Throw WAY WAY Back Thursday

Sometimes I do #ThrowbackThursday where you’re just supposed to put an old picture up on the internet but today I’m going a step further.  I’ve been doing some research into my family history but it’s filled with dead ends and few pictures because my father’s family are all Bohemian immigrants who didn’t believe in selfies, apparently.  But I went looking for pictures of people living in the Czech same town at the same time as my relatives and this guy popped up and I’m pretty sure we must be related.


Also, I just want to point out that this guy may or may not be my great-great-something-or-another, but he is almost certainly the first hipster God ever made.  Stylish facial hair, glasses, hat, jaunty pose, some sort of unicycle with training wheels.  Also, lots of hipsters wear their granddad’s clothes and this guy is more likely to be wearing my great-great-great-granddad’s clothes.  He’s like a hipster to the third power.   (I was going to say “a cubed hipster” but that sounds less mathematical and more like something unsanitary you’d put in a casserole.)

Anyway, this is very nice because I always feel inferior to super-cool hipsters and so now instead of feeling defensive and shy I can just be like “Yeah, my ancestors were hipsters before it was cool.  Like, before toilet paper was even invented.  It was fun but we’ve moved on since then.  Nice unicycle, though.”

118 thoughts on “Throw WAY WAY Back Thursday

Read comments below or add one.

  1. That is awesome!
    My younger daughter (age 13) just read last night that the term hipster originated in the 40s and I laughed and said “So there hipsters! Your hipsterness is not new!”

  2. HYSTERICAL – “All he lacks is a large ceramic mug for his fair trade soy latte”…That sentence right there is why I ALWAYS read ALL of the comments!!!

    Such swag (like the pinterest thing with Paul Ruud and Seth Rogan in lederhosen….leederhosen….um leather short things).

  3. I’ve done my family tree. I didn’t find any hipsters, but turns out my great grandparents on my mother’s side were related. So yeah, there’s that…..

  4. I need whatever he has hanging from his belt loop. I was going to guess a watch, but that’s too cliche. I bet all the kids carried watches. So it’s probably a magnifying glass or perhaps a tablespoon. I’m guessing a tablespoon. If you asked what it was for he would just scoff and ride away quickly on his uni-tri-cycle.

  5. BTW, it’s called a “penny-farthing” bicycle. Love your column!

  6. What a cool dude! Do you have an approzimate date for this photo?

    (Mid 1800’s I think. ~ Jenny)

  7. Okay, I had to look it up. Toilet paper was invented in 1857. (In the US, anyway. Evidently Chinese emperors were ordering 2′ x 3′ sheets of it back in the 14th century.

  8. That is not any sort of unicycle, it is a high wheel or penny farthing bike.
    and hanging from his belt is, I believe, a chatelaine watch fob.
    I am pretty sure he is a long lost relative of yours, Jenny, how could he not be?

  9. Those things are called “penny farthings.” It’s interesting to note that when they were replaced by modern bicycles, the new inventions were called “safety cycles.” I think that tells you everything you need to know about them.

    Soy latte mug = excellent!

  10. Are hipster cubes anything like wombat cubes? If so I recommend leaving them out of the casserole.

  11. This man needs the Czech version of PBR and he’ll be set. And why do all of our ancestors just look way cooler than we do?

  12. This guy is screaming to have a comic book origin story made about him. Adventures of Velocipede Boy! He was into bicycles before bicycles were invented.

  13. Last time I was looking through the family tree I found 2 Nimrods in it. Like, I have a great-great uncle and a great-great-great-grandfather whose name was Nimrod. So now I have them literally and figuratively in my family.

  14. I love this photo! If I saw it in an antique store, I’d totally buy it and put it on my wall of adopted dead relatives, with a plaque that said “The Geronycicle and Grand-Great-Uncle Therolomew …The Fourteenth” P.S. I almost infected us all with an ancestral plague-by-typo. Comment disaster averted. Thank you Spellcheck!

  15. I’m a bit tired right now, so when I got midway through the second sentence, my mind read it as “dead people” instead of “dead ends”. I should probably go to bed now.

  16. Who wouldn’t want to claim relations to this natty fellow! Always hard to know what you’ll get when you shake the family tree a bit.

  17. That dude is cute. I would totally do him. I might ask him to bathe first.

  18. Haha! Reading this post followed by the comments has made my day.

    I need more friends that will make fun of hipsters with me …

  19. That dude only rides the unicycle ironically. His Pabst Blue Ribbon is straight absinth because hipsters back then were total bad asses who eventually went batshit crazy.

  20. Maybe we’re related because that looks exactly like my Uncle John looked in the mid 1960’s.

  21. Actually, in the snob bike circles I try not to hang with, that’s called a High Wheeler. And they are great fun to ride

  22. I have the feeling my great grandmother dated him. also, I like the watch (?) at his waist.

  23. squint The (watch?) thing on his pants totally looks like he’s wearing some kind of measuring tape perpendicular to his crotch.

    Maybe to show he wasn’t overcompensating for something. (Or that he was. Could go both ways.)

  24. If he was hipster before it was cool, was he being ironic about it? That seems to make all the difference with that group.

  25. That thar is an old-school Velocipede, and I have to say…he is totally OWNING it.

    I’m also willing to bet that the little doohickey on his belt is some sort of grappling hook. I can totally see him barreling down the cobblestones, whipping that thing over his head, in hot pursuit of some sort of large mustachio’d felon, yelling, “Pause, you ruffian, and return that chamber pot at ONCE!”

    Total badass.

  26. Fuck yes you are related to this man! You are too cool for words. He is too cool for words. Ergo, you must be his descendant.

  27. 1880s to 1900 by the style, which is totally and absolutely stylin’!! I want him for an ancestor!

  28. Don’t feel inferior to modern day hipsters.
    Just get a bone shaker and bring it back into style – so much cooler than a unicycle anyway.

  29. Why does he seem to have a breast coming out of his knee?

    (That was all the rage then. All the cool kids carried their breasts on their knees. ~ Jenny)

  30. I found a photo of my great grandmother and her (female) best friend, dressed in mens suits, kissing for the camera. Are we sure the internet didn’t exist in the past?

  31. Maybe hipster to the fourth power: That’s no damn unicycle, it’s the great granddaddy of all fixies, and everybody knows that hipsters ride fixies.

  32. I’m just sitting here laughing and laughing. But not in an ironic way, so , yeah, I know I’m not hip to any degree.

  33. Let me know if you ever want ancestry help. I seem to have a knack for it, misspellings and all. Great pic. That guy is way out of my league, but he could date my daughter.

  34. I feel like you just win now. Like hipsters lose and you win. They can’t even argue with that evidence.

  35. The bike is also known as the “bone shaker” because it was a rough ride. We have some people who will be riding them in our neighborhood in Ohio during our Historic Home tour in a few days.

  36. There’s a lot of “dead ends” in my ancestry too… Their asses are so, so dead. 😉

  37. I totally love his vogue pose. Maybe you are related. You vogue, in hot rollers, with a cat on your head. Total Vogue. I got the Madonna song in my head now.

  38. Google/ the crap out of Portland, OR, Jenny. When you know, you just know…

  39. Never mind the ceramic mug; he’d need a Mason jar w/a Cuppow (a device that some modern-day hipster invented in my city fairly recently to turn Mason jars into travel mugs); then again, considering that I’m seeing plastic Mason jars w/lids & straws for easy drinking in craft stores and Family Dollar, I think it’s safe to say that drinking out of Mason jars is no longer hip…now they’re probably using empty Campbell’s Soup cans w/a plastic can cover (I’m thinking pet food can cover from Petco) that has a hole cut in it for a straw. (Note: if someone actually starts doing that, I’m claiming copyright on the idea, damn it.)

    Anyway, Jenny, he might well be an ancestor, or at least a relation, so you can always say you came by your hipster cred naturally, right? 😉

  40. Where did you find the photos? My ancestors were from Bohemia too.

    (I just googled the name of the region and looked through old google images. This one popped up first. ~ Jenny)

  41. OMIGOSH, did we just become best friends (possibly distant relatives)? My family were Bohemian immigrants too! Squee! I knew there was a reason I liked you so much (besides the obvious reasons). We’re totally connected.

  42. i sort of hate hipsters….. i’m not really sure why. They’re just a bit self-obsessed. This is in the same vein as my dislike of pinterest mums. They might be the next life stage hipsters morph into when they break out of their trendy plaid cocoons. My sister had a baby recently, and her baby shower was like a pinterest explosion– bunting (all in co-ordinating lime-green), old style lolly shop jars, cupcakes and petit-fours on fine bone china, lace everywhere, old books and birdcages on tables… yeah, ugh. (No mason jars, but i don’t think we have those in Australia.) I mean, I love cupcakes. I even love my sister. But….. what’s wrong with the good old days when we just had nerds and goths? Nerds have always been kind of lovable, but hipsters don’t really put out the ‘hug me’ vibe.

    However, your great-great-great whatever does actually look awesome. Largely because he did it first.

  43. Jaunty. Now THAT is a good word.

    I’m already figuring out how to slip that into a conversation today.

    You totally got your cool-factor from this dude. Imagine the stories he could tell and that you could write and we could gawk over.

    Jaunty. Yep. Jaunty.

  44. Jenny, since your great-great-great-grandfather is the original hipster, can I blame HIM for skinny jeans?

  45. Grammar. The difference between Hipster cubed and cubed hipster. Which I must say Mrs. Lawson, how do you know you won’t like it if you won’t try if first? I’m sure if you cooked it thoroughly….delicious.

  46. I love this place! Cool pics, I find I’m not the only one with a wall of ancestors that aren’t really mine, laughs,….gathering at my house. 6:00 p.m. BYOA. (Bring Your Own Absinthe) 🙂

  47. Wow, a Bohemian Boho. Can it get any hipper? Although I don’t know much about this thing called a “hipster” except what I’ve read, because here in Kathmandu, the hip thing is a t-shirt with the Gangnam Style guy or maybe a shirt that says OOK ME BOOK TV. But maybe Nepal could finally get rich by selling those shirts to Brooklyn to hipsters who could wear them ironically. (Which they are not. We haven’t heard of irony yet.) BTW, Jenny, I found this blog cuz your book got left by someone on a flight to Bahrain, and I picked it out of the seat pocket and then never read it, but my teenager took it to a week’s stay in a Himalayan village with giant spiders because he thought he’d be bored (since he didn’t know yet about the spiders, which kind of made boredom impossible), and he said it was the funniest thing EVER and he completely relates to your dad. He just recommended it to his English teacher. So you may very shortly be on a reading list in Nepal.

  48. Why are you putting unsanitary things (of any shape) in your casseroles? Stop it this instant, young lady!

  49. How do you suppose this fipster (first + hipster) actually mounted his mega-trike? Those pants are a strange blend of dad jeans and skinny jeans, and I cannot fathom how the high-waist-y-ness would allow for him to use the trike as intended. Unless maybe he’s just from the patent office?

  50. I. LOVE. THIS. I just spent a month doing my stuff, and I found some super cool ancestors, (like, hello–Charlemagne and about every single royal line in Europe). But I’m also related to a whole side that is just solid Polish immigrants who refused to die anywhere but in coal mines. I only wish I could find a picture as totally hipster as yours–mine were all of babushkas in mourning clothes, surrounded by a bunch of sad little kids…which are touching but way less hipster-ish.

    I’d frame that baby and give him a name like Grandpa Piotr.

  51. I love his jaunty pose! I am stealing it for when someone is being an idiot at work. Also, I want those shoes.

  52. Fun fact I learned while researching my Bohemian family history: the Czech word for rural house is “chalupa” not to be confused with the Taco Bell chalupa.

  53. just commenting to say ive never met anyone else that was Bohemian before. does this count as meeting? im totally counting it. also, “jaunty” is my new favorite word.

  54. Ha ha, thanks 35JupiterDrive. Tell that to my Teenager, though — the one who we take on a day hike and he goes, “Grrr hrmph not ANOTHER Buddhist monastery.” Totally booooring. Jenny’s book passed muster, though, and now it’s great for me, because I can say, “See, we’re doing you a service. We’re providing you with a ludicrous childhood so that someday you too can write a book and get famous.”

  55. Seriously, I am a huge fan of old pictures and I think your next book should be a bunch of old pictures with your comments added to them……HiLaRioUs stuff! Wit in words on Pics. Love it. T:)

  56. I think that kind of bike is a ” penny farthing”. It makes Boho Hipster more so. 🙂 Brava!

  57. Is that your pocket watch…or are you just glad to see me?

    It’s Littlefinger from GoT. This is just a publicity stunt to up ratings in Bohemia.

    Seriously, we should form a Bohemian Ancestors Club. But there probably already is one. #Boho4Lyfe!!!!

  58. Your site intimidates me.
    You intimidate me
    You write so well
    Often I want to comment, but, what the hell to say?
    No piercing eloquence here.
    Just this:
    You amaze.
    You simply amaze.

  59. Someone said to me “I read your peeing on water buffaloes story…you should read The Bloggess, I think you two would get along.” And if that isn’t a resounding endorsement, I don’t know what is…so I scurried right over. And after thirty seconds perusing here, I have to admit: she gets me…we’d be friends.

  60. Back then, the hipsters probably called it a “monocycle” 🙂 But they said it seriously because “that is the way to which they used to be referred” [take a sip of absinthe]

  61. It actually has a back wheel so mostly just a bizarre bicycle…but we still have dudes that ride these here in our ‘hood. I think they thing they are giving some sort of important historic nod or something….I just think about how much farther they are from the ground then the rest of us bicycle riders.

  62. wish we had a “like” feature on some of your followers…great responses

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