Skip to main content


June 2024
1min read

This portrait of a primly hatted group, plus one in a baseball cap, came to us from a sister to be, Greta S. Andersson, who, although not yet born at the time, recalls the family lore surrounding the occasion: “Father had a splitting headache, and no doubt it was felt by the three little girls. The littlest one, Vera, in the cap, had sat down some weeks earlier on a pile of coal dust left by a delivery of coal. Father, coming home from work, saw her methodically putting the dust down the front of her dress and massaging it into her hair. He carried her (gingerly) up to the third-floor apartment and said to Mama, ‘Look at your child!’ Tears had already made streaks down Vera’s cheeks.

“A bath did its job, but a shampoo didn’t. So it was necessary to shave off all her hair before getting at the coal dust, which stuck to her scalp like glue. For a while she wore this cap and was called Charlie, until her hair grew out again.”

We continue to ask our readers to send unusual and unpublished old photographs to Carla Davidson at American Heritage, Forbes Building, 60 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011. Please send a copy of any irreplaceable materials, include return postage, and do not mail glass negatives. We will pay one hundred dollars for each one that is run.

Enjoy our work? Help us keep going.

Now in its 75th year, American Heritage relies on contributions from readers like you to survive. You can support this magazine of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it by donating today.