4 Women

Sarah, Agnes, Maud & Pearl

Today’s photo is a lovely cabinet card found in the Great Tennessee Vacation Haul, and shows four young women. The back of the card identifies them as Sarah, Agnes, Maud and Pearl.  Sarah and Pearl are on the ends, with Agnes & Maud in the middle. I have no knowledge of their relationship. Could they be sisters, cousins, or simply great friends?

The clothing suggest the 1880s trending to the 1890s. Sleeves are puffed but not ballooned. Because they are seated it’s not really possible to guess if these are A-line or bustled skirts.

The photographer was J. E. Kester in Brockwayville, PA, which is located midstate. It was settled in 1822 and named for the Brockway family which first settled in the area. By 1925, the name Brockwayville had been shortened to Brockway. Brockway has always been a small town, with only 1.2 square miles, and in the 1880 census there were 360 people living there. Current population from the 2010 census is 2072.

I found many other photographs online by J. E. Kester, all seeming to be from the 1890s, as well as a Commemorative Biography indicating that Blanche (Luther) Kester, wife of J. E., was living in Brockwayville in 1898.

Ladies?

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.

Gem Hats 6 TL Gem Hats 6 BL

A missing face and a doppleganger

Gem Hats 3 W

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.

Gem Hats 3 BL Gem Hats 3 BR Gem Hats 3 TL Gem Hats 3 TR

Edmund Tomkins

Edmund Tomkins W

Uncle Edmund

Edmund Tomkins back W

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.

Bowler

Bowler W

Bowler, mustache and wavy hair

Today’s CDV shows us a later 19th century image of a handsome man, posed in front of a faux baluster. These types of scenes were designed to set the mood as pastoral, elegant, and otherwise affluent. He is wearing a fine coat, buttoned only at the top. This is a known style for menswear in certain periods of the era. He also has a neckcloth and vest visible beneath his coat, and even a chain for his watch just visible at mid torso. I particularly like his wavy hair, so I’m happy he chose to hold his bowler hat instead of wear it! Also notice his mustache, a fine specimen if ever there was one.

Bowler back W

Birtles, Northwich and Knutsford

The photographer who made the image was T. Birtles of Northwich and Knutsford.

 

Short hair

Short Hair W

A short styled haircut on a round faced lady

A rather fashion forward choice for this young lady, the short hair was not common for most women as it is today. There could be several reasons why she cut her hair. Hair was cut when one suffered a high fever, in the hopes that removing the hair would help the patient cool off. It could have been damaged in a fire; hair is extremely flammable and open flames were common during the 19th century. She could have suffered from a bad case of lice, and the hair shaved and the scalp treated with kerosene. She could have sold her hair to raise funds, a la The Gift of the Magi. Human hair was used in the hair pieces so popular with upper middle class and upper class women to augment a woman’s own hair. The various fashions – from pompadour to ringlet curls – put a lot of strain on the hair and sometimes, women just didn’t have a lot of it. In some cases, short hair could have been seen as shameful, but some young women and teenaged girls cut their hair short for fashion alone.

Short Hair back

Constantine Jennings, Photographic Artist

The high neck and puffed sleeves put this photo in the 1880s.  The CDV was made by Constantine Jennings, Photographic Artist at 38 Bridge Street in Chester, England.

 

 

Uncle Charles

Top Hat W

Top Hat back

 

Up for your perusal today is Uncle Charles from Liverpool. I like his shiny top hat and well buffed shoes. They look to be a low boot with elastic insets to allow it over the foot. Elastic was invented in the 1820s by Thomas Hancock and his collaboration with Charles Macintosh led to the production of rubberized overcoats, among other things. Hancock finally patented his rubber processing machine in 1837 and became the leading producer of rubber goods in the world. Elastic was used in boots and shoes extensively, both in men’s and women’s fashions.

The photographer Uncle Charles used was Harry Emmens of 30 Church Street and 108 Seel Street, Liverpool. By the studio appointments, I’m guessing this CDV was made in the 1880s or 1890s. Stay tuned for more photos from this family. Someone at some point identified a few of them, but I haven’t had a chance to try to track anyone down yet…if I can at all.

This is a Sepia Saturday submission! Click through and explore as they did in times past, up the lazy river, around the bend and across the great oceans.

Take a tour of the world

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