My cousin Connie recently sent me a photo of a young woman and asked me if I thought it might show her grandmother (and my great-great-aunt) Constance Boucher Burch (1887–1977). I’m inclined to think it does, given the provenance as well as the (rather unscientific) fact that this young woman has a family look: in features and coloring she reminds me of my grandmother Pauline Glidden Bell (1903–1968). (Click on images to expand them.)
Aunt Conky – as my grandmother called her – was the youngest of William Boucher Jr.’s twenty-three children. My great-grandmother, Pauline Boucher Glidden (1875–1964), was twelve years older than Conky, but the six children between these two sisters died young, unmarried, or without offspring, so the two families were actually pretty close, despite the age difference. Almost twenty years ago, I visited Baltimore and met two of Conky’s daughters – Constance Burch Plummer (1914–2002) and Phyllis Burch Mollett Barry (1920–2001) – and they reminisced about my grandparents (shown above with my mother), remarking that Fred and Pauline Bell had more or less disappeared from sight once they moved from Baltimore to the Green Spring Valley, just a few miles outside the city.
The two families were on visiting terms, at least: I found calling cards from Aunt Conky and Cousin Risque and Cousin Constance Plummer among my mother’s papers, cards that came with my parents’ wedding presents.
Connie has another family photo, and this one clearly identifies the family of Louis Claude Burch (1881–1946) and Constance Marie Boucher: from rear center, standing, Charles Augustin Burch (1913–2001) and Constance Plummer, leaning against Aunt Conky’s armchair; Francis Boucher “Bill” Burch (1918–1987), leaning against Uncle Claude’s armchair, with John Walter Burch (1925–2007) on their father’s knee; and (seated in front) Louis Claude Burch Jr. (1917–1993), Phyllis Barry, and Bill’s twin Josephine Burch Morrow (1918–1946).
So is the handsome young woman of ca. 1910, with the pronounced chin dimple, also the stern matron of ca. 1928, with her hat drooping over her facial features – and that strong chin? It’s interesting to see my grandmother’s features in relation to Aunt Conky’s, a physiognomy that recurred two generations later in my sister Meg.
Burch family photographs courtesy of Constance Burch McGrain; Bell photo and cards from author’s collection
The series continues here.