Undertaker’s Wives Club

From an online auction.

Is it just me, or is the name “Undertaker’s Wives Club” a poorly thought out title for a social group? I mean for any group at all? It doesn’t have a ring of cheery conversation and bonhomie, does it?

The unusual name emblazoned at the top, certainly makes for a highly desirable, collectable image. That is especially so with the stunningly beautiful female subject. The hand tinting and the industrial landscape background add to its desirability, not to mention that it was taken in one of the most famous NYC dance clubs of the 1920s and 30s.

I have two Savoy Ballroom photos in my collection. They have the same background featured, with the year and the event names changing in each. If anyone can tell me what is depicted in this back-drop, I’d be very grateful to hear from you.

The auction for this stunning image is still ongoing. I’ve bid to my maximum and so now must bow out. I can see it going for up to $100 or more.

    • Sadly, I never had a chance. I bid up as high as I dared to but secretly hoped I’d get outbid as it wasn’t a very wise fiscal decision to join in. It went for more than twice my maximum at $113!!

      Are you interested in finger prints and their history without faces attached?Just a random question!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I also love the mystery of the background image. It seems like an odd choice to use because it looks like an industrial area, however it seems to be in all the photos you’ve put on your blog. I hope someone can figure out what it is and why it was chosen as the backdrop. It is a backdrop, right? I assume it would have to be!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, definitely a backdrop. I had hoped that it was an easily recognisable landmark in the NYC of that era, but no one has commented to that effect. If you take out the people from each of the published photos, there is a lot of it visible, so it surprises me that no one knows where or what it is.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I lived in nyc for awhile but I don’t recognize it either. It’s an odd, industrial-looking view, don’t you think? Have you tried asking in the fb photobooth group if anyone recognizes it?

        Liked by 1 person

    • My guess was yes, and that has been confirmed by another commenter, Liz. She found a reference to the club as a charity and that it was just for African American undertakers’ wives. Part of promoting their businesses through churches, if I understood correctly. Such an amazing piece of history!

      Hooray, you used the possessive correctly, Catherine. It always confuses me with plurals and quite honestly I hadn’t noticed they got it wrong until I saw it right in your comment.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. oglach said:

    Beautiful photo. Thanks for giving me an idea for a story…or maybe even a novel. That woman’s eyes tell a thousand stories.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wonderful how a tiny photo can say so much and stimulate imagination, isn’t it, Og? So we have, so far from this post, a name for an all female rock band, a story, a novel, hopefully a haiku (Douglas from Moorezart has reblogged it. He also has a great News Haiku site.) and who knows what else might turn up? 😉

      Liked by 3 people

  3. roberta m said:

    Love the hand-tinting; so delicate. She looks very sweet and composed–very model-like pose.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree Roberta. She appears to have had some experience at posing. Perhaps she was indeed a model? I wonder if it was that people of that era had better posture (reputedly)?

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I think I remember seeing a post on your other ones. Is this really a photobooth photo, I wonder? I went to ebay and since you reached your limit I ran the bid up. I have a feeling you are right about the $100. I’m currently the high guy @ $51. I really like the photo, I guess we’ll have to see how much.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Lord, I hope you didn’t place the winning bid, Ted!! It went for $113!!

        It is definitely a pb photo. I guess I’m only sure about that due to having two from the same machine in my collection.

        I love looking forward to getting post from you. I’ve a secret photobooth event happening tomorrow. Will private message you . . .


        • How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I got up to 60 ways and bailed. Interesting to see the bidding. Last second bid got it. I wonder which one of those early bidders was the AussieLass we all know and love.

          I’m really looking forward to your event, Katherine. Have fun today, I know you will be glam.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Liz! I wouldn’t have guessed that it was an all African American organisation and a charity to boot. If I’ve understood it correctly, the wives club charity was another way to get the churches behind promoting specific undertakers?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. stephen said:

    “Undertakers Wive’s Club” sounds like a novel about the deep south in the 1950’s. Calling Amy Tan!

    Liked by 4 people

  6. I posted a screenshot of the photo on eBay, showing the final price after the bidding ended, in a Facebook group called “photo delight.” This is a group in which people keep track of interesting photos on eBay and what they’ve sold for. Many people were interested in that photo, based on the response to my post. I think it has a combination of unique features that made it very desirable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, very, very desirable. Once I get my Ipad back up and running, when I don’t need to take breaks every fifteen minutes (ARGH!!), I will check out that group. It sounds wonderful.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Undertakers’ wives social club? That could be the title for a story… 🙂


  8. She is stunning with a hint of sadness in her eyes. Perhaps she didn’t want people to know she was an undertaker’s wife??

    Liked by 1 person

    • It might’ve been a socially difficult role. Having said that, I have a Brazilian friend who is the daughter of an undertaker. They have an elevated position in their small community. He started a cheap pre-paid funeral plan 60 years ago that guaranteed a lovely service and burial, even if the full amount had not been paid at the time of death. I guess her status might depend on how her community viewed funerals?

      Liked by 1 person

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