Category Archives: Old Photos

Lace, Ruffles and More Lace

I purchased this wonderful photo just today at J. Sampson Antiques and Books on Main Street in Harrodsburg – another of our treasures!  As I walked through the store after checking through the books (found one on Scott County history, the Wilderness Road, Shakertown and the old Mud Meeting House), I saw this picture and fell in love!

This woman is quite beautiful – a classic beauty with a romantic hair style.  But her dress steals the show.  The high collar, ruffled cuffs, the entire dress is lace, lace and more lace.  And in the beautiful white of the turn of the 20th century.  How I wish we knew her name.  I suppose she will remain the beautiful mystery woman!

Have a wonderful Friday!

Dear Aunt Lil

Goodrich Nursing Home in Lexington, Kentucky. My Aunt Lil’s nursing home, run about 1940-1960? Not sure about the dates. Aunt Lil is in the dark dress at the bottom of the photo.

This is a great photo of my Aunt Lil and her nursing staff at the Goodrich Nursing Home in Lexington, Kentucky.  Aunt Lil, actually my great-aunt, was born Lillian Catherine Montgomery, March 11, 1900 – always easy to remember old she was – in Washington County, the daughter of Robert E. Lee Montgomery and Frances Barber Linton.  She married Guy Goodrich in 1933.  They had no children, but Aunt Lil devoted her time as a registered nurse, a graduate of St. Joseph Hospital School of Nursing in Lexington.  She began Goodrich Nursing Home and ran it with an iron fist.  Patients always came first.  She was a stickler for cleanliness and demanded superior work from her staff.  She was well known in this field, and well loved by those who worked for her.

I have very vague memories of visiting Aunt Lil and Uncle Guy’s home in Lexington – I always thought it very fancy!  I particularly remember her plates with pink flowers and green leaves in her china hutch.  In later years, after Uncle Guy passed on and she sold the nursing home, she returned to Springfield, in Washington County, and lived near her sister – my grandmother.  It was at this point our relationship grew, since the genealogy bug had been handed down to her, from her mother – and also handed down to me from the same, my great-grandmother.  As far as I know, we were the only two in the family so obsessed!  I would visit her for lunch and we would pore over all the delicate pieces of paper of our ancestors, handed down through the years, and look at those faces in photographs of so long ago.  Sometimes I miss her so!

Aunt Lil was rather a roving senior citizen.  She would move to Springfield, be there several years; miss Lexington; move there for several years, miss Springfield, and move back.  Torn between two worlds.  In her last years she lived in a nursing home in Springfield, but acted like she was the one taking care of things.  I suppose once a nurse, always a nurse!

Do you recognize any of the nurses in the photo?

Lovely 1860’s Lady In Gorgeous Dress

Isn’t this a lovely woman in a beautiful dress?  When I think 1860’s, Civil War era, this is what comes to mind.  The huge skirt, with hoops, is the epitome of the time, but notice the jacket with matching scrolls from the bottom of the skirt – the entire outfit comes together with that pairing.  The hair is parted in the center and pulled back, as in the early 1860’s, but you can see an earring, and a ribbon, giving a little more decoration and leading towards the end of the decade.  Her bonnet is in the chair and she holds a parasol.

Because the dress is very fashionable, with more decoration than the early years of the decade, I would date this photo to about 1867-1868.

This is a small carte-de-visite, and on back is ‘photographed by A. Copsey, Sudbury, Suffolk’.  Just a little research led me to Ambrose Copsey, born about 1832, who married Mary Garwood.  By 1866 the couple and their children had moved to Sudbury.  More information, plus a photo of the artist and his wife can be found here.

1890’s Children’s Photo

Today I share with you a photo of three very handsome children.  Don’t you love the way the girl holds on to her brother’s arm?

This photo can be dated to the 1890’s in several different ways.  The clothing the children wear is definitely from this time period.  In Joan Severa’s Dressed For The Photographer she mentions in the 1890’s the young girls ‘waists shirred to form a yoke, and full bishop sleeves shirred at the wrist.’  For the older boy the Nassau was in style – ‘the popular suit for small boys for ordinary wear, having jacket with square front . . . and a simulated vest which is buttoned in at side seams and can be exchanged for a shirt-waist.’  The younger boy wears a sailor jacket, popular from that time period.

But most telling is the photo card itself.  The use of the beveled edge for cards began in 1885.  The card is not rough or plain, but coated front and back, dating the card from 1888 to 1900.  The embossed gold foil of the photographer’s name dates this card from 1890 to 1900.  There is no imprint on the back of the card.  Remember, this was used mostly for advertising for the photographer.  By the middle and late 1890’s there were fewer back imprints – ‘Since it was considered a period of elegance and simplicity, the heavily adorned backs of earlier cards did not fit into the current style,’ from 19th Century Card Photos Kwik Guide.

The photographer, Thomas C. Partridge, was located at 8 Sepulchre Street, Sudbury, England, when this photo was taken.  The name was changed to Gainsborough Street by 1900, in honor of Thomas Gainsborough, the famous portrait painter from the second half of the 18th century, whose birth place is located at 46-47 Gainsborough Street.  Another clue to date this photo to the late 1890’s!

Early 1860’s Fashion

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!

The Charles and Alice McClain Family

fam-2-1This is a great family photo – everyone spruced up for the camera.  The best part, a family member was thoughtful enough to write the names on back!  This is Uncle Charley and Aunt Alice McClain.  Elmer, the oldest son, married Dorothy; Jack married Mamie; Miller does not have a spouse listed, and Elsie married Davie.  So many times there is nothing written on the back of a photo, and this one has a wealth of information – not only listing the people in the photo, but giving the names of spouses!

The photo is 5.5 X 8.5 inches, with a two inch black border.  The white blouses of the ladies and the size of the photo lead me to believe it was taken about 1910.  Unfortunately there is no photographer’s name – or where the photo was taken.  I tried a search with just the names and the father’s date of birth as 1860.  Without a place name it is almost hopeless – even with the names of all the children added to the search.

Does anyone recognize the people in this photo?  With so many names, hopefully we can get more information about this family.

Wedding Photo

mar-3-1I’m happy to share this lovely wedding photo of a very handsome couple!  The bride is a modern 1930’s girl with a shorter skirt, hat rather than a veil, and a simple necklace.  She carries a huge bouquet of roses and fern.  Her groom is very debonair, with a white shirt and bow tie, gloves and a top hat that he holds in his right hand.

The photo was taken by A. Augustynowicz Photo Studio, located at 2987 Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.  Perhaps the studio wasn’t in business very long, I could find nothing online.

Have a happy Saturday!