Still a Mystery: Can We Crowd Source a Solution?

After two decades of research with an ever-growing quiver of tools, you wouldn’t think it could be true, but there are still mysteries to solve in Emilie Loring’s life from the clues she left behind. Here is one.

What clues are here?

This photo is in the Loring family’s collection. Whose room is this? By the furnishings mixed in this small space, it appears to be an apartment. Emilie’s sister, her friends the Hallet sisters, she and Victor, and she by herself, all lived in hotel apartments. Or maybe it’s not an apartment but a cozy room in a house.

When do people photograph interiors without people in them? When they move in, when they decorate, when they move out. This room is too well populated to be a recent move-in or redecoration. I’m going to guess that it’s a photograph taken to remember a place when leaving. That means it’s likely a place of some sentimental importance.

Does it match a description in one of Emilie’s books? Could it be Emilie’s apartment on Chestnut Street? Maybe her room at the Bellevue Hotel? Am I wrong to assume that it’s a Loring/Baker location? What if it’s a photo taken for a friend? (Loring family: If you know the answer, we’re all ears!)

I haven’t yet taken the room apart to research its separate clues: the light fixture, for example. Would it compare to those at the Bellevue, the Hotel Puritan, or Chestnut Street? Those appear to be full sets of books on the corner bookcase. Is it possible to see greater detail? The cut glass pieces on the right remind me of pieces I’ve seen in Loring homes. Could they be the same, or are they only similar?

Photographs, artworks, furnishings, rugs, curtains, the windows themselves… Everything in this photo is a clue, if enough patience is applied to follow it to where it leads. Are you up for the challenge?

Post any ideas or bits that you discover in the comments below. I’ll keep checking back, and maybe we’ll solve this together.

Ready, set, go!

Happy Landings: Emilie Loring’s Life, Writing, and Wisdom

Coming March 2023

Thanks to all of you who have reserved your autographed copies of Happy Landings!

Thanks, also, to those who let me know that one of the links I posted didn’t work. Eeek. I’m sorry. It’s fixed now, and you can reserve copies for another week at the guaranteed price of $35 (plus tax and shipping). You can find the link here:

Welcome to Our Tea and First Look: Happy Landings

My Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins

I tried the Jordan Marsh blueberry muffin recipe, and I can vouch for its deliciousness! The only tip I would add is to make more. Ours disappeared quickly.

If you missed the recipe, it’s here: Kudos and Muffins for You

Lake Life

I’ll be back next week to see if we’ve made any headway with our mystery. Meanwhile, I wish you a relaxing, rejuvenating week.

Happy Landings!

15 thoughts on “Still a Mystery: Can We Crowd Source a Solution?

  1. More Deep Thoughts (!) before I call it a night:

    I hope that I remain consistent. This may most likely be a ground level room since the windows go so low. I don’t think upper floor windows typically go that close to the floor–even in an urban apartment, I’d think…?

    The ground level floor may be raised, however, by steps up to the level of a porch/veranda that does NOT extend to the side of the house that the windows face. There appears to be no porch or awning that blocks light in any way. At the top of the windows I think are shades. I don’t think an awning would allow such bright light to pass through below them. I think the shadows would extend downward more than they do if those were outside awnings, and not interior shades.

    I think too much! I do hope this helps you in some way!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Due to dust and carriage traffic, I believe that sitting rooms and such usually occupied the second floor and above. I’ll see if I can pull out any more detail in/around the windows.


  2. Hi Patti,

    I have no idea what city/building that the room was/is located in. I am no expert either, but I do have a few ideas after looking at it a bit, if I may:
    * Very early 20th century, maybe pre-WW 1, going by the furnishings.
    *It looks like a library, somewhat formal but busy room, perhaps where the lady of the house planned her menus and paid bills, while husband read.
    *The room looks more urban/suburban than rural or ocean front. But hey what do I know about how people furnished ocean front homes 100 years ago?
    *By the light coming in the windows, I do not think this to be a ground level room. The light at the lower part of the windows (which look like they are quite low) would be blocked by shrubs or muted if the room were ground level.
    *If the room is ground level, it would be east or west facing in a house at the top of a hill. The sun comes in directly as if east or west facing. At least, the land on the side of the house the windows are facing is downward sloping.

    Apparently I’m now in WordPress and am commenting via that account. It’s still Peggy in IL

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It looks like a personal setting but she cold have transformed the room at the Bellevue Hotel. Enjoyed guessing with the clues. Love, Raqui

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting that there is two ceiling light? One over the dressing table in the back right corner. The appear to be gas. So an earlier era. Is it possibly a room in the house Emile grew up in?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Patti — Here’s one thought about the picture. There are companies that “restore” old photos — including color (if there was any?). I have no clue about how good the (real) results are since I’ve only seen ads. But maybe a clearer version would make it easier to examine individual pieces.

    Just a thought!


    Dr. Barbara Lowe 662-801-2166


    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are right, Barbara. We definitely need a better image. I have a suite of tools that I will try—Gigapixel AI, Sharpen AI, Denoise AI, and Photoshop Express Premium. I’ll see how far I can get!


  6. Hopefully someone will recognize something.

    The other thing you might do although I think you target exactly the right individuals. Is to reach out to an architectural historian in the Boston area. If it even is in Boston. Ditto anybody tied to some of the specific buildings mentioned.

    Or perhaps to a Kennedy family historian. Since so many of them had apartments in that one building that was eventually converted to condos. The one that we discussed — gosh was it a year ago or so ago?

    For grins — even though I didn’t think I’d get anything — tossed the picture into Google image search – because hey —you never know. No luck though.l

    You are clearly an excellent researcher — so suspect you probably tried some of the things I’m suggesting already — before you crowd sourced — but just thought I’d throw the ideas out there..

    eagerly anticipating publication of the book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Helpful ideas, Anna. Thank you! I thought it would be fun to show the insides of a research project, so I didn’t give myself the “Go” light until I posted. This morning, I’m sharpening the image to pull out details better, and with your ideas, I’ll also contact some content experts. I follow an architectural historian in Boston on Instagram. Let’s see if he has ideas.


  7. Patti, Do you suppose this room was like those in several of her books that were used by the lady of the house? Without looking at my books I can’t give you an example, but the mother would often do her paperwork and letters there. Just a thought. Sincerely, Linda Anne Osborn

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    Liked by 1 person

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