This is a prime example of early 1860’s fashion for women. The skirt is very full, worn with hoops. The bishop sleeves are very large. The bodice is made similar to the fan shaped bodice of the 1850’s. And the hair is worn in a net or snood.
This is a CDV or carte-de-visite photo. This was a new and innovative way to produce photographs, beginning in 1860. Previous photographs were on delicate pieces of glass or tin. Some were placed in velvet lined cases to protect the photo, or at least in a gold filigree case. For a CDV the photo was taken and glued to a stiff card. Photos made in this fashion were much less expensive – and the world of photography opened to almost everyone.
The card size for this photo is 2 1/2 inches X 4 inches. This size appeared in 1862. Another hint of the date of this card is because it has no gilt lines around the edge. This makes it a pre-1863 photograph, roughly 1858 to 1863.
On back of the card is the name and address of the photographer – J. W. Gilmor, Photographer, 29 Head Street, Colchester. It is in simple print, putting our date, again to 1862.
During the 1862-1869 period most carte-de-visite’s were a full-length pose. This showcased the Civil War soldiers in their full military uniform, and the long flowing gowns of the ladies.
The hairstyle of this woman also gives us the early dates of the decade. A simple hairstyle – parted in the middle and pulled back into a bun or snood generally went through 1862/63. After that date hairstyles became fancier.
Don’t you enjoy old photos? Such a legacy left by our ancestors – especially if they wrote names on back!