreational activities, modes of transportation, steam-powered machines, firearms, and other details that await further research.
As portraits, they show us the faces of the people that lived in a world separated from our own by at least 100 years. We may never discover who these people were, and what kind of rich and complicated lives they lived, but when we look at them, we can feel a connection.
We, as researchers, use words like "probable" because, at present, we are not certain of the photographer's movements, motives, or circumstances. However, as it has been said, "If we talk about everything we don't know, we'd be here all day."
This final timeline shows the entire probable date range. The orange and red rectangles illustrate how we may focus that date range as our data points converge and overlap. If all the glass plate negatives were exposed in a short period of time, we could date the collection to 1907-1908. However, if the photographer exposed the negatives over a longer period of time, individual images could have been taken much earlier or later.
Ultimately, though, it is up to future researchers to refine this timeline and shed further light onto this collection.