Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sepia Saturday #38

This is my great grandmother, Mary Minerva Smith Felmy, born in March 1866 in Snyder County, PA, died sometime before the 1950s. All our photographs of her suggest she was a rather severe woman, although photographs, especially older professional portraits, can be deceptive. Keepsakes and mementos from her are rare, but I consider myself fortunate that I have in my possession some of her recipes, written in her own hand.

1 quart dandelion blossoms
2 quart boiling water
3 cups sugar sirupe
2 oranges
2 lemons

Pick dandelion close to blossoms. Pour boiling water over them. Set aside until cold then strain and add sirupe, the orange and lemon, thinly sliced. Let set for at least 3 days before serving. If kept longer strain again, bottle and cork tightly.

Not sure that I'm brave enough to try this one. Maybe one of the cake recipes, baked in a "moderate" oven instead.

This is my great great aunt, Elizabeth Smith Benfer. You can definitely tell they're sisters, although I don't know how far apart in age they are. I'm also unsure if there were other siblings; this pair of sisters are the only ones I've been able to find record of so far.

Even later in life, it seems that Mary and Lizzie remained close. I believe this photo was taken in my great-grandmother's garden.

For other great Sepia Saturday posts, click => HERE


  1. How fascinating..dandelion cordial. Lovely photos.

  2. I LOVE old recipes, but after tasting Lavender Lemonade once, I'm not sure I would be brave enough to try Dandelion Cordial :-)

  3. I have never heard of dandelion cordial. I love your photos, your grandmother especially looks so tiny. Wonderful photos.

  4. Wonderful photographs and I think you are right about them being sisters. I almost thought it was the same dress for a moment, until more detailed observation highlighted the differences. And for a bonus we get Dandelion Cordial. Wonderful.

  5. Yes, we can never judge people in old photos by their stares. I like to imagine the moments before and after the shot was taken. Thinking they broke into a big smile once the flash had gone off. We've all grown up thinking our ancestors were fun free zones because of the way the photos were taken. I can easily imagine her with a big smile.

  6. I've sampled dandelion wine (delicious) so I guess the cordial would be tasty too, but I'd hate to have to search out that many dandelion flowers! :) Wonderful clothes in those pictures.

  7. I have heard of Dandelion wine, wonder if it's the same as a cordial, just different terms? Interesting poses; I have some like that. I know it was quite an experience to pose and an even bigger deal to have photos taken back then. This is my first visit to your blog, I think. Neat things here.