The Faded Girl

Faded girl W

Where are you, sweet child?

Faded girl back W

Decorative backmark for May & Co.

This later 19th century photograph, a CDV, once showed a pretty child, posed upon a chair, with round baby face youth looking out at her parents. Today, we know she was there, but over time the image has faded to a grainy suggestion of its former glory. I don’t know enough about vintage photographic processes to even suggest what has caused the photo to fade so badly. Perhaps it was exposed to direct sunlight, or perhaps it wasn’t developed properly in the first place.

The photographer was May & Co, of Station Road, Northwich, England. Northwich is in the county of Cheshire, northwest of London. I found a reference in an 1892 directory for Northwich, to a George Austin May & Co, photographer in Station Road.



Hello, baby

Mounted Tin Types 8 W

Baby with a shawl

Before I gave you all those wonderful Christmas cards, I teased you about a tintype that would make you say “awww.” Well, two months later, I hope you didn’t hold your breath, but here it finally is!

This baby was photographed by T. M. Saurman, as were several previous portraits (to view them click on the category T. M. Saurman under photographers). The child’s hair was carefully parted over the forehead, suggesting to me that this is a girl. The shawl may be for looks, or may be a way to tie the baby to the chair. It also appears there is *something* to her left, like the arm of a parent. The mount features embossed scrolling to frame the image with dramatic and beautiful effect.

Ooh, baby it's a smile world

Taken at T. M. Saurman’s Superior Skylight Gallery

Unfortunately for us, the baby and her supposed parents were not identified.


Liberty Bell 26

Liberty Bell 28

Sweet baby in a bonnet

Today we have a sweet little baby in a bonnet. While we retrospectively think these bonnets are cute and were for show, they served a very practical purpose of keeping the baby’s head warm. Even today, there are caps, knitted beanies and all sorts of cute adornments for an infant’s head. The infant mortality rate even in the early 20th century when this photo was made was still quite high, and the belief that cold weather could make a person sick was still fairly common. It makes perfect sense to turn the utility & safety of a baby bonnet into a wearable piece of art with fine stitching, tiny ribbon bows and various other vintage sewing techniques. Family heirlooms survive to reveal the care and expert needlework that went into making these fine garments.

Baby was photographed by Tilton of Exeter, NH. To see all the family’s photographs by Tilton, click on the category Tilton or W. P. Tilton Jr.

Liberty Bell 6

Liberty Bell 7

Baby Fauntleroy

This photo was photographed by M. Frank Miller, who provided the previous image of our Little Lord Fauntleroy. This child is wearing a lovely, long dress. It is interesting to note that the photograph seems to have an oval shape, much like a frame or album opening, right in the middle of the dress – where a face might have been. I wonder where it was placed to have developed such an odd marking.

Baby in a chair

Sit still

Sit still

Even though this is an outdoor photograph, looking a lot like a snapshot, it was mounted on bristol board and bears a photographer’s mark. The embossed mark indicates Hornick was the photographer, from Johnstown, PA. Johnstown, PA was the site of a terrible flood in 1889 that claimed the lives of over 2000 residents in the valley. What today would be recognized as corporate greed, failure to take accountability, and a general disinterest in “the little people” contributed to the failure of the South Fork Dam, which created Lake Connemaugh for the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club – which counted among its members the wealthy, businessmen and captains of industry. Click over to Map of Time, where there is a great summary of the terrible day. For a gripping and more extensive narrative, look into The Johnstown Flood, by David McCullough.

Peek a boo!



When I saw this photo, I had to have it. My friend and I (both moms) giggled at the baby’s expression. It’s just so funny! It’s as though someone behind the photographer just played peek a boo with her and she is startled to see them. Her hair, although a bit blurry, reminds me of the cute “hair bow” I posted a few years ago in this photo. It looks as though the hair was curled into the shape of a bow on top of her head.

The unnamed baby was photographed by H. J. Corell of Mt. Jewett, PA. While I didn’t find any information on the photographer, I did find information on the embossing the photographer information on the cabinet card. It appears that embossing on the front of the card such as this was popular between 1894-1900.

Baby in a chair

Babe in a chair

Babe in a chair

This particular cabinet card was trimmed along the top, presumably to fit into a frame. The child looks to be about 6 months of age, round of face and sweet looking. At first I thought this might be a boy, but then noticed the necklace, so am guessing at a girl. The chair is the typical velvet-upholstered affair common in portrait studios even today.

The photographer was Kimball at 140 Court Street, Boston.

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