Woman's Work is Never Done series
Aunt Hazel at the Telegraph
"Aunt Hazel at the Telegraph."
This is a portrait of my Great-Aunt Hazel working as a telegrapher in East Palestine, Ohio in the mid-1910s. She and her husband Andy ran the Postal Telegraph office, a competitor of Western Union.
I enlivened monochrome colored pencil painting by using the full range of Prismacolor's cool, warm, and French grays to warm up the foreground, push back the wall and background, and add a hint of local color to her skin and clothing.
This is the second painting in the series, "Woman's Work is Never Done," which I have been working on for my mother. Though it isn't for sale, high quality archival prints are for sale from Imagekind.
Hazel Elliott Blaschak
The Elliott's were my mom's maternal ancestors, who lived in a small town (now even tinier) called Hammondsville in southeastern Ohio.
Hazel was born in 1894 to Howard and Mary Alice Householder Elliott, my maternal great-grandparents. She was the eldest child, born at home in the old farm house at the foot of Somerset Hill along Route 213 in Hammondsville, Ohio where the Edison School District and Stanton Elementary School now stand. Hazel was big sister to seven younger children and another brother was born after she left home.
Hazel was 19 years old in 1913 when she married Andrew (Andy) Blaschak, who became a certified member of the Postal-Telegraph Association in 1914. He was manager of their office in East Palestine, Ohio and Hazel was a telegraph operator. We are guessing this photo was taken as they embarked on their new careers. The photo, along with an article about Hazel and Andy Blaschak were featured in the Fall/Winter issue of Dots and Dashes, the official publication of the Morse Telegraph Club. Memorabilia of their career are a part of collection of The East Palestine Historical Society, and appear on our family web site.
We don't know how long the East Palestine office was open, but the Postal-Telegraph went out of business during the financial crash in 1929.
Hazel and Andy later lived in nearby Austintown, Ohio.