Grapes? Paper Bags? When did paper bags get invented anyway? Why did the photographer choose to photograph four teenage girls eating grapes? Is there some kind of symbolism in the image or is it meant to just show four girls enjoying a picnic? This cabinet card photograph presents a number of interesting questions and I can only answer one of them. Paper bags were invented in 1852. At least that is when Frances Wolle patented the machine that manufactured paper sacks and founded the Union Paper Bag Company. The reverse of this cabinet card has an inscription stating “Stella Pape, 1888”. Stella was actually her nickname. Her given name was Destella L. Pape and she was born in 1872. She was about sixteen years of age at the time of this photograph. In the 1900 US census she was living with her mother (Mary) and older brother (Nielson) in Butler, Pennsylvania She later married George Reiber who was a man twenty-one years her senior. The couple had a son in 1905 who was named after his father (George). Stella Pape died in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania in 1956. She was buried with her son (see the photograph of her gravestone below). The photographers of this image are Criley & Wagner. To view more of their images, click on the category “Photographer: Criley & Wagner”.



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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thanks so much for sharing. Is the reverse side of the card ever posted? I would love to see.

    • The reverse side of this card was never posted. The photograph is a cabinet card and not a postcard. Cabinet Cards were larger than typical postcards and were meant for display in a frame or album.

  2. I love photos like these from that era …..rather than the usual portraits… much more interestign……Im not sure what the reason for the choice of eating grapes…..grapes being a symbol of love/romance….young love??….I like the scallop edging around the photo too…I have a cabinet photo from PA….different town….different photographer…. that used the same edging on their photos.

  3. Thanks for investigating the family.

  4. Excellent find. So rare to find a photograph that old where there is “something going on” in it. Usually they are stiff, posed portraits with silly props.

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