Family

My Maternal Grandmother

Ethel Mae Ryan, January 1925

To all of us grandkids, she was called Bookie. Since my mother’s death, my brother and I have been culling through all sorts of things. Lots and lots and lots of stuff. And more stuff. One of my jobs is to sort through bushels of loose photos and numerous photo albums. Eventually most of this will have to be scanned by me, but for right now, I’m in need of some fun. Hence the glamour shots are the first to be digitized.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Bookie followed in the footsteps of her mother and became a model in her late teens. The only difference in their modeling careers was the medium. Bookie had been one of the first photographic models of the twentieth century, while her mother had posed for fashion illustrations in the early 1900s.

I am only posting a sampling of the photos. By following the link below, you will see all types of fashions. From furs, embroidered gowns, hats, beaded evening attire to funky casual and swim wear.

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This theatrical group showcases the prize winners of the February 1925 Spring Millinery Show. My grandmother is the middle model in the front row. My great grandmother, Evelyn Lovejoy Ryan, is also in this photo, back row and second from the right.
This theatrical group showcases the prize winners of the February 1925 Spring Millinery Show. My grandmother is the middle model in the front row. My great grandmother, Evelyn Lovejoy Ryan, is also in this photo, back row and second from the right.

15 thoughts on “My Maternal Grandmother”

  1. Renata says:

    You did a great job of showing us those pictures. You grandmother looks beautiful wearing well designed fashion clothes. One can not see them now.
    Renata.

    1. Patsy Ann says:

      Renata, you’re so right about the lack of good clothing design. Our past decade’s trend of tight-barely-there-hoochy-mama-what-you-see-is-what-you-get fashion can’t hold a candle to the 1920s and 1930s fashions.

  2. ann coffee says:

    Fashion is in your veins,……the women in your life have pointed you in another new creative direction….take hold and enjoy the discovery! Annie

    1. Patsy Ann says:

      Thanks, Ann! There’s a lot more to come in the near future.

  3. ann coffee says:

    By the way, thank you for sharing those most amazing photos……I would love to go along on this journey as well!!!!! Annie

  4. Shari Caldwell says:

    What wonderful photos! I’m sorry to hear about your loss, but glad you can find something bright in the middle of it all.

    1. Patsy Ann says:

      Thanks Shari! There’s a ton of family photos that date back to the early 1900s, and I never knew of their existence till now. All of which I will be scanning some time in the future, but only a few will be interesting to folks reading my blog.

  5. Judy says:

    I really enjoyed the photos. I look forward to seeing more.

    1. Patsy Ann says:

      Thanks, Judy! The next group I plan to scan will show my parents dressed up as Li’l Abner and Daisy Mae.

  6. Pat B O'Brien says:

    It has been ages since I have seen those pictures. Mother certainly never flaunted them, but Joy with her fashion sense, obviously took them for safe keeping. Have you sent them to Bill?

    1. Patsy Ann says:

      I just forward the link to both Bills. Hopefully the email addresses are still correct.

  7. Theresa Dickson says:

    This is brillant! Thank you for posting all of this.

    ~Theresa
    Bill’s daughter (Chicago)

    1. Patsy Ann says:

      Thank you, Theresa! I just updated the last photo’s caption. After going through tons of family photos, I can now identify my great grandmother–your great great grandmother. She also modeled, but mostly in the very early 1900s. She is in the back row, second from the right. I wish I had some of her earlier shots in her heyday. Unfortunately she had put on a few by the 1920s.

  8. Christina Brown says:

    This is so wonderful! Bookie is my great grandmother. (Bob Brown is my dad) I was searching for information for my family heritage research paper. Thank you so much Patsy Ann!

    1. Patsy Ann says:

      Christina, this so much fun that you were able to do a search and find Bookie on my little blog. Your great great grandmother is also pictured. Check out the last picture; back row; second from the right.

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