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When you’re in a car for hours and hours and hours on a long road trip, conversation is bound to produce a few ideas, some better than others. Sometimes, you actually remember some of these crazy ideas after the road trip is over. The 2,500-mile drive Executive Director Andy and Intrepid Researcher Tom™ took over the summer to Robert’s old stomping grounds in and around the Rocky Mountains was no exception.

Since Andy and Tom were heading west to visit some of the rendezvous grounds Robert visited when he was in his early twenties, the question arose: What did Robert look like when he was a twentysomething? The only images we have of Robert are when he was a mature man, in his 50s and 60s. When Tom returned to St. Louis, he started researching what he could do to get a picture of a young Robert.

After sifting through many websites, Tom found PhoJoe, a company that specializes in photo restoration, colorization, age progression (making the subject look older) and age regression (making the subject look younger). Obviously Tom was interested in age regression, so he sent their artists the pictures we had of Robert. After some minor tweaking, this is what they came up with:

Robert, age 25.

To give you a comparison, here are some of the pictures Tom sent to Phojoe:

Detail of a painting that was done by A.J. Conant between 1879 and 1888, after Robert died. Robert died at the age of 75 in 1879.
A pastel of Robert that hangs in Virginia Campbell’s bedroom.

Sure, when Robert was spending months at a time in the wilds of (what is now) Wyoming, he probably wasn’t that clean shaven or wearing a suit, but it’s an interesting image to consider. This youthful man was the Robert who fought in the Battle of Pierre’s Hole. This was the Robert whose exploits were immortalized in Washington Irving’s The Adventures of Captain Bonneville. What do you think of the composite? Any ideas for what we should do with our new picture of Robert? Send your strokes of brilliance here by leaving a comment, or send an email to shelley@campbellhousemuseum.org.

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