Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New Treasures from My Mother #1 - Zora and Ned Staples

Zori & Ned Staples c.1897, St Paul,MN
My mother brought me a baggie of really old photos and memorabilia today from my grandmother's boxes. I thought I had already discovered all of the family treasures that were in my immediate family's possession, but I was wrong. The one that jumped out immediately is this photo of Zora Edith "Zori" Hewitt Staples and her son. As I blogged in the past, I have always wanted to find a photo of Zori. (Aunt Cleo wrote about her here.)

I am in touch with her great granddaughter thanks to Ancestry.com. Tragically, they lost all of their family photos when their home burned down in the Sycamore Fire of 1977. I immediately emailed her to share this great news. She was ecstatic and happened to be planning on visiting her mother (Zori's granddaughter) on Thursday, so this will be a fantastic surprise!

The boy in the portrait is Zori's son Edwin Herrick "Ned" Staples who was born in 1895. I tried to narrow down the exact year of the photo by researching the photographer. Thanks to the Minnesota Historical Website's list of photographers, I was able to find quite a bit about this photographer. Alfred U. Palmquist, also known as A.U. Palmquist, was born in Finland on 21 June 1850 and died 23 March 1922.  He was well known for his images of Sitting Bull which can be found all over the Internet, including at the Library of Congress, Amazon and various auction sites. He worked in Minnesota from the 1870's to the 1900's and had a number of locations over the years. This photo has the address of 88 West Fourth Street, which, according to the listing from the Minnesota Historical Society below, was his location from 1891-1899. Since he was at this same location for quite awhile, I will have to hazard a guess that the photo is c.1897 when Ned would have been about two years old.
     Studio: Palmquist & Lake
     Address: 32 West Seventh Street, Saint Paul, Minnesota
       Dates of operation: 1873
     Address: 25 East Seventh Street, Saint Paul, Minnesota
       Dates of operation: 1874
     Studio: Alfred Palmquist & Company
     Address: 28 East Seventh, Saint Paul, Minnesota
       Dates of operation: 1876-1881
     Studio: Palmquist & Jurgens
     Address: Seventh and Robert, Saint Paul, Minnesota
       Dates of operation: 1883-1885, 1888
     Address: 225 East Seventh Street, Saint Paul, Minnesota
       Dates of operation: 1890
     Address: 88 West Fourth Street, Saint Paul, Minnesota
       Dates of operation: 1891-1899
     Address: 10 West Sixth, Saint Paul, Minnesota
       Dates of operation: 1900s

It is wonderful to have finally discovered a photo of the young Zori and to be able to share it with her descendants. I hoped to one day see one, but I never would have expected it to come from my own collection!
[Update - Apparently, this is the only known photo in existence of Ned.]


  1. What a treasure.....I have been hoping to find a picture of my great grandparents and their eight children. I found a descendant whose great grandmother was the sister of my grandfather but they would not share. I just do not understand that mentality.

  2. She looks so proud and happy and Ned looks so very young.
    Claudia, I don't understand it either. Hope one of them changes in the future.

  3. Claudia,
    I will never understand that attitude! I couldn't wait to share this one with Zori and Ned's daughter/granddaughter. Hopefully, any photos they have will be passed on to someone more generous.
    Thanks for the comments Ladies!

  4. Photos from that era are real treasures!