Archive for April, 2014

Liam and Joseph sat on the stoop, smoking. Smoking and talking. About work (while there were plenty of it needing to be done, nobody could pay a living wage), and about how lucky they were, anyway, to be in America.

The men found each other at sea, while coming from Europe to America. The two bonded quickly, and before disembarking at Ellis Island, decided to stick together. Neither had family here, and so became brothers. On paper. The Island, the people were practically on top of one another, as everyone scrambled to be processed. To etch a few changes to their papers was easy, and those who were in-checking the new arrivals, harried. They boarded the ship of hope as strangers, and arrived in Philadelphia after a brief go at it in New York City, as brothers.

They were close. They loved each other. And by posing as brothers, nobody would suspect their intimacy as anything but that of close brothers. Just easier that way.

This photo was taken by the mild-mannered, quiet & unassuming photographer, Mr. John Frank Keith, whose collections of work may be seen at the Library Company of Philadelphia.

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