How many times have you looked through your family photo collection and despaired? How many unlabelled photos have you let drip through your fingers in anguish? How many unnamed people, places, dogs, houses, pot plants, whatever have you seen?
How many times have you raised clenched fists in the air and wailed to your ancestors: “Why didn’t you just label your damn photos! Just because you know them doesn’t mean anyone else will! Curse you!!”
Well, it turns out it may not have been all their fault.
I was recently running through my customary genie ritual of Ancestor Cursing while sorting through photographs when I came across this little beauty.
I checked the faces and as usual – complete and utter strangers. No distinguishing background features (I think that might be a cannon – but who really knows?). With that dread feeling of pessimistic deja vu, I flipped the photo over so I could see that cursed blankness staring back at me.
But imagine my surprise and delight when I perceived some handwriting! At last! Some names!
With shaking hands I bent to decipher the handwriting:
A Group of Mack Sennetts.
(I don’t know them, except for a little Dimpled face in front. I think I know her.)
You think you know her?
Well, there you have it. They were just as clueless as us.
Does it make you feel any better?
“Wait a minute,” I hear you say. “Mack Sennetts? Maybe that’s a clue after all – a family name perhaps?”
No such luck.
Mack Sennett, aka Michael Sinnott, was the founder of Keystone Studios (of Keystone Cops fame) in California in 1912. According to that bible of knowledge, Wikipedia,:
Also beginning in 1915, Sennett assembled a bevy of women known as the Sennett Bathing Beauties to appear in provocative bathing costumes in comedy short subjects, in promotional material, and in promotional events like Venice Beach beauty contests.1
Apparently some of them came to be quite famous – like Carole Lombard.
So, the reference to the group of women in the photo as “Mack Sennetts” was just a descriptive term for a group of beautiful young women.
1 Mack Sennett. (2017, June 30). Retrieved July 15, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mack_Sennett