It might have been a late summer’s day when brothers Roy and James Walsted of Sioux City, Woodbury County, Iowa posed for this snapshot circa 1924. Six years apart in age, Roy was perhaps twelve and Jim perhaps six when this photograph was taken some ninety years ago.1 The park-like setting and the blanket at their feet suggest that the occasion may have been a picnic. Classic car aficionados could likely date the vehicle parked behind the boys.
Roy suffered from polio as a child, which resulted in a limp as one leg was left shorter than the other. His younger brother was said to have come to his defense when Roy was bullied or was the last to be chosen for a neighborhood baseball team.2 Even in this photograph, it appears that Jim stands guard in front of his brother, his arms protectively curved back around Roy’s legs as Roy clasps his hands atop his brother’s head. Both boys wear short pants and newsboy caps; Jim is in a sailor suit, a style that remained popular for young boys in the post World War I era.3
I have to wonder who the man off to the side of the photograph could be. I have only seen two small snapshots of Roy and Jim’s father, both of which were taken late in his life. (I suppose there is a third if I count a postmortem photograph of him at his own funeral.) From those, I know that he was a man of slight build, but beyond that, I have no way of telling whether this gentleman in a straw boater hat and rolled shirtsleeves is in fact James Jacob Walsted or not. If this picnic was a family affair, perhaps the boys’ mother, Kathrine, was behind the camera.
This charming snapshot is one of a handful of photographs that I have in my digital collection of the Walsted brothers and their parents, both immigrants who came to Iowa from Denmark in the early twentieth century. For more photographs of the family of James Jacob Walsted (1886-1956) and Kathrine Christensen (1886-1971), check out my new Walsted Family Album.
Copyright © 2015 Melanie Frick. All Rights Reserved.
1 “Iowa, County Births, 1880-1935,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XVF4-S9B : accessed 28 August 2015), Roy L. C. Walsted, 1911, and “Iowa, County Births, 1880-1935,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XV6K-JFP : accessed 28 August 2015), James Herman Walsted, 1917.
2 Thomas Roy Walsted, conversation with Melanie Frick, 2003; notes in author’s files. Thomas was the son of Roy Walsted.
3 “United States Sailor Suits: 1920s,” Historical Boys’ Clothing (http://histclo.com/style/suit/sailor/sailorus20.html : accessed 28 August 2015).