Edith Ralph’s tintypes offer a window into family’s history

10:38 am | December 17, 2012

Elizabethton resident Edith Ralph treasures a set of tintype photographs she inherited from her mother.
Although she knows the identity of the people in two of the photos, the third photo in the set remains a mystery.
“It’s a woman and two children,” Ralph said. “I sure wish I knew who they were.”
Tintype, also known as melainotype and ferrotype, is a term for a photograph made by creating a direct positive on a sheet of iron that is blackened by painting, lacquering or enameling.
One of Ralph’s tintypes depicts her grandmother, Margaret Renfro Febuary.
Another features her grandmother, as well as her grandfather, William Febuary.
Ralph is the youngest of eight children born to Waitsel Stewart Febuary and Emma Cox Febuary.
Her mother handed the tintype photographs down to her daughter. “She knew I’d take care of them,” Ralph said.

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