Our theme photograph dates from around 1884 and is part of the National Library of Ireland stream on Flickr Commons. It's entitled "Young England's Floral Alphabet" and features sisters, Edith and Ethel Dillon who were around 6 and 4 years of age.
Why didn't anyone tell these serious looking sisters to say "Cheese"?
You wouldn’t have had to worry so much about this cheesiness in the Victorian era (1837-1901). During this period, etiquette and beauty standards were much different than they are today. In Victorian times, a small, tightly controlled mouth was considered beautiful. In fact, photographers during this era elicited the desired portrait expression by having their subjects “say prunes”. Smiles during this time were only typically captured on children, peasants, and drunks. One of the most common culprits blamed for the neutral expressions on subjects during the Victorian era is the long exposure time for photographs to be taken. (From todayIfoundout.com)
Long exposure or not, these two little girls would probably have smiled if they'd heard Michael Jackson's song "ABC" playing for them while they were learning their alphabet.
ABC is a 1970 number-one hit song by The Jackson 5. It was written with the same design as "I Want You Back", and was first heard on American Bandstand (on the ABC network) in February 1970. "ABC" knocked The Beatles' song "Let It Be" out of the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970 and was also number one on the soul singles chart for four weeks.
Once smiling, the girls might have been inspired to take off their high buttoned shoes and dance a little to Michael's song. If you google shoe buttons, you'll run into this interesting tidbit about "the Shoe Button Complex" from this essay about Education Reform.
Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, his long-time partner at Berkshire-Hathaway, also had a connection to shoe buttons. Munger’s grandfather had managed to corner the market on shoe buttons back around 1900. The grandfather exercised a virtual monopoly over their production and sale. Emboldened by his business acumen, the old man grew to believe that he not only knew more than anyone about shoe buttons but that he knew more than anyone about anything—and he preached and proclaimed at length on such. Munger and Buffett named the syndrome the Shoe Button Complex, and they encountered it frequently in their dealings with successful business practitioners. Now Buffett struggled assiduously to avoid developing the Shoe Button Complex. As one of the richest persons in the world, the temptation to succumb would surely have been great. He was careful to restrict his actions and speaking to what he called his Circle of Competence. He recognized that there were a limited number of things he could know well, and he did not presume to act as though he was expert of those things lying outside the Circle.
And so goes Sepia Saturday. Spiraling completely out of my Circle of Competence I've "gone down the rabbit hole"....my husband's term for the phenomenon of spending hours googling around from subject to subject. How he asks, can you begin with a photo of two little girls and end up with Warren Buffet???
Good question? Instead, I'll veer sharply back to the theme by ending with a photo of sister and myself as children. She would read to me as I was learning my own ABC's. I miss her.
Take a look at other's similar trips here: Sepia Saturday