Old Lauper Photograph Album

This old photo album, over 100 years old and showing its age, is a treasured family heirloom given to Emma Vissing Lauper by her half brother Niels in 1902. The Lauper family were living at Mercur, Utah, at the time. He probably brought along the picture of himself, and the Laupers most likely immediately inserted several photographs that they already had on hand, adding a couple more during the following years.

Album Cover
Lauper Famiy Photo Album

The album is not large, but for the children of the Lauper family, it held many memories, accompanying stories and links to family. The photographs have been scanned for viewing on this site, and identifications have been made wherever possible. Emma had the album in her possession up until her death in 1958 at San Francisco. Following are a couple of accounts by Alice Lauper Brown regarding the Album.

Note in Album

Both Alice and her sister Viola agree that the Album was intended to go their brother, Emma and Emile's youngest son Ralph. However, it appears that shortly after Emma's passing, Alice presented the album to Ralph's young son, David, with the accompanying note:

Dear David,

I'm glad to give this to you for Grandma. I just hope it will always be treasured as it has been in the past. Neils [Niels] was Grandma's brother. They were both born in Denmark, and though they were brought to America separately, they lived together again with their Grandmother in Moroni, Utah. Then, when Uncle Niels was about eleven, and Grandma about nine, he went to live in Idaho with his mother and step-father -- he he didn't get along well there, so ran away and lived on his own thereafter. Grandma didn't see him again until she was married and living in Mercur. At that time he came to see her once, and that's when he gave her this album, in 1902. -- I think Grandma only saw him once again when he came to the hospital in Tremonton, Utah, to see her just after your daddy was born. Now he is old and invalid, living in Idaho, so soon they will meet in another land. Grandma loved him , and she loved this old album dearly, and to us, as children, it always represented a great deal of strength, beauty, and security.

Bye, Aunt Alice

Looking Backwards - Memories of Mother's Old Album

written by Alice Lauper Brown

Dedication Page, with explantory note from Viola

In the very early years of my parent's married life, and while they were living at Mercur, Utah, an older brother of my mother came to spend a few days with them. During his stay in Mercur, this brother, Nels, gave as a gift to mother, an ALBUM, a green, plush one of good size, prettily-decorated with flowers and with gold-covered knobs for feet. In the back of the album was a music box and a place to wind it. It played two lovely pieces, and then replayed them until it ran down.

The album became one of the family's most choice possessions. Years later, when, as one of the sizeable group of tow-headed, freckle-faced youngsters, I was privileged -- on occasions -- to look through it and wind the music box, I enjoyed it with awe and wonder. Often, I'm afraid, the meachnism was wound too tightly, and then we would have start the music by flipping the fly wheel, down inside. This mecanism had originally been protected by a small square of isenglass, the inference being that one should look and listen, but not touch. [Isenglass is a transparent resin, like plastic.] Said isenglass had long since been broken away from its point of usefulness, and it was, for all the years of my remembrance, carefully kept between pages toward the back of the album, regretfully dicarded, I used to think, but I still respected it as a part of our lovely album.

No picture in the book was without its story and special significance. It was a delight to sit with mother and ecourage her to recount incidents and happenings pertaining to each of them, as we leisurely turned the pages.

First, there was the wedding picture of Grandfather Jacob Busk Wissing [Jakob Busch Vissing, blood father of mother Emma Lauper], then some uncles, and the graduation pictures of some cousins. There was a fine portrait copy of Aunt Alice Lauper Phillips [sister of father Emile Lauper], when she was sixteen, [followed by] one of her daughter, cousin Liliane, as a little girl (looking very pretty and sweet in curls and starch). There was one of [my] brother Serge James Lauper, as a baby and in the nude -- so sort of shocking! [Following that was] one of my mother's favorites: her cousin Freda [Alfreda Jacobsen Nielson, daughter of Emma's maternal Aunt Anne]. Somewhere among them all was a picture of my mother and father at the time of their marriage. It was a most beautiful picture, and I was always so proud of it. Dad was handsome then -- a little short of hair already -- [with] a perky moustache and blue eyes with lots of character showing through. He was as fine and upstanding as he could be. He had a strong body, of which he was rightly proud and thankful. He was 30 years old when he married Mother in the Salt Lake Temple -- October 31, 1900.

Further Notes from David Peterson, in 2004

This album continues in the possession of David Lauper. I asked his son Michael to perform an inventory and scanning of what I called the "old green album". "Green?", he questioned. Apparently the "green" has almost entirely worn or faded away. There is only a small strip of green velvet left along the outside binding.

Several of the photographs were removed at one point so that copies could be made (by Viola) and not all of them got back into the album. This can be seen from notations on the back of some photos about copies, and the fact that Alice refers to the picture of her parents, which is not found in the album in 2004. These pictures are not lost, but are now found in other albums.

Full page from Album, showing Niels Peterson

All of the photographs are "old-fashioned" renderings, in sepia tones, mounted on pasteboard. These rather thick cards are "slid" into slots in the pages that hold them for viewing through pre-cut "frames". There is only one large photograph, or two smaller photographs per page. Many of the the photographs are showing deterioration with age. In the scanned pictures, only minor attempts have been made to remove blemishes or otherwise the enhance the photographs.

There are annotations on a few of the pages surrounding the photos, as well as annotations on the backs of several of the photographs. Some of these are old (original?) annotations and some are relatively recent notes added by Viola Lauper Johnson to help identify the subjects. Unfortunately, after not seeing the pictures for many years, Viola is not sure who some of the subjects are, although fairly sure that they are cousins or friends of the family.

The music box, understandably, is inoperative. I have yet to find any indication of what tunes it played.

Contents of the Album

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