Roxy Louridge (Nana Lou’s mother and great grandmother to Rochelle Louridge), was ahead of her time. As a pioneer in the field of photography she was the original creator of the idea behind the GIFaChrome (which later evolved into the Drone-a-Chrome). You can learn more about her work at the GIFaChrome website. And listen to a Smithsonian Institute recording of Roxy documenting her discovery after a fire destroyed her lab notes.
Roxy was not only a rare female scientist and engineer, she also protested alongside Great Great Aunt Elsie for the women’s right to vote and was a courageous out-spoken worker’s rights activist. Her family’s early beginnings building the shoe manufacturer and trading company F.W. Louridge & Co provided fertile ground for such radical ideas to take root.
Excerpt from the GIFaChrome.com About page.
Over a century and a half ago in the port city of Genova in Italy, the Louridge family established its first trading company, F.W. Louridge & Co. The location with its proximity to the rest of Europe and its historic trade connections with Britain, Holland, Denmark, Germany, and a host of other countries, was ideal for an international shoemaker firm. F.W. Louridge & Co soon became one of Italy’s most prosperous shoe makers. Emily Louridge married into the Ferragamo family the king of designer shoes in Italy today.
Photos found on Flickr courtesy of the US National Library of Congress
Well RockyLou as you know, MawMaw refused to have “that woman’s name” uttered in our house, but I did reach out to Great Uncle Harry, (PawPaw’s brother Truman’s boy) to ask after more stories about Elsie because of your box of photos. Now Great Uncle Harry’s as deaf as a post, but his eyesight’s pretty good so I toodled on over to see him at the nursing home, where he was sitting out dozing outside in the shade. He spent some time back east and Elsie made him welcome, as kin do. He identified more of the pictures for us, including Rose Sanderson (she of the trumpet) and Helene Dutriel, who were all part of Elsie’s inner circle.
Now believe it or not, Rose Sanderson was part of an all girl’s band that used to play and tour up and down the coast into the twenties and thirties! I had no idea women were so adventurous back then! I found a video that has Rose Sanderson in it (she’s the one holding the trumpet at around 14 seconds in) so I thought I would post it here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3gO18N2CJs
She was a snazzy dresser and had a voice that sounded like smoke, with a great big booming laugh. Harry says he had an enormous crush on her when he was twelve and followed her around like a puppy dog. Elsie used to tease Rose about the trail of broken hearts she used to leave.
Information about Helene Dutriel is a lot harder to find as she was a bit of a daredevil (sort of self evident by her photo!) but Harry swears she was an amazing flyer and a great mechanic. He remembers meeting her in the thirties on a visit to Elsie and she showed him her airplane! He even held tools and passed them to her while she was working on the engine.
Harry was starting to get tired by then (he is over 95 after all!) but he said drop by again and he’ll tell us some more about the photos. Still as sharp as a tack, for all that he needs a nap now and then.
Bless your heart,
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