Civil War Era Picnic

For a proud Sepia Saturday submission, I give you a Civil War era picnic photograph. Photographs during the Civil War were famously perpetrated by the great Matthew Brady and his staff, though this doesn’t look like their work. There are three women and one little girl. Interesting that the woman in the apron – usually considered a device of the serving classes – is seated in a chair while the women in the more elaborate clothing are on the ground. The woman on the left has on a skirt and blouse, but probably would have had a paletot or other type of bodice to match her skirt, as the skirt and blouse combination was not “the fashion” at that time. The little girl has on a dress with what looks like caps over long sleeves, bloomers and Mary Jane style shoes, as well as a little white hat. The woman in the middle is also wearing a skirt and blouse, but hers is less ornate, so my thought is she may have been of less means? The woman on the right has a darker colored skirt to a white bodice, with decorative trim on the pagoda sleeves. Is the trim the same color as the skirt? It was uncommon to have a bodice that was drastically different from the skirt, however, if this was later in the war and they are from the South or Border states where goods were getting scarce, she may have combined two dresses to make one. Her hat is also different from the other two. While the spoon bonnet was the height of fashion, this woman is wearing a flat crowned and broad brimmed hat.

Who could these ladies be?

Click through to Sepia Saturday and take a look at some of the other great entries!


I’ll let you in on a little secret.This photo was taken in Huntington Beach, CA in August 2010. This is me, my daughter, sister and good friend. I’m the one with the different hat. My friend is sitting because she has a bad back.  :-)


14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. IntenseGuy
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 11:22:48

    LOL – you are tricky. :)

    You do bring up an interesting point – it is very easy to “photoshop” a picture into just about anything you might want nowadays.


  2. GrammaA
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 14:52:07

    When I first glanced at this picture I thought that these people could be somebody I know. Then I saw the note that indeed I did know these people. Good joke!


  3. Marilyn
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 19:43:27

    Ah wonderful photo and wonderful post; I was so impressed with this ‘old’ photo then I saw your note. It is still such a lovely photo to have.


  4. Auntie Kat
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 20:57:30

    Love the description of everyone. “The woman on the left.”


  5. Far Side of Fifty
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 21:32:40

    What a wonderful photo..I was think WOW it is in pristine condition..the blouses are so white. Well done, I am sure that this is a a photo that you will treasure..put your names on the back and the date! :)


  6. Martin H
    Oct 16, 2010 @ 02:06:08

    My first impression was, this photograph is well preserved.

    A great idea, to reconstruct a scene from the past in this way. Loved the descriptions and the ‘eye’ for historical accuracy.


  7. Tony Zimnoch
    Oct 16, 2010 @ 04:53:13

    The Picture Quality is Fabulous.Very Clear.& dont they look relaxed!


  8. Leah
    Oct 16, 2010 @ 05:46:53

    I LOVE this photo! How clever of you, and what an amazing recreation of another time!


  9. Muse Swings
    Oct 16, 2010 @ 06:46:19

    My first thought was that this is a c 1910 recreation and the women are in costume. It’s a lovely picture! It’s such high quality and I like lights in it and the way it fades around the edges.


  10. Nana Jo
    Oct 16, 2010 @ 08:44:05

    Love the twist at the end. I was just marveling at the quality of the photo! A beautiful memory for all of you.


  11. Queenmothermamaw
    Oct 16, 2010 @ 08:44:37

    Well I did notice the capped bottles of liquid and wondered if the photo was more recent. I was going to suggest the lady sitting had bad knees like me and could not sit on the ground. LOL. Great photo for sure.


  12. Nancy
    Oct 16, 2010 @ 15:59:31

    My first impression of this photograph was that there was a modern “feel” about it. It’s fun that you and your friends arranged to have it taken.


  13. Meri of Meri's Musings
    Oct 16, 2010 @ 18:23:32

    I’m glad I read the final comment, because I was examining the photo and coming away convinced it was not what you said it was. And it wasn’t.


  14. The Silver Fox
    Oct 18, 2010 @ 19:44:50

    Heh. I read the “story” and didn’t click to enlarge the photo, so I didn’t notice the caps on the bottles. Nice, quirky twist. Lots of fun!


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