Sisters?

SD CDVs 6 SD CDVs 1

I wanted to share these two photographs today because of the unusual shawl-like additions to these dresses. Although I titled the post “Sisters?” as a suggestion they may be nuns, but looking at them again, I wonder if they might have been Quakers. I’m not familiar with Quaker dress other than to say it was “unadorned” or “simple.” And nuns might have worn wimples, which these ladies are not wearing. A wrap for warmth would probably be more decorated, and at least fall a bit lower on the arms. These look like capelets or mantles, but again, I am out of my area of knowledge even there. In the upper picture (no background shown) the woman appears to have maybe a necklace on a black cord falling directly along the area where her garment meets in center front.

The photographs have no identifying information, nor do they even possess a photographers’ backmark, so I can’t tell you if they are from America, Britain, or anywhere in the world.  The only thing I can tell you with some certainty is that they are from the 1860s.

Please feel free to comment with any input. This is a mystery to me!

UPDATE: I should not be surprised, it was Iggy aka Intense Guy who found the image below, an example of Quaker dress in the 19th century. It is a modern reproduction made by The Costume Project for the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, located in Shropshire, England. They state that the reproductions are made from original patterns, so I’ll have to trust that this is an accurate representation of Quaker dress in England. Being as the CDVs posted above do not have any indication of where they were made, I can only say they look similar to this example dress, but cannot suggest any sort of other connection. I spoke to some clothing historians, and they thought the cape might have been a pelerine, but having looked up what a pelerine is, I’m not so sure. It’s defined as lacy, with long narrow points hanging down in front, fur and decoration. These seem too simple to be a fashion garment and lack the long narrow points.

37-2-1840s-quaker-lady-try-on-costume-at-the-darby-houses

Image from comestepbackintime.wordpress.com and identified as Quaker dress circa 1840s

Fred Taylor

Fred Taylor W

Fred Taylor leans on a chair

This CDV shows a man with fine whiskers, a fine coat and bow tie, clean if rumpled suit of clothes, and brogan style shoes, leaning his hand upon the back of a chair. I originally thought this photo was interesting but it didn’t really catch my eye. However, I took note of the weight of the pink paper it is mounted upon. This paper is slightly thicker than gift tissue paper, slightly finer than printer paper. It is quite delicate and I have not seen its like before now. What also caught my eye as I scanned the photo is that the lower edge of the photo was lifting slightly.

What mystery did it reveal, you ask? Take a look for yourself.

The man, revealed

The man, revealed

There in the corner on the back of the photo itself, is the name. Fred Taylor. I can’t tell you more than that, for as you can probably see the photo lacks a backmark or any photographer’s information. It came in the batch from England, but beyond that…. Fred remains a mystery.

 

Big Buttons

Large buttons, big bow, frilly lace

Large buttons, big bow, frilly lace

I would really love to see the rest of this dress, because it has so many features just in this tiny portrait. We have large decorative buttons that appear to be velvet covered, a large bow at the center of the neckline, and frilly lace standing up under the young lady’s chin. I like to imagine she worked hard on making this dress and that it is a bustle dress with lovely draping on the skirt that mirrors the velvet trimming on the bodice. This is the last in the Saurman & Lovejoy set, but does not carry a backmark. She is unnamed and unknown.

Little boy

Young master

Young master

Today let’s take a quick look at this young fellow. He is aged approximately 8 years old and was named James. You can just see it in pencil, written below the oval. It is a shame that whoever wrote that didn’t include his surname. There also is not a photographer’s backmark, and while it was included in the lot of photos including the Saurman and Lovejoy images, I cannot do more than assume this fellow is somehow related to those people. Alas, it doesn’t matter as only one of the bunch was identified and she continues to be a mystery.

I promise, I’m happy!

Mounted Tin Types 4 W

Mounted Tin Types 4 Back W

 

This is Grandmother Ridge, Caroline Elizabeth Ridge – Jane Bucks’ mother. She looks a bit like she doesn’t trust the photographer. I did find a Caroline Ridge, married to James Ridge, living in Maryland during the 1850 census, and one of their children was named Jane.

James Ridge (about 1809)

Caroline (about 1814)

Riley (about 1829)

Silas (about 1789)

Jane (about 1835)

Elizabeth (about 1837)

Merrit (about 1841)

Susan (about 1843)

Caroline (about 1848)

James (1850)

James the elder, Riley and Elizabeth were listed as farmers. Of course, I cannot be certain this is the correct family of Caroline Ridge pictured.

 

 

Another possible Saurman?

Big bonnet

Big bonnet

Today’s photograph is a tintype in an embossed card holder virtually identical to the one of our previous baby. The only difference I can find – outside of the quality of the embossing – is that this paper sleeve has the mark “Patent Applied For” while the baby photo does not. This particular photo does not have the T. M. Saurman mark covering the back of the tintype, and so I cannot know for sure if that is who made it.

The woman in the photograph is showing off quite a lot of her finery. A wide collar, golden brooch, sheer shawl, fancy bonnet and a veil folded to the back. In the past, I would have immediately assumed the veil was indicative of mourning. However, in my recent exposure to some 19th century clothing experts, I learned that veils were worn as a type of sun block. The veil, often in black and dark green, muted the brightness of the sun and allowed the wearer to more comfortably walk in the sun. This veil appears to have some type of lace pattern on it. The dress, collar and bonnet all are 1850s fashions, but I believe this is an 1860s image. Whether it was reproduced after the fact (I don’t think so) or she liked these clothes (more likely) we cannot really know. It is a lovely image with fine hand tinting on her cheeks and the brooch is delicately gilded as well.

Mother & Daughter lean on their fingers

Mounted Tin Types W

Hello, dearie

Mounted Tin Types 1 W

Oh, Mother!

I found these two mounted tintypes in an online auction and loved the fact that they are clearly mother & daughter AND that the subjects are in the exact same pose.  They even have matching embossed stars on the border around the photos.

I asked some very knowledgeable friends of mine about the coat that Mother is wearing, in the first image above. They tend to agree it is a garment called a sacque coat, meaning any sort of coat that buttons at the neck and is loosely hanging on the body. It ends around the waist or hip line. This particular specimen has trimmings around the hem and very large buttons that appear to be decorative rather than functional. A pocket is also evident, with something tucked inside. Perhaps it was a handkerchief or small book. The coat was probably made from wool or wool flannel, and lined with polished cotton or silk. I say “probably” because even though we don’t see the actual details of the garment, these are the most common materials for outerwear at that time. I bet it was very warm and comfortable! We don’t see much detail about her dress, except that it has a small collar and she is wearing a lovely brooch.

Second in line is the daughter, who has a bolero style over bodice with a white Garibaldi style bodice under it. This was a very popular style for young people. The over bodice is similar to the sacque coat in that it fastens at the neck and hangs loosely around the body. You can also see her large belt buckle. The dress was probably made from a fine wool, and the over bodice was likely lined with polished cotton in a solid brown or black (the most common lining in extant garments). The Garibaldi bodice was possibly made from fine cotton lawn, sheer wool or silk, depending on the family’s financial situation.

Neither card has a backmark, so I cannot tell anything about the photographer or geographic location where the tin type images were made. Each tin type is approximately 1 1/4″ by 1 1/2″, and is affixed to the mount with a sheet of thin paper glued over it. The mother’s card was trimmed down, presumably to fit into a frame or photo album. They are lovely representations of the American Civil War era or slightly thereafter, definitely pre-1870s.

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