Title: John Bohall at work Date: 1927-11-04 Call number: 5x7, Box 78, Item 3 Hohenberger's Subject:	 5x7 Names:	 Bohall, John Location:	 Brown County (Ind.) Topic:	 Basket making Basket makers Baskets Size:	 5x7

Frank Hohenberger’s photograph of “John Bohall at work” this image is linked from the Frank Hohenberger Collection at the Lilly Library at Indiana University.

A ton of information is embedded in historic photographs, especially when the images include artisans and handmade objects. In this episode of the Artisan Ancestors, I talk about my work identifying, organizing, and analyzing historic photograms. Focusing on my work with pictures of oak rod baskets from Southern Indiana,  I share how images can be read to reveal greater amounts of data than what might first be apparent. By looking at a collection of images over time, the researcher can understand shifts in feelings and attitudes about folk crafts. I reference my article, “A Picture of an Old Country Store” as an example of this type of deep reading of images.

Historic photographs are important resources for scholars of handmade objects. They can reflect the everyday use of objects from the past, manifest the variations in crafts over time, record the aesthetic values embedded in objects that have not survived to the present era, and also, document aspects of the construction process of earlier generations. In this podcast I explore more details about each of these reasons.

I also review some of the basic research methods for studying photographs, such as photo inventorying, contextual analysis, and photo interviewing., all of which help researchers both expand and focus their observations.

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2 Comments on Episode 27: Historic Photographs and Material Culture Research

  1. Phill bohall says:

    John Bohall ~ a cousin back to Joseph Bohall/Sarah Milstid through their son George Bohall.

    The basket business and traditional style handed down to John and others is from the Hovis family from Paradise township York County PA and is typical of Lapland/Sapma/Sapmai work done by their Hoke and other Sa’ami artisans. I believe the line is to the Skolt Sa’ami, considered the “original reindeer herders” of the North, and they are originally from North of Finland on the Kola Peninsula.

    These people first came to America in 1638 with the New Sweden colony and gradually moved West on the frontier through a series of settlements known as Uniontown/Unionville/Union for “Kalmar Union” denoting a place friendly to other Scandinavian people.

    New Sweden was founded by Sweden as a place to obtain ship’s stores, meaning lumber and pinetar. Nearly the entire Sapmai was transported to America in that period to what became Pennsylvania and Western Maryland. The Bohall, Hokes, Hovis and Delagardie families are intensively intermarried and show up in Lutheran and other church records from an early time.

  2. Phill bohall says:

    An update:

    The Bohall/Delagardie connection is, over time, back to Languedeoc/Russollon in France. However, from the early 1500s to early 1600s much of that area was part of the Kingdom of Aragon

    That means that you have to research both French and Spanish history in great detail ~ and learn to read CATALAN.

    By 1590 or thereabouts the Bohall (French spelling) family had reached Virginia (South of what is now Jamestown) and the DeLaGardie family had reached Sweden (whereupon the lead fellow married the Vasa King’s illegitimate daughter….

    Which is all pretty hoitietoitie ~ but that’s the class of people who got here first from Europe. Mostly younger noblemen with connections through Spain, France, Sweden, England ~ and Italy.

    The Bohall family is the same as the Bohal family 15 miles away in Brittany. Check Henri de Bohal. Their American experience is the same as that of the Fonda family ~ in the same places, as well as the Bedal family (which means in the Spanish of the 1300s”king’s soldier” in Berber).

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