** boys first communion country trends: unknown country

First Communion Country Trends: Unknown Countries

Figure 1.--The boys, presumably brothers, wear identical sailor suits for their First Communion. We are not sure about the country, but think that it may be Mexico. The portrait was probably taken about 1920. Click on the image for a close up.

We have found some images of boys doing their First Communions that we cannot identify the country involved. Sometimes we can guess the country based on a range of clues such as appearance and clothing styles. In some cases the photographs are dated, but often they are not.In other instances this is much more difficult. We will load some of these images here. Perhaps HBC readers can help ifentify the countries involved.

Unknown First Communion 1: Mexico?

Here we see a studio portrait of two boys wearing matching sailor suits. They are traditionally styled kneepants sailor suits. They wear white long stockings and strap shoes with their outfits. We would guess that theys are from a well to do family. This suggests that the boys are brothers, although they look differet. It would be unusual for the boys to be identically dressed if they were not brothers, especiaslly when the stockings and shoes are the same. We believe that the boys are n their First Communion outfits, although only one has a hymnal. He also has a sleeve sash. It is not a style we have noted before. Note that while we can not see the sleeve of the seated boy very clearly, it looks like he also has a sleeve ribbon. Both boys wears a small ribbon on the lapel of their "V" sailor clars. The portrait wa printed at the time which was an option offered by many studios. The portrait is undated, but we would guess anout 1920. The studio is unidentified, thus we do not know country the boys are from. The boys look Latin American to us. We would guess that they are probably Mexican, but we have now way of knowing. They certainly seem to be from a Latin American country with a Native American population.

Unknown First Communion 2: Belgium?

Here we have a First Communion portrait. Unfortunately it is an image of unknown provenance. We believe it is probably Belgian. The imge is also undated, but we believe was probably taken in the 1930s. We are unsure how to describe the boy's outfit. We believe it is probably best described as a front-buttoning smock. Perhaps it is a long jacket, but smock seems a better description. It may have been a kind of school uniform. This is the only example of a boy wearing a smock for a First Communion that we have ever encountered. Usually the smock was seen as a utilitarian garment for every day wear. Note the white gloves which the boy also wore for First Communion.

Unknown First Communion 3: United States?

This looks to us like like an American First Communion group with the priest overseeing the event. The portrait is undated, but looks like theearly-1920s to us. We suspect that the children did not go to a Catholic schol as thee may hve been more similarity in how they dressed. The girls all wear the white junior wedding dresses so common for First Communion. The boys, however, wear an a variety of juvenile. Most are dressy outfits, but one boy looks to be wearing a very basic sweter looking rather like a polo shirt. We are guessing that he came from a low income family. All of these outfits except this one look Americn to us, although American boys usually dressed more formally than this. The principal reason that we are not sure if this was an American group is that so many of the boys have close-cropped hair, not short hair but cropped hair. This was not very common in America, but more common in Europe. So it is posiblr that the childrn here could be European, perhaps German. The children do look ethnically similar than might be expected in America. Many American Catholic churches, however, had etnically based populations such as Irish, Italin, or Polish. So that may be what we seeing here. Perhaps readers will have some thoughts.

Unknown First Communion 4: Yugoslavia?

This unidentified boy wears a white short pants sailor suit with ankle socks and sanadals. He has a cabndle whivh was common in several European countries. He looks to be about 9 years old. It is a posrcard-back portrait. There is no information on the back, but the style was that which was common in Central and Eastern Europe. The boy looks a little German, but the sailor neckerchief is not tied as was common in Germany. It is not dated, but looks to have been taken in the 1930s. We are not at all sure where it was taken, but believe Yugosalvia is a likely possibility. German fashiions were a major influence in Yugoslavia.

Unknown First Communion 5: Yugoslavia?

Here we see a First Communion portrait, we think in the 1930s. We are not sure about the country. But we think it is a Catholic country in southern Europe. The boy wears traditionsal white short pants sailor suit with white knee socks. We think the most likely country is southern Europe, perhaps Croatia. Given the style of the sailor suit, it is not Germany. We supose it could be Italian or Spanish, but the posing is unlike what we generally seen in those countries and more like Yugoslavia. The same is true of the postcard back although there is no printing there. Sailor suits eerepopulsr Furst Communion outfits in southerrn Europe.


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Created: March 18, 2001
Last edited: 2:14 AM 11/25/2020