My grandmother Elsie was born in 1891 in Gravesend, Kent, England. She met and married my grandfather Seth Kerby (post WWI he was USN stationed in England)in Gravesend. She immigrated to the US in 1924. I am wondering if anyone can date this photo. It is important to me to know whether this was taken in England before 1924 (say during WWI) or if it is from after she moved to the US and is more like a 30's/40s timeframe. She has a cigarette in her mouth, lol, and it can be seen as a white blur coming from her lips on the left side. I tried to date her clothing but could not. I don't have the photo handy, but this is the scanned image I took, so you can, at least, see the scalloped edge of the photo paper. That's all I can offer.

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    Immediate thought is it looks as if she's wearing overalls of some sort, like a factory worker in WW1... but i'm not an expert so will leave others to answer. When you get access to the photo again, is there anything on the back?
    – user104
    Aug 31, 2016 at 16:36
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    I agree with @ColeValleyGirl about time period, and the hairstyle suggests the same era. Can you enlarge the writing on the background picture? I thought it might say [HMS] Majestic, a Royal Navy vessel which was torpedoed and sunk in 1915. The dress resembles what was worn by some munitions workers.
    – Giorgio
    Aug 31, 2016 at 17:04
  • Elsie had polio when she was 4, and was in a wheelchair after that for the rest of her life, so not a munitions worker uniform. I thought the collar and the tie as well as the belt were significant clues. hmmm... I will go dig through the albums and see if I can pull this one out! Aug 31, 2016 at 19:49
  • I would focus on the technology of the photography. The first hint is that the photo is amateur, so is made during a period the black-white photography was available to general population. On the other side I made a quick check when color photography was avialable (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_photography_technology) during 1930s. So my guess is that the oldest it can be will be around early 30s. I would suggest to ask photography experts. Also,it might be helpfull to draw in color the picture is she wearing worker clothes or is she wearing some kind of politically related clothes Aug 31, 2016 at 21:17
  • Could Elsie be wearing a Girl Guide / Girl Scout uniform? The tie in particular looks about right for the US style. But I can't see any badges, so perhaps not. And I agree with @Dorothy that the picture may say "Majestic", although it could be RMS as well as HMS - the RMS Majestic started as a White Star liner in 1922.
    – AndyW
    Aug 31, 2016 at 21:46

1 Answer 1


As a (very recent) ex smoker, I'd be happy to bet a month's pay there is no cigarette in her mouth. You're misreading the colouring on the curtain behind her.

The photo appears to me to be someone about 25 years +/- 5, but not 35. So probably during the war, and in England not USA.

  • I am not entirely convinced she doesn't have a ciggy in her mouth. I say this because, as an on-again-off-again smoker, it does appear that the area in question seems to be hung from the corner of her mouth. She was a lifetime smoker, and sold cigarettes (and candy) at the Gravesend Promenade during the First WW. I agree it is in England and likely during WWI, so your age guess is probably spot on. I have been trying to relocate the photo so I can take a better look w/a magnifying glass and also get a look at the back. No luck. I must have tucked it away somewhere for "safekeeping". Thanks! Dec 4, 2016 at 12:53

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