2022—My Hope Restored

My Hope has been restored. To be more precise, a photograph of my grandmother Hope has been restored. My paternal grandmother, Hope Eleanor Haeffner Agnew, was born in 1883. On June 24, 1897, she graduated from Sumner School in Chicago along with her brother Albert. She was only 14 but because she was smart, she skipped a couple of school grades and thus graduated with her older brother. This photograph was taken to commemorate her graduation. The large paper print, about 12×14 inches, was glued to a stiff backing, then hand painted with water colors. At some point, it was removed from the backing and it became torn and stained and then forgotten. Fast forward about a hundred years and my brother found it among my grandmother’s possessions after she died at age 96 in 1980. A couple of weeks ago, he had the precious, tattered photograph partially restored so that it could be framed. The rips were mended and the disconnected pieces were reattached. He didn’t have the photograph itself cleaned or the stains removed. However, I couldn’t resist cleaning up a few spots in Photoshop and I decided also to eliminate the tattered edges and tear marks. At first I was going to post the photograph as I took it, tattered edges and all but I thought my grandmother deserved to be restored. The added coloring which was the primary means of getting colored photographs in the 19th century, looks quite amateurish, especially the necklace, but I think the photograph itself is absolutely charming. And best of all, I can see my grandmother’s familiar, soulful eyes even at that young age. I am thrilled to have my Hope restored.