Gem Hats 6 W

Two women and a fellow

Page number 6 of this little Haberdasher’s album has two images missing. I have no idea why, it came to me this way. And instead of all men, we buck the trend with a duo of the feminine persuasion in place of a fellow. I like the subtle smiles on their faces. Note that the woman on the left is not looking into the camera, but is instead looking into the midfield. The woman on the right isn’t exactly looking into the camera either, but her eyes are directed more toward the front. In addition, we have a young man in what I am guessing is a boater or other wide brimmed stiff hat, and this dude has some seriously big ears.

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Ello, gov’na

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One of these faces is not like the others

You must have thought I forgot about you! And, well, I sort of did. We had some upheaval around the homestead, and I had to focus there instead of here. Thanks for bearing with me. Your reward is another fine page from this Haberdasher’s gem tintype album. Being as men were often coiffed and whiskered in the 19th century, it is all the more obvious in a group when one man is the odd man out. Who knows why he did not wear a mustache or beard. It is a personal choice that is also influenced by fashion trends. Maybe his wife didn’t like it. Click each image below for greater detail.

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Doing a double take

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Didn’t I just see you?

Here’s the next page in our bowler hat extravaganza, with three more wonderful hats. Or are they new? The bottom left image is a repeat from a previous page with the high bowler hat. The top left and lower right look like the same person at first glance, but are two distinct faces. I imagine if you were looking for a man in a crowd of men wearing these hats it would be difficult to find the exact one you wanted!

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A missing face and a doppleganger

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Hey, where’s his face?

Not a hat to be seen in this page of the Haberdasher’s book, but there are some nice bowties at least. Note how the top right image is so dark. I can only assume it was due to poor finishing by the photographer and the image has oxidized and faded with time.

The fellow at the lower left immediately made me think of a more modern personage.

Paul Benedict, actor

Paul Benedict, actor

This is Paul Benedict, an American actor best known for roles in The Jefferson’s television show, the Muppet show and movies, and a variety of Christopher guest movies, such as This is Spinal Tap and Waiting for Guffman. The Victorian doppleganger also appears on the first page of the album, wearing a derby hat.

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Top hat, bowler hat, slicked hair

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More fabulous hats

Here is the second page of the wonderful Haberdasher book and just look at these wonderful chapeaux! The one at top right has the look of a top hat, but I believe it might be a high bowler. Frankly, I don’t know much about men’s hats…ladies bonnets, now I could talk for a while on those! I shall have to do some research on these toppers to find out more about them. Anyone who knows more is welcome to comment! Note that while all three hats shown have a dip in the center front, the men each wear their hat to their best advantage, and thereby result in a different bit of flair. Top left looks a bit dour, top right looks formal and lower right looks dapper. Not to be left out, lower left looks very glossy. Hair was handled so very differently by 19th century people than it is today! Hair oil was encouraged so the shiny hair would look healthy. Can you just imagine running your fingers through that hair? I sure can’t. Ick.

Click the images below for a bit more detail.

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Hurray for Haberdashery!


Tiny gem album with fabulous secrets to explore!


10 gem-filled pages

I really need to stay off of eBay, haha. I found this fabulous little gem album a while back and I really could not control myself. Once you see inside of it, you will understand why. The album holds gem tintypes, those tiny representations that were popular during the second half of the 19th century. Since I previously gave you a history lesson on the gem tintype, I won’t go into that today (just click the link there).

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Do you like my hat?

Here’s the reason I call this little book the Haberdasher’s book. Nearly every photo is of a man and many of them have terrific hats! This is the first page seen when you open the book. It was previously repaired by someone skilled. You can see just a bit of the webbing in the upper center binding. Each page has 4 gem tintypes. There are 38 images in all.

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Do you not just LOVE this?! Take a close look at the first image…not only does he have a snazzy bowler, but he has pince nez spectacles! We have bowlers, mustaches, bowties, spectacles and tons of character, all on one little page. I think I’m going to hyperventilate! :-) Some of the faces are repeated and two images have been removed, but for what it’s worth, this is a truly spectacular find and I can’t wait to share it with you.

Edmund Tomkins

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Uncle Edmund

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Lucy & Emily’s Dad

Today’s photograph is of Uncle Edmund Tomkins, either from America or who went to America. Uncle Edmund is sporting a rather wispy beard and mustache that makes me think there is an unfortunate scratch or blemish on the surface of the image. He must have been proud of it to wear it for his photograph, but in my book, this is not something to memorialize.

According to the back of the card, Uncle Edmund was also Lucy & Emily’s Dad. He may also be related to our previous subject, Uncle Taylor from Sheffield, as the handwriting on the backs is the same. They don’t look at all similar in their facial features, so possibly are in-law uncles or from opposite sides of the family. We can never know.

The photographer selected by Uncle Edmund was Helsby & Co, 34 Church Street in Liverpool, England.

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