The Red Rose Motorcycle Club

Family Pictures USA host, Thomas Allen Harris recently had the opportunity to do a version of our roadshow for the United Philanthropy Forum. Courtney Eshleman, from Media Impact Funders, took part in the audience photo share and connected with Thomas after the event. Courtney showed him some striking images of her grandparents in motor cycle outfits and she agreed to share them with us!

This photo was taken of my grandparents, Robert and Margaret Eshleman, in 1939 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. They belonged to a local group called Red Rose Motorcycle Club, and they spent a lot of time riding around the countryside with their friends from the club. I really love this set of photos because they feel really candid and capture my grandparents looking so purely happy. I feel that this was probably the most carefree period of their lives. They were young and in love, and had this close-knit group of friends to pal around with. You can tell that they were really having fun – some of the photos from that time include club members horsing around, or doing motorcycle tricks while driving through a stream. 

The Red Rose Motorcycle Club

Within the next two years, everything changed. My grandparents started a family, and my grandfather was sent off to Italy to fight in World War II, fighting in the Battle of Monte Cassino, a particularly brutal campaign. He returned, but so many others did not. I know that the photos show a happy prelude to a worrisome period of time, and I’m glad that period was captured on film. Having this set of photos has served as a reminder to my family of this adventurous young couple, and who they were before they were our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. My grandfather passed away before I was born, so I never got to witness their love for each other in person, which makes this set of photos even more special to me personally.

Courtney Eshleman resides in Philadelphia, where she studied at Drexel University and now serves as the Director of Development & Member Engagement at Media Impact Funders. She enjoys a good book, eating her way around the city, and escaping to the outdoors whenever possible.


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