Unknown Woman

in a

Black and White Dress

Vintage Photo of Unknown Woman in Formal Dress

In the 90’s, this movie “Somewhere in Time,” featuring late actor Christopher Reeves, became an instant romantic favorite. In it, Reeves falls madly in love with a mesmerizing woman he discovers in an old portrait.  The problem: she was already dead centuries ago! Fortunately for our lovesick hero, he is able to visit his maiden each time he falls into a deep trance or sleep-state. 

The discovery of this “old portrait” in the Dexter Johnson Collection at the Glennon Archives, has that kind of magical air about it.  Fortunately, these days, no one has to perish in order to appreciate the power of timelessness.  The collection where this photograph lives, contains a number of crisp, vintage portraits from the Woburn High School class of 1906 and 1905. We can identify half of these individuals because their names are painstakingly rendered, in flowery script, in the back of the pictures. On the other hand, the other half is shrouded in mystery.

This portrait of a young lady with a “La Joconde” [aka Mona Lisa] smile, alas is part of the unknown half. Who is she? Where did she live? How did she live?

As the mysteries of the Glennon Archives surface to light, these are some of the questions that remain to be answered…

In the meantime, sometimes it’s difficult to know what to do with the vintage photographs we stumble upon. Here are a few creative resources below to give new life to family memories and legacies.


“Unknown Woman in Black & White Dress”

Dexter B. Johnson Collection

“Woburn High School Old Portraits”