Smile, Mrs. Simmons ~ From A Daguerreotype by artwhiz47

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Smile, Mrs. Simmons ~ From A Daguerreotype by 

How old do you reckon my great great great great grandmother, Eleanor Sears Simmons (1780 ~ 1866), is in this photograph? As the rigors of daguerreotype sittings were being phased out by the 1850s, I’d guess she was around 70. I suspect what ever smile she started out with (though smiles were not common in the early days of Shadow-Catching) had faded to this mugshot expression pretty quickly. Also, it looks as if her fingers are all caught up in Chinese finger traps….
She lived in Bristol, Ontario County, New York.


family history, daguerreotype, new york state

A short bio, eh? I am Sheila, & I am short.

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  • Guendalyn
    Guendalynover 2 years ago


  • Thanks, Guenda. Smile!!! And thanks for favoring great great great great grandmother.

    – artwhiz47

  • Roy  Massicks
    Roy Massicksover 2 years ago

    ’ Come on, hurry up and get this over with ! ’ This is priceless Sheila but something well worth having !

  • Ha & ha. And amen to that. One year I made a Christmas card using this image of gggggrandmother… on the front, this picture, under which it said ‘Merry Christmas…’; inside it said simply ‘DAMMIT!’ Thanks, Roy.

    – artwhiz47

  • 29Breizh33
    29Breizh33over 2 years ago

    Love the expression, and the clear bright eyes. Compliments Seila. :))

  • Thanks, Michelle. Glad you noticed those eyes… blue eyes run in our family (both my parents’ sides), but great great great great grandmother’s appear to be a particularly light & crystal color!

    – artwhiz47

  • photogaryphy
    photogaryphyover 2 years ago

    Excellent photo Sheila, how nice to look back on.

  • I wish she’d say something. Thanks, Gary.

    – artwhiz47

  • Tomatohead
    Tomatoheadover 2 years ago

    Oh my! lol – Wonderful – I feel like that sometimes!

  • Thanks, Nelson, & for the favorite. I can’t get my mouth to do that, at least not without a lot of effort.

    – artwhiz47

  • Meg Hart
    Meg Hartover 2 years ago

    Oh, what an expression – that of a long-suffering (hard-working) lady of yore trying hard to smile for the photographer!…Love it Sheila. :)

  • Her house, built between about 1800 & 1810 (my great great great grandmother was born in that house in 1802) still stands in Bristol, NY. It is in beautiful shape & still has the old hardware & other interior accoutrements. The part built in 1810 is a large & airy post-&-beam Federal-style edifice; a real classic. I had the good fortune to get to know the present owners a few years back. GrgrgrgrGrandmother Eleanor died in that house, so at least we know she wasn’t unhappy in her dwelling place!! Thanks, Meg. Isn’t she just a peach?

    – artwhiz47

    DIANEPEARENover 2 years ago


  • Not sure how I missed your comment, but then, it was Christmastime…. Thanks, Diane.

    – artwhiz47

  • relayer51
    relayer51over 2 years ago

    Watch out for the flash !! Ha! wonderful shot from those early days of photography . One for the family album. Kind regards Mark.

  • Thank you, Mark. Keep smiling! ~ Sheila

    – artwhiz47

  • Richard Morden
    Richard Mordenover 2 years ago

    Hey I like your daguerreotypes and tintypes. Real ones too, not faux olde world photos like some of mine. Old photos are always so intriguing – little windows into worlds of no more.

  • Many thanks, Richard! I have a ton of old photos in various forms, & I also have a lot of written material to go with them & to flesh out the depicted characters. Like this character, though she doesn’t look as if she needs much fleshing-out. I have extensive genealogy for her, too.

    – artwhiz47

  • Cat Perkinton
    Cat Perkintonover 2 years ago

    I love this – there is something special for me about the images in daguerrotypes and this expression is a classic

  • Thanks, Rinky ~ & for the favorite. Great Great Great Great Grandmother would be pleased, I think. But judging from her expression, it might be hard to tell….

    – artwhiz47

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