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Mystery Photo identified


August 20, 2020

-Submitted photo

Here is Ardith Lee Hunt White in an undated photo by a photographer who offered his services in Dayton in the 1930s, a photo in the possession of her son, David White of Walla Walla. The "Mystery Photo" was made from a negative discovered in the former Frontier Too Tavern during recent renovation.

DAYTON–The "Mystery Photo" has been identified and by the most ethereal manner imaginable.

Eagle-eyed subscriber Debbie Seney contacted the Dayton Chronicle with the suggestion that the little lady pictured in the August 13 edition might be the late Ardith Lee (Hunt) White. A few weeks ago, Seney had easily identified a different "mystery photo" as being a family portrait of her father's family.

How did Seney reverse-age someone she was acquainted with later in life enough to identify the subject? "It's her mouth wrinkles," Seney laughed.

Mrs. White was born in 1932 and died in 2015, and had been a bookkeeper for the Dixie School District, retiring in 1994, and Seney succeeded her. "She was a wonderful lady, a hard worker," Seney remembers.

White's son David was soon in touch with the newspaper and this week he brought in photographs of the same young girl, in a different outfit, but with exactly the same anklets and patent leather shoes.

-Submitted photo

He is absolutely amazed regarding how Seney figured out the little girl in the photo was the same person so many decades later.

White had two prints, a four by six folder popular in the 1930s, and a hand-colored eight by ten. The signature on the prints appears to be Kleb or Klebs.

The negative found by owner and renovator Kim Lyonnais in the Frontier Too renovation was one of the group of pictures taken during the sitting.

On a related note, subscriber Marilyn Groom of Huntsville called to mention that she has a photo of her sister in the same wicker chair occupied by young Ardith, indicating that numerous Touchet Valley families felt it important to go to the expense of having formal portraits taken during the hardships of the Great Depression.


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