Friday’s Faces from the Past – I know when, but not why

Earl Link (2nd front row, 2nd from right)
Picture taken 23 March 1935
Neuman Photography Studio
Ft. Wayne, IN

This Friday’s Faces from the Past photo is one of the many “mystery” photos that came home with me from my trip last week.  The reason that I call these pictures “mystery photos” is that while I am able to identify one or more family members in many of the pics, I have not been able to identify the why or sometimes when of the pictures.  The photo above is one such picture.

We found this picture in my grandmother’s things this past week.  The man seated 2nd from the right in front is clearly my grandfather, Earl Link.  The picture had a few great clues on the back of it: 1) It was clearly dated March 23, 1935; 2) it had a stamp from the studio where it was taken – Neuman Studio, Ft. Wayne, Indiana.  Unfortunately, beyond that, there are no clues about what this picture is or why it was taken.

The “school boy” look of many of the men in it (including my grandfather) at first made me think that perhaps it was a school reunion; however, the age difference in a few of the men would seem to shoot down that theory (also the fact that my grandfather went to school in Ohio and not in Indiana).  A second idea was that perhaps this was some sort of promotional photo for where my grandfather worked.  I have information that he did work for Sears at some point in his life, but his Railroad Retirement Board file clearly shows that in 1935, my grandfather was working for the Pennsylvania Railroad.

I have one other theory that as of yet, I have not been able pursue… My grandfather was a member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (essentially the union for railroad workers) at some point during his career.  One of my theories about this picture is that perhaps it is the “freshman class” photo for the newest members of his local Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers #12.  My younger brother and I are in the process of trying to track down records for my grandfathers membership in the union, but until we find those, I won’t have much to go on for this theory.

I have no doubt that the clues that are provided on the picture itself will help me track this down (I’m already working on the Neuman Studio clue), but until then, this picture remains one of of those faces from the past colored in a little mystery.

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