Category Archives: Old Photos

Three Gentlemen’s Civil War Era Photos

I have three photos to share with you today.  All are carte-de-visite, size 2.5 x 4 inches.  And they are from the Civil War era – 1860-1865.

This first photo is a good example of the oversized clothing men wore at this time.  The sleeves of the jacket are huge!  The lapels, wide.  A very thin tie, tied in a simple bow was the norm for this time period.  As you can tell the photo is in bad shape.  But  you can still see what a handsome gentleman he was.

This gentleman’s tie is the same as the first.  Even the pants were oversized in this era.  Only the top button on the vest is fastened – same as in the first photo.  Don’t you love his curly hair!

Our third photo is full-length.  You can see how the length of the coat comes to the the knees.  This gentleman’s vest matches his pants and is fully buttoned.  Again that curly hair!  He wears a pinky ring on his left hand.

All three photos are good examples of how your ancestors might have dressed during the 1860’s.



I had to share this photo because it makes me happy!  I love the smiles – something you rarely see in early photos!  Is this a mother/daughter duo, or sisters?  Their dresses are similarly made, the decoration across the bodice is identical.

This is a post card, 1908-1914.  The name of the photographer is embossed on the card – E. Hotchkiss, Geneseo, Illinois.


1890’s Photography

I have five photographs to share with you today – all are from the 1890’s – from the early years to the end of the decade when leg ‘o mutton sleeves took almost as much material as a skirt!

Sisters?  Mother/daughter?  Matching hats and similar outfits look like a summer’s outing.  The older girl wears gloves, and the younger holds a fan.  Sleeves have just a hint of puffiness at the shoulder.

A trio of sisters?  They do favor, especially in their cheekbone structure.  The two on the ends seem to wear matching dresses.  Hard to see in this photo, but it looks like the sleeves are a bit bigger than the first photo.

I love this mother and son photo.  Look at her tiny waist!  Ah, the sleeves have a bit of extra material, but not the extreme at the end of the decade.

Such a great photo – look at those women’s hats!  And the men’s!  Now we are talking leg ‘o mutton sleeves!  Look at the huge puff on the upper arm.

Another woman and child.  The dress of the little one is amazing!  This sweet mother keeps her arm around her baby to protect him/her from falling.  Her blouse is beautiful.

Nothing like old photos to give us an idea of fashions of long ago.

Gentlemen’s Photos 1860-1895

Women’s photographs are always more interesting, and there are more of them than men’s.  Women’s dresses, hair styles and jewelry always draw our attention.  But men’s clothing, hair and hat styles can be just as interesting.

This first gentleman’s photo is a carte-de-visite – or something similar.  I believe this photo was taken about 1860, possibly 1859.  Instead of being the exact 2 1/2″ x 4″ as the carte-de-visite, this card measures 2 7/16″ x 4 3/16″.  In the early days the cards were not exactly measured and thus gives us a hint to its age.  The gentleman wears the long, oversized coat of this era – note it almost comes to his knees.  The collar of his shirt is not as tall as in later years and his very narrow silk tie is a signature of the very early 1860’s.

Our next two photos are tintypes, but not the very early tintypes of of 1858-1864.  The 1880’s saw a resurgence of this method of photography.  By this point photographs were even cheaper to make and film technology improved to make the photographic process faster.  Many cities had photography studios, as well as carnivals and fairs which gave a souvenir of the event.  It looks as if the above photo was taken in a tent, there are what look like ties at the bottom left, and studios would have a more interesting background than white with a solitary chair.

This gentleman  wears a shirt of the 1880’s with it’s sharp, pointed collar.  His suit is more tailored to his physique and he wears a famous bowler hat of the time period.  This tintype is 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″.

Our second tintype is much smaller in size, 1 3/4″ x 2 1/2″.  You can just see the wide, colorful tie in the v between his collar and vest.  Another 1880’s photograph.

Our next two photos are unusual sized cards of the late 1880’s to 1890’s  measuring 5 1/8″ x 7 1/4″, instead of the 4 1/4″ x 6 1/2″ of the more popular cabinet cards.  In addition to the unusual size the dark green and black card backgrounds were used only 1884-1895.  Both use studio backgrounds and props.  1886 saw the use of large fake rocks.

I believe it is the first time I have seen men holding a cigarette or slim cigar – hard to tell which it is.  In the above photo the cigarette is actually lit.  The stylish gentleman above wears a dapper hat and sports a mustache.  Quite a man about town.

This is the only photograph that is identified.  Please meet Andrew S. Leitch.  The photo was taken by Charles Keil’s Studio at 691 Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn, New York.

 Another sharply dressed gentleman.  His silk tie has a decorative pin in the knot.  Could you get any more props in this photo?  The animal skin rug was in use during the 1880’s.  This photo was taken in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s photos.  Do you have any photos that match any of this dates?


1920’s Wedding Photograph – Seeing Her Ankles, Oh My!

I haven’t shared a wedding photo in quite some time.  To tell you the truth, they are hard to come by.  When I first starting buying old photographs I found them in any antique shop.  I haven’t found a wedding photo in several years.

I love this one!  It is a roaring twenties wedding – the bride wearing a shorter dress style, showing those ankles and making her wedding her own.  Can’t say I really like the headdress, but this was all the rage at the time.  Bouquets were huge, with more greenery than flowers generally speaking.

Grooms usually wore a coat and tails, stiffly starched shirt and white tie.

I hope this couple was very happy.  The photo I have is an 8 x 10.  There is no photographer’s name.

The Same Woman?

I have two photos to share with you today.  Our first is a photo postcard.

On back is an area for a name and address and a message, much like the postcards of today.  Notice the area for the stamp.  There are the letters AZO on all four sides with upward pointed triangles in each corner – this dates the postcard to 1904-1918.

How does the date correspond to the dress of the woman?  During the early days of the twentieth century women were still very modest in their dress, from the floor-length gowns of the first days to a slight hike in hemlines by 1918.  But a knee length dress?  And short sleeves?  Perhaps this woman was an actress or singer?

Also notice the name of the photo studio printed on the side – the first time I’ve seen a name on a photo postcard.  Astoria Photo Studio, 32 Flushing Avenue, Astoria, Long Island.  I could find nothing on the studio.  Online I did find that Flushing Avenue is now known as Astoria Boulevard.

Our second photo was perhaps taken a little earlier.  I think both women look very similar – could this be the same person?  In the first photo she would be a little plumper.  Probably not the same, but interesting.  Here again is a much shorter dress – in an earlier time period.  I would date this photo to 1900.  She strikes an interesting pose!

This photo is on a very stiff card, with no information on back.

Always interesting to look back at old photos.



Young Men College and Professional Photographs

Today I share with you four photographs of young men, probably college students or professionals.  Most of the time I post photos of women or children.  Don’t want the men to feel left out!  I would date these photographs from 1900 to possibly 1920.  None are carte-de-visite or cabinet cards from earlier times.

Perhaps the youngest in the group, this young man looks very serious.  This photo was taken by Crosby Photography, Cottage Studios in Franklin, Simpson County, Kentucky.

This is a postcard photo.  What do you think is attached to his breast pocket?  Something from a club or organization?

This young man also has something in his pocket, and is attached to his lapel.  He is a very handsome young man.

Our last photo shows a young man serious about his books and work.  He has quite a nifty bow tie.  This photo was taken by Louis Burkart at 11th and Ann Streets in Newport, Kentucky.