Monday, December 29, 2008

The Little Mascot

I am working with the San Francisco Fire Department Museum. They have a wonderful collection that dates from the Volunteer Era of the 1850s to the current SFFD. I've taken photos (not great quality, I know) of the objects in the collection for inventory purposes.

This is a portrait of a little girl whose father was a fireman during the Volunteer Era, before the paid department was established in 1866. She is wearing a parade uniform which would have consisted of a red shirt, parade belt, scarf, pins, a miniature helmet, and a ribbon from the event in which she and her father were participating. Her belt has the number 1 with a crossed ladder and pike pole, the symbol of the St. Francis Hook & Ladder Company No. 1. According to our records, her name was Nellie Connell.

At the time, children of firemen would often proudly serve as mascots for their fathers' companies, riding atop apparatus in parades and posing in group photos, in miniature versions of firemen's uniforms.

We don't know much about this particular portrait and this little girl--at least not yet-- but I really love it!

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