“Honorable Irlandés, Mr. John T Gaffey. De San Pedro California. E.U.A. 1926” is a black and white photograph of John T Gaffey located in the first few pages of “Reminiscencias Historicas. Escrita por el C. General de división Mariano Ruiz, veterano de 1862. Dedicadas a su honorable amigo, Mr. John T. Gaffy, de San Pedro, Calif., E.U.A. Mexico, September 15, 1926” from “Bandini Family Papers, ca. 1834-1927”, also known as collection B. The title of this work translates to “Honorable Irish, Mr. John T Gaffey of San Pedro, California. U.S.A 1926”. The photo was likely taken in 1926.
Physically, the picture sits in the middle of the page, taking up most of the space. It is a formal portrait of Mr. Gaffey in a suit. His portrait is cropped in an oval shape and is printed in a rectangular sheet. He appears to be posed sitting on a chair at an angle, looking sternly into the camera with his right hand on his lap. The title in blue text is printed below the photo on the pages on the book. There appears to be no hint of the location of the photo, except that Mr. Gaffey is from San Pedro, California. The overall mood and attitude of the photo is serious and formal. It commands respect and admiration from the viewer, which matches his occupation as a journalist, politician, and businessman. Considering Mr. Gaffey’s title as “Honorable Irish”, it is likely that he kept up with this reputation in person. Three things one may infer from this photo is that people, especially those in business, likely took their photos seriously during this time period, color printing was either not invented yet or quite expensive, and that Mr. Gaffey likely had a large impact on Mexican Los Angeles business and politics. Considering that this is a formal portrait, not much may be elucidated from this work except for what can be directly seen from the physical work.
As a researcher, I’m curious about the purpose of this work. Was it commissioned for this document, since the book is dedicated to Mr. Gaffey? Was it to promote Mr. Gaffey’s popularity for his professional pursuits? This work may be useful for researchers attempting to learn about the financial and political figures prominent in Mexican Los Angeles during the 20th century. Considering that Mr. Gaffey is an Irish American, it is interesting to see his relationship with Mexican Americans. Although this portrait highlights an impactful figure during this time period and setting, perhaps auxiliary documents from the Bandini Family Papers can reveal more about Mr. Gaffey’s influence during this time.