Old Photos

Old Photographs From the 19th Century

I have six photographs to share with you today.  Let’s start with the earliest.

Doesn’t this woman remind you of Mary Todd Lincoln?  Definitely a Civil War era dress.  Note the beautiful material, with small dots, and larger ones.  The pleats at the waist gave a full skirt, but easier on the waist.  Sleeves are attached at the armpit, not the shoulder.  The sleeve, a wide, bell-shaped flare, worn over a white undersleeve – indicative of the early years of the 1860’s.  White lace collars were very popular at this time.  The crocheted hair net this woman wears was quite on-point for this time period – usually made from black or purple chenille yarns.

The 1870’s were all about smaller skirts, adorned with anything and everything!  Trains and bustles were part of the new look – how did they sit?  The dress was narrow in front and on the sides, everything new came in back!  Joan Severa in her book, Dressed For The Photographer, ‘During the decade’s early years, written descriptions of fashions claimed repeatedly that the dress should cling to the form and be very narrow, revealing the figure.’  The above dress was probably made about 1878.  Waistlines began to lengthen, and a two-piece dress was the most popular form, with the long jacket as seen above.

Men’s clothes are always harder to judge time wise – but there are small differences.  I believe this one to be from the 1870’s.  The sharpness of the points on the jacket have advanced from the 1860’s, as well as how closely the jacket fits.  In the ’60’s jackets and pants were very loose fitting.  This gentleman is quite handsome.

Don’t you love this family photo?  The little guy in the middle is so cute.  Boys and girls were dressed alike until about the age of seven.  This was taken in the late 1880’s.  Women’s dresses became simpler.  The table looks like the one I have that belonged to my great-great-grandmother.

This is an early 1890’s photo.  Those large leg-o-mutton sleeves beginning their huge growth.  Again, another great pattern in the dress.  This woman’s hair is severely pulled back, just a few short bangs showing.

Our last photo is of the very late 1890’s.  This young girl looks quite charming in her white dress.  The gathered sleeves ending in lace at the cuff, lace on the bodice and white bow lead us to believe this is a special occasion – perhaps graduation from elementary school?


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