Two women from the 1860s

SD CDVs 4

This is a very nice mid to late 1860s image of two women. They appear to be mother & daughter. Note the lovely details:

  • Dropped shoulder seams with sleeve caps, and look at the trim on the standing woman!
  • The darker colored dress features a ribbon trim design at the sleeve cuff
  • Coat sleeves on both dresses to enhance the elbow area
  • Both women have some type of jewelry at the neck of her dress and the lady on the right looks to have a belt.
  • Fine, slicked back hair which was the fashion, parted in the center and dressed in back.
  • The standing woman is holding something in her hand, maybe a fan. She also has a wide band of trim at the hem of her dress.

As we know, colors did not photograph the same way they do today, so these dresses are quite likely beautiful colors and the one that appears lighter might actually be darker than the one that appears darker. I only wish we could see them in their true colors to appreciate the colors these ladies chose.

Eldorg, Iowa

SD CDVs 3

This is a CDV from the 1860s. We can tell by the card mount details – square corners and the “thin line/thick line” borders. These were popular in the first decade of CDV portraiture. I believe it might be from the second half of the decade due to the image using the full size of the card.

I chose this photograph because of the interesting clothing the subject is wearing. After having researched the Swedish, Dutch and Norwegian ethnic clothes for my previous few posts, I am wondering if this woman is a recent emigrant to the United States showing off the ethnic costume of her homeland.

The back of the card shows the photographer name was Ed. Hudson, in Eldorg, IA. I have checked this over and over and it is very clearly a G at the end of that word. There is an Eldora, IA, but no records so far for an Eldorg. So, could it have been a typo on his cards? Yes, it could. Eldorg is a known surname, so we can guess that someone in the order or print process made a boo boo.

Eldora is a town in the center of Iowa, just NNW of Des Moines. At the time of statehood in 1846, Iowa had been part of the Indian territories and had numerous treaties to dissolve tribal claims to the fertile land that American settlers coveted. The original plan for Iowa’s footprint was much larger, but being as all the territorial negotiations were taking place during the time leading up to 1860 and the American Civil War, territories had to consider whether they would be a slave state or a free state. Northern politicians figured that if they created smaller states, there would be more land to create additional states, thereby increasing the number of free states. Also happening at the same time, if one free state was added, a “matching” slave state had to be added, to keep the balance. Once Florida was added as a slave state in 1845, Iowa petitioned for and received free statehood in 1846.

The population statistics of Iowa’s ethnic makeup are (happily) available online. According to FamilySearch.org, in 1860 (just the time we are looking at in our photo above) there were 674,913 residents in Iowa. Of those, 16% were immigrants, and of all immigrants, 51,503 were from German and Scandinavian countries (Germany, Norway, Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark), so 7% of the Iowan population.

The costume, with it’s apron and wide shoulder straps, reminds me of the Swedish and Norwegian costumes seen in the Cyclopedia of Costume. It would be interesting if someone versed in these ethnic styles could review the photo and lend an opinion on the ethnic origin of the clothing. It is about the only lead we have on the subject, as her name was not written on the card back.

Additional Information

Iowa Ethnic Groups – FamilySearch.org

The Path to Statehood – Iowa Pathways – via Iowa Public Television iptv.org

A Cyclopedia of Costume – via Google Books

Dutch People?

SD CDVs 7

This is another wonderful image from the San Diego photo buying extravaganza a few months back, and I’m sure you can guess why I picked it up. It’s funny, we were in a warehouse sized antique mall, stalls all over the place, but the photographs were the most busy section. I got there first and monopolized the CDVs as I made my first choices. The cuts were hard because there were so many good images, but in the end, I narrowed it down to 14 and kept it under my budget of $way to many dollars.

The photo could be a photo of a painting because it doesn’t have a true lifelike characteristic to it. The people are too perfect, the shading too soft in places, and there is no true depth behind them.

The photographer was Carl Phillipp Wollrabe of The Hague, Netherlands. I know nothing about am not up on my Dutch but I believe the backmark indicates that Wollrabe photographed Prince Frederick of the Netherlands, and “the late king and queen of Sweden and Norway.” Here’s the text. If you read Dutch and google has got this wrong please let me know.

Z. K. H. Prins Frederik der Nederlanden

En wijlen z. m. den koning en koningin

van Zweden en Noorwegen

Wollrabe was in business from 1859 to 1887. His principle location was at Boekhorststraat 91 until 1887. His widow attempted to keep the business going in 1888, but I didn’t find reference to anything after this time. He primarily shot ambrotypes in the CDV format.

Uncle Taylor

Uncle Taylor W

A droopy beard and whiskers

Uncle Taylor back W

Uncle Taylor

Do you think that Uncle Taylor was from Sheffield, or his last name was Sheffield? He bears a strong resemblance to Tomkins/Tom King, and I wonder if they were related somehow.

Uncle Taylor wore a nice three piece suit for his photograph and a bow tie. I notice that although his beard is quite full, his forehead is quite large. Is there some compulsion by men losing their hair to grow out their beard?

The photograph was made by Edward Atkinson at 8 Norfolk Row, Sheffield, England.

Tom King

Tom King W

Does it say King or something else?

This distinguished gentleman was identified, to a degree. The person who wrote his name did not have the best penmanship. Is his name Tom King? Tomkins? What do you all think? He has a fine beard, neat coat and tie, high forehead and deep eyes.

Tom King back W

D. Jones, Artist

In this same batch of photographs is someone with the last name Tomkins, so I am leaning toward that, but at first blush, it does look like Tom King. Mr. WhoEverHeWas was photographed by D. Jones in Liverpool, England. Studios were located at 66 Bold Street and 11 Church Street.

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