HBC receives many images from readers with no identifying information. We can usually identify the country, especially if the entire image is available, including the back. Even without this, the clothing styles, child's physical characteristics, background, type of photograph, or other indicators allow us to identify the country or to approxinmately date the image. We have acquired some images that we have had difficulty identifying. We will archive these images here and welcome any insights HBC readers are able to contribute.
This unidentified boy looks to be about 15 years old (figure 1). He wears knee pants and black long stockings. The tie looks odd to us--square at the bottom and unusually short. But the haircut looks fairly modern. It is a studio photo, given the artificial background and the attempt to simulate an outdoor setting. The fact that he is not wearing a jacket makes the portrait more informal than was common in the early-20th century. Our cointributor labeled it as German.
We at first thought the boy might be American. American boys, including many teenagers, commonly wore knee pants in the 1900s and black long stockings were common. This portrait, however, does not look like a 1900s photograph. Boys in the 1900s would have worn jackets. And the low-cut shoes look more like the shoes worn after World War I in the 1920s. And if the portrait was taken in the 1920s it would not be American. By the 1910s, American boys this age werre no longer wearing knee pants. They were wearing knickers or perhaps long pants. Thus we think the boy is probably German. We would guess the portrait was taken in the 1920s, perhaos the early-30s. We see German boys wearing knee pants into the 1930s, although short pants were more common.