December 23, 2014

Children Who Made America Great

I am re-posting a piece from my other blog, A Passing Storm , though it also appeared here as well.
 I received a comment from one of Lena's family  on the other site and it made me want to re-post this because I see these children as so very important.

Here, then, is that post:

Lena late at night
How is it that we can become so interested in a person just by seeing their face? 
This is a photo of a little girl from Cincinnati Ohio .
I took a section and enlarged it and hand colored it.
This photo of Lena  Loschiavo taken in August of 1908, intrigued me.
11 years old, a bit of our own little darling reflected in her face , she sits smiling in a torn and tattered dress.
Shorpy's site did not have too much information on her except for a caption.
The person taking the photos, Lewis  Wickes Hine was doing so for the sake of research on child labor at the turn of the previous century. Hines was a photographer and sociologist.
Child labor laws were non existent in those days.

I enlarged a bit of the photo and then hand colored this portion of her photo to bring her to life a bit again. She is not finished yet.
Those old photos do very little to show a person's "light" and soul.
From a close up I took from  another photo of her, Lena's eyes appeared light, rather than very dark.
Our own little girl
So using the coloring of my 'famous anonymous kid', who is half Italian, I gave Lena some coloring.

Her eyes may have been blue/green, I used a dark brownish green with violet rings, like the "kid" .
Her skin and lip coloring are also  from the "kid".

Lena LoSchiavo
This is not done with Photoshop tricks but by hand and needs more work, but I was anxious to put it up.     I spent some time on it Friday and will do more as time allows. As you can see the hands are far from done.

At the Shorpy website, which features old photographs, people were discussing how old Lena looked. Well, not now I think.
It was late at night according to the information known about the photo and the poor kid was over tired. 
Also, they were wondering what had become of her. This lovely  eager faced child demands attention  as there is , to me at least , something intriguing about her.
When I find old photos like this I just have to color them.
To see the original photo in high definition you will need to see it on the website. I took this from a smaller photo and enlarged it myself.

It can be hard tracking people down because spellings vary from site to site.
 Immigrants were often misunderstood when telling their names to officials and so there are various spellings used in documents and records.
A name like LoSchiavo can become variously Loshavo, Lochiavo, Lochavo , depending on who heard it and how they wrote it down. Since different languages say the letters of the alphabet differently, asking someone to spell it was not always an option.

If I am correct in my research, Lena was born in 1898 in America to Italian immigrants Charles Loschiavo and his wife Mary Gentile Loschiavo. There were 4 children, Giuseppe who died 9 days old, an unnamed infant who died at birth , another girl, Petrina who was a few years older than Lena and passed way in 1962 at the age of 67.
Petrina Loschiavo seems to have  married John Mercurio.

Note:  I am correct as we have heard from the family of Petrina Mercurio confirming that this is right.
Charles Loschiavo, Lena's father,  passed away at age 34, when Lena was 10 or 11. This may well be why she was selling on the corner to add to  the family income. Mrs. Mary LoSchiavo had lost a son  in February at 9 days old and her husband in July of the same year.

Lena seems to have married Charles Mercurio at age 16 or 17(?) and had a little girl , Terita, who passed away at age 84 in 1999, 11 years after her mother.
Lena, passed away in 1988 at the age of 90.

She and some of her family are buried in the  St Joseph New Cemetery in Cincinnati. I found all this in their interment records.

I also 'Googled'  the site of the  corner where Lena sold pretzels and baskets from 11:00 AM  in the morning til Midnight in front of the 6th Street Market 'saloon' entrance  at 209 West Sixth Street in Cincinnati.

You can compare it with the corner that you see in the photo of Lena in the previous post.

I dubbed it
"Lena's Corner"
“Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” Exodus 20
Lena worked hard to help support her mother....
Rest peacefully Lena.

(siggie from Judy)


  1. How beautifully colored the photo is so far! How fascinating to be able to give depth to the girl in that photo, especially learning her history. What a sad life for her mother to lose two babies and her husband!

  2. What a beautiful post....thank you for sharing Lena's story & beautiful photo with us.

  3. I remember the original post. I still enjoy reading it and it's pretty remarkable that you've brought Lena's story to life. Happy holidays to you and yours!

  4. Hi Annie, I enjoyed this post so much! I love looking at old photos and imagining what their lives were like! How talented you are to bring them to life with color!!
    Merry Christmas to you and your family! May you all be blessed!

  5. Hi Annie! Thanks for the Merry Christmas email. Hope your back is doing well and sending warmest holiday wishes your way! (((Hugz)))

  6. Oh yes, I remember this beautiful story. :)
    Have a wonderful Holiday Season, Annie!

  7. Happy Holidays, Annie :)

  8. Hi Annie; Let me thank you dear friend for stopping by my blog while I was offline because of a concussion and the flu. Worst December I've had in years. Thanks again. I hope your holidays were happy and joyful ones and wish you a very Happy New Year filled with hope, health and blessings throughout the coming year.
    I love this post and remember the wonderful story about Lena. Have a lovely week ahead my friend. Hugs

  9. Wishing you all the very best in the coming New Year, Annie. It was fascinating to read about Lena, thank you for sharing it.

  10. What a beautiful post and story of this beautiful child Lena. I love what you did with the coloring of her picture and I am so happy you did hear from the family. How wonderful. I am so happy I was able to catch this post!!
    Happy New Year my friend.

  11. Happy New Year, Annie!

  12. I always enjoy reading your posts ! Thank you for sharing the gift of Lena's story and picture .
    Sometimes , the details of a life passed are forgotten...all that seems to remain is a photo and many questions . Your compassion and diligence brought light to her circumstances then and the life that followed . She mattered , indeed !

  13. Hi Annie, I hope you are ok, you are missed. Happy New Year! Hugs


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