Who's the lady in the black & white shoes?
And why did Harrison Forman give her special treatment?
She's in over twenty of the Harrison Forman's photos (see them here). There are other people that appear in several photos, but she's the only one we see photographed in several different places. Forman was a professional photographer, looking to sell his photos to newspapers. So what was newsworthy about this lady, on this day?
I've no idea who she is, or whether she was well-known enough for her activities to make the news. Famous or not, I'm guessing she was chosen as an example of an American being evacuated from Hong Kong, as most of the photos seem related to farewells.
We can see from the clothes she's wearing that all the photos are taken on the same day. Can we put them in some sort of order?
There are two photos of her outside the National City Bank of New York, which Moddsey says "stood on Queen's Rd Central between Ice House and Duddell Streets." I'll take a guess that these are the earliest photos taken that day.
Then there are two showing her walking out from a building, in the company of two men. Does anyone recognise the building? I wondered if it was a pier in TST, where she has just traveled over from Hong Kong island.
There are several of her and the two men riding in Rickshaws in front of the old KCR terminus building. Were they actually going anywhere in them, or just going for a short ride to have photos taken?
We see several photos of her in front of the gates to the Kowloon wharves. The two men are still there, and she's standing next to a large pile of what I assume is her luggage. One of the photos shows her next to a suitcase with an 'Amercan President Line' (APL) label clearly displayed. In the background of another we can see the APL ship 'President Coolidge' is tied up at the wharf.
So I think Forman is documenting the story of Americans being evacuated from Hong Kong. The President Coolidge made several journeys between America and Asia specifically to take evacuees home.
The last group of photos, show her saying goodbye to the two men, then climbing onto a small launch. These confuse me. Since we've seen the men in other photos, but here they are saying goodbye, these should be the last photos taken of her on that day.
But if she's going to travel on the President Coolidge, and we can see it tied up nearby, why doesn't she just walk onboard? Was it the custom then to take a launch from a convenient pier to the liner? Perhaps the wharves were just for cargo?
Can you help fill in any more of this story?