Friday, April 21, 2017

Three little Athya’s portrait

Howard Athya, Jim Athya, and Mary Athya (ca. 1934)
This beautiful portrait is of Howard George Athya, James Jem Athya, and Mary Margaret Athya—three of George Durie Athya and Bertha Edna Smith’s children. George and Bertha had a fourth child—their first born named John Thompson Athya—who wasn’t living with the family at the time the portrait was taken. Instead, he lived with Bertha’s mother Amanda Larimer Horne Smith and brother Benjamin Gordon Smith. Amanda and Ben moved John into their home in late 1926 or early 1927 in hopes of making life easier for Bertha, who was pregnant with Howard at the time. The move was supposed to be temporary—just until Bertha got back on her feet after Howard was born—but it turned into a long-term stay. John had visited the Smith household many times and was comfortable being with his grandmother and uncle. He liked it there and as young as he was, decided that’s where he wanted to live. It hurt Bertha’s feelings but she realized it was for the best.

I estimate this portrait was taken circa 1934. The frame is blue and silver with a decorative scalloped edge and is 10” x 16.” The portrait was probably taken in Apollo, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania but may have been sent out for framing. The back has a sticker on it that reads “A Midwest Studios Portrait, Portland Oregon.” The framed piece is in excellent condition on the front. The paper covering on the back is slightly torn but in pretty good shape as well. I assume the framed piece once belonged to Bertha and George before being passed to Mary, and then to my husband. Mary Athya Murphy was my mother-in-law.

Howard Athya, Jim Athya, and Mary Athya Murphy (ca. 2004)

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