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

Button, button

The Sepia Saturday prompt this week is shoes. I love shoes – every shape, style and fashion of them. From 3″ platforms to plain Keds and everywhere in between, shoes have long been a love of mine. For my pocket book’s sake, I have forced myself to give up the shoe shopping, besides the fact that I can’t wear high heels any longer due to a couple foot injuries – non shoe related, btw.

Shoes have always been an influence on fashion and vice versa. Whether they were the 4″ platform shoes women in Elizabethan England wore to avoid the refuse in the streets or the dainty little skimmers popular with Jane Austin, when a shoe style became popular, fashion adapted. When hemlines changed, shoes adapted. Today, in addition to a couple photos of cute kids, prepare yourself for a brief history lesson on high button boots.

A beautiful girl posing in Detroit for her First Communion or Confirmation portrait. She is wearing a floral garland in her hair along with a veil, has a lovely white lace dress that stops just below her knees and she is holding something in her left hand, maybe a prayer book? Below the dress we see her black stockings and black high button boots. High button boots became a fashion in the 1870s when hemlines were fashionable at the ankle, rather than dusting the top of the shoe. Previous to the high button boot was the ankle bootie favored by Queen Victoria, and in America they were called “The Balmoral” or “Bal” style. They laced up and gave no support to the ankle. But, when the dress hemline inched up a bit, more of the ankle was exposed. Heaven help us, we can’t have that! So, industrious shoe designers came up with a taller shaft of the boot, fastened with buttons rather than laces.

A young man in his first short pants and double breasted coat holds a prayer book close to his side and sports a boutonniere on his lapel, all on top of his high button boots. High button boots were the dominant boot style for men and women through the end of the century. In the 1880s, James Morley began production of high button boots with a new sewing machine attachment that more securely stitched the buttons. The making of one pair of boots from start to finish could be accomplished in 15 minutes. Boots featured between 12-20 buttons depending on individual style and taste, and either a scalloped design around the button hole or a simple and plain lap. As the style continued into the 1890s, actresses and dashing women favored the high button boot for it’s fashionable method of hiding the ankle while hinting at the leg. The iconic Gibson Girl is shown wearing high button boots in the Edwardian style after 1900.

Because so many tiny buttons were on the boots, the button hook was invented. At first, they were a luxury item, but as they became more common they were viewed as a regular dressing accessory, much like a hairbrush and mirror. Button boots were considered more secure than laced boots because they didn’t come unlaced or loosen with wear through the day. Certainly there were many other styles of boots available for men and women, but just a quick browse through an antique ladies’ magazine will reveal that the high button boot was considered the most fashionable, the most modest, and the most necessary type of boot for ladies to wear. Men were encouraged to own a pair of laced shoes for bad weather, a pair of Oxfords for the summer and a pair of button up boots for all other occasions.

After the turn of the century, the high button boot lingered until World War 1. In 1914, rationing of leather and other goods necessary pushed the boots to the side and frugality took hold. The rise of hemlines and the flapper fashion demanded new shoe styles and the Mary Jane and T-strap styles took hold. In America, President Franklin Roosevelt in 1933 announced that high button shoes would no longer be indexed on the Bureau of Labor Statistics charts. While they had waned for many years, the high button boot was officially “over” after a good 30+ year run of dominating shoe fashions.

These days, you can custom order high button boots if you are interested. They run a little on the pricey side, but I can tell you, custom boots will fit you and only you forever.

Step on over to Sepia Saturday for more great posts about shoes!

Make tracks!

Photographers featured are Emhuff in Detroit, Michigan and Hebbel in Baltimore, Maryland.

Another Communion

Here is another Confirmation photograph from the Leaf Album. The style of card makes me think the photo might be from the very early 20th century, further making me wonder if this is the younger of the two girls in our first Communion photograph. Based on what Iggy told us about Communion, the veil was a tradition. Also, some girls wore dresses handed down from other family members. There are a couple similarities between the dress pictured above and the older girls’ dress in the previous photograph, although they are not clearly the same dress. Some alterations could have been made to individualize the dress. Or this could be a completely different girl. There was no photographer information on the back of the card.

I have added a new category: Religious to handle the various religious photos I have previously posted and those that will come along in the future.

Communion

These girls must be related to our Leaning Lady, being that the photo was also made by Freedle and they come from the Leaf Album. It is unknown what their relation was though. I believe this photo to be a First Holy Communion for the older girl and some other type of religious milestone for the younger girl. I freely admit I am limited in my knowledge of religious activities, so if you have a speculation please add in to the comments section!

Christmas card from the Kirchhoffers

This is a real photo postcard from 1923, featuring an image of a lovely, curly headed boy and a religious sentiment.

Love in Born!

Love that light’neth one and all,

Love that shines through tiny eyes,

Love that transforms Bethlehem’s stall.

Christ-love, lighten, transform, call

Us Thy children. O arise

In childlike hearts today.

From all the Kirchhoffers

All Saints’ Rectory, Riverside.

Christmas 1923

This little boy is most likely Donald (b 1922) to Richard and Arline Kirchhoffer of Riverside, CA. Richard was the son of Irish immigrants (who were the descendants of Dutch immigrants to Ireland). They came through Canada to Manitoba, then settled in Ontario, CA which was an early Canadian colony in California. Richard graduated from University of Southern California in 1913, then went on the seminary and became an Episcopal minister. He was installed at the All Saints’ Rectory in 1919. Richard & Arline had another son, Richard Jr. born in 1919.

Car and church

This lovely church is in an unknown location. It is really quite stunning! There is a touring car out front and I almost wonder if there is a wedding taking place inside the church and this is the limo waiting to take the happy couple off to their honeymoon.

Photo of a shrine

This photo is directly after the adorable chubby baby photo in the Green Fan Album. Considering with the photo earlier of Ellen Joy we learned that she was married by a Methodist minister, it follows that she was also Methodist. I don’t think there are shrines like this in the Methodist church, although I could be be wrong. The question then follows, who took this photo and why? And of course, where? The snapshot is the type that would come in a booklet from the processor and the owner would then tear out the photos, hence the right edge shows the perforations and tearing.

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