Uncle Charlie. In a dress. With a pipe and a devious smirk. Outside in what appears to be a public park. With a baby carriage?
When I came across this photo in a box of memorabilia I inherited when my dad died I was more than curious. It dates to around 1900. There is no notation on the back giving any indication as to what was afoot.
As a matter of fact, I needed to investigate for a while before I could even determine this WAS Uncle Charlie.
Googling "victorian men in women's clothing" got me a lot of photos. I mean a lot. Seems it was a thing. Charlie's here was an amateur photo, but there are many, many professional photos for the browsing.
So. What's up?
I feel like he was a prankster. A rogue. A rascal.
He was the youngest of 7 children. He had three older brothers and three older sisters. Four of his siblings were a decade or more older than he was, and would most likely not have approved of this behavior. The other two were only a few years older, a sister and a mischevious brother. Could this have been a bit of sibling goading?
I like to think that. A dare, well played.
Or maybe there was another side to Uncle Charlie.
Either way I like him very much.
He married late (37 years old) and had two daughters and one son.
I am currently searching for his great grandchildren, they would be about my age. I would love to learn more about my favorite uncle I never knew.
Charles Sumner Irons
b. Chicago IL 1874
d. Hinsdale IL 1956