Couple Sets a Trend with Their 1925 ‘Selfies’

Many decades before the social phenomenon of taking self-portraits or “selfies” became all the rage, a young honeymooning couple in July 1925 predicted the trend by snapping their own photos at a camp site in Hayward, Wisconsin.

Carl F. Hanneman and the former Ruby Viola Treutel were married on July 14, 1925 at St. James Catholic Church in tiny Vesper, Wisconsin. For their honeymoon, they chose to motor to Wisconsin’s North Woods. Part of their time was spent at a cottage owned by friends, Mr. and Mrs. Armand Bauer, in Hayward.

Carl F. and Ruby V. Hanneman took these selfies on their honeymoon in July 1925.
Carl F. and Ruby V. Hanneman took these selfies on their honeymoon in July 1925.

Being a budding photographer, Carl took lots of photos from their trip, some candid and even playful. Two that stand out are ‘selfies’ taken by Carl and Ruby. Carl’s is at a good distance and quite sharp, while Ruby’s was an ultra-closeup, a bit out of focus. Given the camera technology of the day, these photos were more of a feat than it might seem. Nothing like snapping a quick shot today with an iPhone 6.

Ruby V. Hanneman rides on the shoulders of new husband Carl at their honeymoon camp at Hayward, Wisconsin.
Ruby V. Hanneman rides on the shoulders of new husband Carl at their honeymoon camp at Hayward, Wisconsin.

Other photos from the trip showed Carl walking with Ruby on his shoulders, Carl slinging a pail and Ruby sitting at a picnic table with a youngster who resembles her younger brother, Marvin Treutel (but might have been their hosts’ boy).

He could be carrying milk from the barn, but Carl F. Hanneman (1901-1982) is actually on a honeymoon camping trip in this July 1925 photo.
He could be carrying milk from the barn, but Carl F. Hanneman (1901-1982) is actually on a honeymoon camping trip in this July 1925 photo.
Camp scene from near Hayward, Wis. in July 1925. Pictured is the Ford Model T belonging to Carl F. Hanneman (1901-1982) of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. Hanneman was on his honeymoon with Ruby V. (Treutel) Hanneman (1904-1977) of Vesper, Wis.
Camp scene from near Hayward, Wis. in July 1925. Pictured is the Ford Model T belonging to Carl F. Hanneman (1901-1982) of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. Hanneman was on his honeymoon with Ruby V. (Treutel) Hanneman (1904-1977) of Vesper, Wis.

Carl and Ruby had no way to know that the ‘selfie’ would become a dominant means of communication among young people around the world, or that the practice would spawn social media platforms, a television series, songs and videos on YouTube.

It’s good to be a trend-setter.

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