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52 Ancestors, No. 20: Julia Corr Graham, a Proper Lady

May 20, 2014

Baby Julia Corr Sample

Here is another of my earliest attempts at photo restoration—a “Throwback Tuesday”, if you will, from early 2012. Looking back, it turned out okay. I posted it as I fount it. What you see is what you get. On the left, the baby’s face had some sort of darkness across it that seems like it shouldn’t be there. A little digital wizardry, and poof! Bye-bye darkness. A little contrast boost, and there you have it. Not bad.

Young Julia and her sisters, Helen (standing) and Mary (seated).

Young Julia and her sisters, Helen (standing) and Mary (seated).

This is an image of my great-grandmother, Julia Corr, when she was a wee babe. She was born in Philadelphia on October 6, 1904 to John and Julia (Foley) Corr. John was an Irish immigrant who built a successful wool recycling business from the $1.25 he brought with him to the New World. The elder Julia was the daughter of Irish immigrants Edward Foley and Mary Mahoney. After the elder Julia died of stomach cancer in 1906, baby Julia and her siblings were raised by their stepmother, Mary (Comey) Corr.

Young Julia Corr was the baby of the family. Her eldest sister, Mary, was about seventeen years her senior. Julia also had these other siblings: Helen, John A., another baby Julia who died in infancy, Edward, and Joseph. Like her descendants, Julia grew up in Philadelphia, but enjoyed summers by the Jersey Shore: Atlantic City, I believe, in her case. Julia married my great-grandfather, Joseph on April 10th, 1928. Their original marriage certificate is the only one I have yet to see. 


Joseph Graham and Julia Corr’s marriage certificate.

I don’t know much about Julia as a person, but I’ve heard these things: I heard that Julia enjoyed travel, and was a member of a travel club. Many of the pictures from my grandfather’s collection show Julia with her travelling friends in various places. I also heard from my grandfather that she was a prim and proper lady who kept up appearances. My Among my grandfathers old slides is one of his mother, Julia, pouring herself—gasp!—a beer in her back yard on Rhawn Street. Her head was turned in the opposite direction, apparently engaged in conversation. My grandfather told me that he had to sneak this picture. His mother, he said, would never have allowed herself to be photographed pouring herself a beer. I’ll honor her memory here by sparing you such licentious libations, but do enjoy this gallery of Julia Corr Graham through the years:

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Julia lost her husband, Joseph, to hypertension and stroke in January of 1948 at the young age of 46. Julia passed on herself a short ten years later, on December 13, 1958, two short months after my father was born. She died of heart failure at the age of 54. She is buried with the rest of the Graham family at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Cheltenham.

What had inspired me to post upon this particular ancestor today is that over the weekend I attended the exquisite wedding of my second cousin, Lynn, to her new husband, David. These are cousins that, for some reason or other, I did not see so much growing up. I feel like we ought to start making up for lost time. For their gift, I fashioned them some photos of Joseph and Julia’s wedding, as a reminder of our common origins. I had already written about Joseph in Episode No. 7, and this post completes the pair. I’m going to finish it up with this true family history treasure, in the wedding spirit. Here is some actual video footage from  Joseph and Julia’s honeymoon cruise in April of 1928.

Many thanks to Aunt Eileen and Cousin Gail for some of these pictures, and to my grandfather for other pictures and for the storytelling. Many thanks also to Cousin Sheila for digitizing and sharing the honeymoon footage. She presented the video footage to us with the most inspirational soundtrack. I returned the video to its original silence for purpose of this blog, so as not to anger the RIAA gods. If I had my druthers, I’d always watch the video with Sheila’s music mix. Thank you all! 😀

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