This late 1890s dress is an example of the extreme puffed sleeves that were popular at the time. The sleeves were actually a two-part sleeve; there is a normal sized sleeve inside, then stuffing or padding of some type, then the outer puffed part that you see in the picture. They look dreadful to me, but some ladies love them. Our woman pictured is soft and round as was the style. My grandmother was encouraged to drink a cup of cream a day to keep her soft figure! Oh why isn’t that look prized today instead of the rail thin look?? Also note her hair piece at the back of her head. It would have been a two pronged fork that was used to secure a twist of hair and the decorative piece was proudly shown off. These were often carved from tortoise shell, but early plastics and rubber were sometimes used.
Klapper was the photographer, located at the southeast corner of 75th Street and First Avenue, New York. I haven’t been able to find anything on him, however there is a Dr. Klapper currently in practice in New York. :-)