Artistic photograph shows long hair

Lush locks

Lush locks

Turning to a new source of photographs, I am delighted with this artistic image of a lovely young woman. She shows her unbound hair and is draped with a white robe. It’s rather suggestive for the times, don’t you think? It brings to mind a woman as she readies herself for sleep, brushing out her hair while in her dressing gown. To the proper Victorians, this might have been quite intimate. Her pose in profile, looking skyward is prescient of the glamorous movie shots of the 1930s. All we lack is back lighting and Max Factor.

Lush locks back

Window & Grove Photographers, London

As you can see on the back of the mount, this was made by Window & Grove, photographers to the Royal Family at 63A Baker Street, Portman Square, London W. The address is reminiscent of another Baker Street house. Do you know which one?

My knowledge of photographers in Britain is limited on the best of days, and my knowledge of the geography of Britain is fairly limited as well. I can find London on a map and I’m aware that Scotland, Wales and Ireland are all parts of the greater British Isles. I could not tell you if this was a tony address as I could of a New York city direction, however, so if anyone is so inclined to enlighten us all, please do in the comments.

I am putting this up as a return to Sepia Saturday, the blog party that takes you to vintage photo websites from around the world! Sepia Saturday doesn’t require following a theme although a thematic prompt is provided every week. I discovered in the past that I focused so much on meeting the theme that I lost the fun in the old photos. And, after a refocus of this site on 19th century photos, a return to Sepia Saturday seems in order as well. So,┬ápress the button, my friend! Send me back in time…

Trot on over!


Union Label

It isn’t always easy to find an old photo with a big banner in it, but when you do they are usually something good to stir up discussion. Such is my hope this week.

Union labor rally

Union labor rally

It seems like the moment you say “unions” people’s opinions are usually split between pro and anti union sentiments. But when you look at the history of unions in America, they were intended for good and needed. Working conditions in the American Industrial Age were horrible. One early union movement was to the 8 hour work day, and the shops that followed this movement created unique labels so it would be easy for the purchasing public to find and support them. Union labels are generally attributed to the 1869 movement of Carpenters Eight-Hour League in San Francisco, CA (A Brief History of Labor Symbols, Susan Parker Sherwood, San Francisco State University). The labels indicated to buyers that the Products made in that factory were produced by laborers on an eight-hour workday as opposed to those on a ten-hour day. Later in 1874, the unionized cigar makers used a white label to differentiate their products from those made by lower paid workers.

This particular image from about the 1930s shows women in a parade float, likely going to a labor rally. When I see women and “union label” I think of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union and their catchy commercials from the 1980s. The union was formed in the early 1900s at a time when New York City was a major manufacturing center for clothing. The first organized action of the union came in 1909 when 20,000 workers walked out on the Triangle Shirtwaist workshop. 20% of the workforce striked, and in response Triangle locked them out. After 14 weeks, the union accepted an arbitrated agreement, but Triangle was not among the factories that signed the agreement.

Shortly after this, the union led another, larger strike in New York, leading 60,000 or so workers to step away from their sewing machines. This was called the Great Revolt and went on for months. After much arbitration, the strike was settled and workers returned to the factories.

Just two years after the initial strike against Triangle, the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire occurred, killing 146 workers. Many of them perished because Triangle locked the doors of the floors to prevent workers from leaving early. This spurred greater support of the ILGWU and the momentum spread.

By the 1980s, unions in America we’re struggling under pressures to produce cheaper garments, and also from internal corruption. The ILGWU produced a number of commercials with a very catchy song with the following lyrics:

Look for the union label
When you are buying a coat, dress, or blouse,
Remember somewhere our union’s sewing,
Our wages going to feed the kids and run the house,
We work hard, but who’s complaining?
Thanks to the ILG, we’re paying our way,
So always look for the union label,
It says we’re able to make it in the USA!


For more Sepia rallys and slogans, click through to Sepia Saturday. You will be happy you did!


Smile, baby!


Unidentified happy baby

This early 20th century image of a happy child is uplifting. It makes you want to smile along with the child. I believe this is a boy. The photo itself is scratched up a bit, but the jacket really took a beating. The corners are worn down and something spilled, leaving an oily stain on the upper right corner. Through it all, baby smiles. ┬áThe child is also not wearing anything, so falls into the “undressed” category I have noticed in 1920s/30s photos.

The photographer was Michael’s at 657 Broadway, Lorain, Ohio.

Girl, artistically posed

pretty cherub

Pretty cherub

During the 1920s, there was some artistic theme of posing young children, mostly girls, with no blouse on them. this particular child appears to have some sort of cloth wrapped around her chest, but I have seen others in which the child is not draped in any way. They all seem to have a necklace to hold or some other type of artistic element. I can only guess there was an art nouveau influence or trend that drove this.

To see other images like this one, click on “undressed” in the categories to the right.


This little photo from 1921 is slightly longer than a CdV and features a little girl (I think) wearing nothing but a necklace with a locket. My curiosity is piqued. Was the undressed child photo common?

The photographer’s name was something like Zaines or Zainer, written in pencil in a very fine hand.

Girl in a bonnet

This unusually shaped photo features a young girl, about 3-5 years old, in a bonnet. The girl does not appear to have any clothing on, but some type of a boa wrapped around her. I have seen a similar photo on another site, but I can’t quite recall where. In my photographic explorations I have seen square photos taken on the diagonal, but never one in a diamond. I hope that someone out there may recognize this style and comment. Based on the content of the photo, I am thinking 1915-1925. This photo came from an antique shop in Orange, CA.

I’ve submitted this as a Sepia Saturday post because of the potential Easter bonnet this child could be wearing. It’s a stretch, I know, and it would be much better if she also had on an Easter dress! Please click through and browse the bunnies, chickies and other Easter paraphernalia from around the world.

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