1900-1945: Anna and Richard Wagner

"The first card shows the young and newly married couple - Richard sports a silver topped cane and Anna lift up Meitz, her cat, to show him the various gifts they have received. The house is sparsely decorated but comfortable."


“By 1912 their material wealth has increased, as have their waistlines. Richard now sits at the desk as Anna tidies around him."

“A map is included in the 1915 picture to show the advances of the German Troops in the Great War."

“By 1917, the fortunes of the War have been reversed, and Anna and Richard are in their overcoats, signaling the lack of winter fuel."

“In 1927, Richard begins to wear glasses and is hair is showing signs of grey. Anna’s Christmas present for that year is a vacuum cleaner – electricity has been installed."

“1935 is a frugal year and Richard begins to look older."

“By 1942, both have gone completely grey and are again wearing their winter coats. The final picture in the series shows Anna all alone – no tree, no presents. Richard had died in August of that year. And even though Anna lived another five years, the series stops here”

From 1900 to 1945 Anna and Richard Wagner had a photograph taken of themselves in their front room every Christmas Eve, and they sent the picture as a Christmas Card to their friends. Here are eight of the pictures, with a commentary from Kristen Lippincott‘s The Story of Time.

12 Responses

  1. John Simpson

    I’m confused. I thought Wagner lived 22 May 1813 – 13 February 1883.

  2. Filipe

    Are we talking about the same Richard Wagner?
    The one I know, the composer, died in 1883.

  3. Gibson Girl

    Interesting to see the evolution of the Christmas tree. The first couple pictures look like what I’d seen in old tree photos — it’s a small thing set up on a table. But then in the ‘teens they begin to use the full-size trees like we know today.

  4. Carrie

    Anyone notice how she is aging faster than he is, I bet she worked herself to the bone.

  5. Melynda

    It’s so weird to see lives documented into a few pictures. One day a year for forty-five years all viewable in a few minutes. And the last caption about Richard having died the year the last photos were taken and they were of Anna alone is sad.

  6. Tony Young

    These are wonderful photos, would love to see the entire set. I also suggest that it would have been better to have the pics start with 1900 at the top of the page.

  7. Shiela

    Electricity was installed much earlier than in the 1927 photo with the vacuum cleaner. There is a light bulb clearly visible in the lamp on the wall in the 1912 picture.

    Great set. I wonder if they ever had children.


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