Mother was living in the old home, alone

PhotographerClarence White

CountryUnited States

MediumPhotogravure: Text

VolumeEben Holden

AtelierJohn Andrew & Son (Boston)


View Additional Information & Tags

Furniture, Genre: Women, Homes, Illustration, Interiors, Old Age: Women


Image Dimensions: 12.3 x 7.5 cm
Support Dimensions: 20.0 x 14.0 cm

Associated Blog Posts:

Needle in a Haystack

The following paragraphs with reference to the title have been taken from Eben Holden:


Since that day I have seen much coming and going.
We are now the old folks—Margaret and Nehemiah and Hope and I. Those others, with their rugged strength, their simple ways, their undying youth, are of the past. The young folks—they are a new kind of people. It gives us comfort to think they will never have to sing in choirs or “pound the rock” for board money; but I know it is the worse luck for them. They are a fine lot of young men and women— comely and well mannered—but they will not be the pathfinders of the future. What with balls and dinners and clubs and theatres, they find too great a solace in the rear rank. Nearly twenty years after that memorable Christmas, coming from Buffalo to New York one summer morning, my thoughts went astray in the north country. The familiar faces, the old scenes came trooping by and that very day I saw the sun set in Hillsborough as I had often those late years.

Mother was living in the old home, alone, with a daughter of Grandma Bisnette. It was her wish to live and die under that roof. She cooked me a fine supper, with her own hands, and a great anxiety to please me.

“Come Willie!” said she, as if I were a small boy again, “you fill the woodbox an’ I’ll git supper ready. Lucindy, you clear out,” she said to the hired girl, good naturedly. “You dunno how t’ cook for him.”
I filled the woodbox and brought a pail of water and while she was frying the ham and eggs read to her part of a speech I had made in Congress. Before thousands I had never felt more elation. At last I was sure of winning her applause. The little bent figure stood, thoughtfully, turning the ham and eggs. She put the spider aside, to stand near me, her hands upon her hips. There was a mighty pride in her face when I had finished. I rose and she went and looked out of the window.

“Grand!” she murmured, wiping her eyes with the corner of her handkerchief.
“Glad you like it,” I said, with great satisfaction.
“O, the speech!” she answered, her elbow resting on the window sash, her hand supporting her head. “I liked it very well—but—but I was thinking of the sunset. How beautiful it is.” (1.)


 -Titled Illustration to “Eben Holden” and reproduced as a photogravure included with Camera Work III, 1903.´╗┐

-subject in photograph is Clarence White’s mother Phoebe Billman White. (1845-1920)


1. Eben Holden: Chapter XLV: pp. 429-31

Mother was living in the old home, alone