Old Photos

Three Family Photographs 1887-1896

Today I share with you three family photographs.  These photographs were taken approximately 1887-1896.

According to Dressed for the Photographer, by Joan Severa, men’s fashions showed better fitting coats for the 1880’s, ‘Lapels were extremely narrow and small, as the coat was made to be closed high at the throat, barely showing the necktie . . . During the decade a cut-away jacket front was introduced that allowed the bottom of the vest, and therefore the watch chain, to be exposed to view’.  This is readily seen in each of the three photographs.  In the 1890’s there was slightly better fitting coats.  ‘Sleeves were narrow and short enough to cause shirt cuffs to ‘pop’ out about an inch.’

Women’s fashions for the late 1880’s were characterized by ‘little or no fullness provided by petticoats . . . Most bodices were at least hip length,’ and featured very high standing collars.

The first photograph is the oldest, about 1887.  Men’s ties in this decade were tied in a large knot as in this example.  There is no inch of shirt cuff as seen in the other two photos.  The woman’s skirt is pleated, also from this time period.  Notice the fingerless gloves she wears.  The little girl is adorable in her polka dot dress.  On back is written Mr. and Mrs. Karch.  About 1887 a line appeared below the photo and above the studio imprint.  This imprint is of an ordinary kind, also from the late 1880’s.  Photo was taken by Buffalo Photo Co., 152 & 154 Broadway, Buffalo, New York.

The second photograph was taken about 1893 due to the large text that is foil stamped.  Another clue is the scalloped border (on all four sides, I trimmed the sides and top to get a better scan.).   The little girl wears a pretty skirt and top.  Notice the slight puff sleeve on mother and daughter – that at the end of the decade would necessitate almost a yard of material each!  This and the following photo were taken in Newman Grove, Nebraska, by T. Olson.  The population in 1890 of this small town was 330, and today the population has only doubled.

The last photograph was taken about 1896.  Instead of a foil stamp the artist information is elegantly embossed, generally with no color as seen in this example.  Notice the mother’s upper sleeve is larger than the last photo.  The velvet trim on the bodice, sleeves and skirts is also indicative of the 1890’s.  The father and son have well-fitting jackets; the man’s collar and necktie barely visible.  The little girl seems bored with the photographic process but is still a cutie.

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