Archive for November, 2008

CDV: Girl in Coat

Posted in 1860s, CDV, girls with tags , , , on November 26, 2008 by Alinka Lesbianka
Girl in Coat, c. 1860-66

Girl in Coat, c. 1860-66

[No Backmark]

This girl wears a long coat -almost the length of her dress. The fabric is probably a fine wool with rich shine. The coat’s armscyes are dropped unusually low, and the wide two-piece coat sleeves are bunched up around her arm, so this coat may be a hand-me-down or something meant to last several growing seasons. Although mostly obscured, two pairs of large buttons at the hem hint that the coat fastens with buttons and loops at the top. There are two barely-visible patch pockets; one is obscured by her hat, and the other is just below her left arm.

She wears a long scarf, fastened around her neck with a decorative pin. The ends of the scarf are fringed, and the scarfs appears to have dark edges, though it is unclear from the photograph exactly what makes the edges dark.

Her hat may be made of wool felt, based on the other cold-weather outerwear. I am unaware of other hat materials, so if you have any information please use the comment form below. The hat is trimmed outside with a dark bow tied at back, a ribband around the crown, and what is probably an ostrich plume on the side. The two long ribbons hanging down may be to tie the hat under her chin (I am guessing at this- correct me if you have other ideas).

The girl appears to be wearing a tasseled hairnet (see the light-colored tassel with dark head near her right ear). Her hair is center parted and probably bound in a low coil on the nape of her neck.

She wears a wide hoop, for her size, and her skirt hangs at least six inches off the ground. This silhouette is typical of adolescent girls of the period.

CDV: Close Curls

Posted in 1860s, CDV with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2008 by Alinka Lesbianka
Close Curls, c. 1863-67

Close Curls, c. 1863-67

J.J. Boyton  Clinton, Mass.

J.J. Boyton Clinton, Mass.

This woman’s clothing appears uninteresting at first glance, but a closer inspection will reveal some unusual details of mid-1860s fashion.

She wears a one-piece dress composed of a bodice and attached skirt. The fabric is probably wool. Her bodice is dart-fitted, with a row of functional buttonholes closing center front. There are eight visible buttons, in a contrast color to the fabric. She has a short standing detachable white collar, and wears a light-colored neck-bow. The strap is just barely visible around her neck. She wears a dark belt, approximately 1.25″, with no visible buckle.

Her sleeves are pleated into a decorative seam down the top. The seam may be covered with braid or some other trim, the photograph is unclear.

Her cuffs are noteworthy: They are slightly conical and pointed on the top edge, with two decorative buttons. The question is over the material- are these black leather? Spectacularly shiny satin? Cuffs like these show up occasionally in photographs, often enough and randomly enough that they could not have been simply a localized fad. I have never come across anything like them in museum collections. Does anyone have any information?

Her skirt is also noteworthy. The wide box pleats at center front and side seam(s) are typical of the mid ’60s, but note the three smaller pleats radiating out from each. The hem of her skirt appears to be box-pleated with the same fabric as the rest of the dress. I wonder how those pleats are attached? It appears that the flounce is sewn right-sides-together, but this construction is not typical for the time period. A pleat topstitched on with a short header is more common. If you have seen an original like this, please comment below.

Finally, her hair, which I consider also noteworthy. It is center-parted, combed smooth for about two inches, and then erupts into a dense but controlled mass of curls on either side of her head. I cannot tell whether her hair is cut short, which was faddish in the late 1860s and early 1870s, or if the sides were let to curl naturally and then combed into a low back bun.

CDV: Circassian Woman

Posted in 1870s, 1880s, CDV, young women with tags , , , , , , , on November 26, 2008 by Alinka Lesbianka

Circassian Woman, late 1860s-80s

"Circassian Beauty", late 1860s-80s

Chas. Eisenmann, Photographer, 229 Bowery, New York

Chas. Eisenmann, Photographer, 229 Bowery, New York

Backmark: “Chas. Eisenmann, Photographer, 229 Bowery, New York. Photographs taken instantaneously. This Picture is printed by Electric Light.”

Date: Late 1860s-80s

Subject: Young woman in a parlor setting

Location: New York, NY

As I am commenting only on dress in this blog, you may read more about Circassian Beauties elsewhere.

This woman wears a dress of velvet reaching just below the knee. Women wore this length skirt only for athletics or on the stage, so we can safely assume this woman worked at the latter. The long sleeves with open cuff (known now as “modified pagoda”) are trimmed with lace, matching the hem of her basque bodice and skirt. The lace and the hem of her drawers is tinted pink in the original CDV.

She wears light-colored stockings and ankle boots with the short heels popular from the 1870s on.

Questions: I am uncertain about the date of this image. That her sleeve and skirt shape seem particularly 1870s and the image is a CDV, not a cabinet card, which suggests an earlier date, but the backmark reads ” This Picture is printed by Electric Light”. Do any of you have any ideas about this?

I am not as well-versed about this period as about others, so I invite you to comment below with additional description and fun facts.

CDV: Bathers

Posted in 1860s, CDV, men, Sportswear, women with tags , , , , , , on November 25, 2008 by Alinka Lesbianka
Two men and two women on beach, c. 1860-70.

Two men and two women on beach, c. 1860-70.

O.H. Willard's Galleries. 1206 Chestnut Street, N?......PHILA.

O.H. Willard

Backmark: None

Date: 1860-70

Subject: Two men and two women on the beach

Location: Unknown

Note: This CDV was purchased in New York City.  Provenance unknown.A rare example of on-site photography. There is a slight possibility that this is a staged, indoor beach setting, but because it lacks the typical trappings of early beachwear photographs (e.g. obviously fake backdrops, props of anchors and other boating gear) and because it looks like there is sand in the foreground, I believe that this is one of the earliest known photographs taken of people on the beach

Man on the Left: Appears to be wearing a loose wool shirt with center front placket extended to just above waist level. The placket closes with 4 visible buttons. A fifth button on PR neck indicates a possible placket extension. Shirt has collar and very full sleeves that bunch around the wristband. Shirt is tucked into trousers and bloused. Trousers of wool, probably matching shirt, with front opening with visible buttons. Trousers are full, gathered into ankle with a band and ending with a short frill over the foot. Straw hat with chin strap. There is a dark spot on the front crown, significance unknown.

Woman, Second from Left: Short dress, probably wool. Flat collar about 2″ wide with dark trim at edge. Bodice bloused slightly into belt at natural waistline. Belt of self fabric trimmed at top and bottom with same trim as collar. Full sleeves ending at wrist, banded with contrast trim, with short ruffle over hands. Skirt is pleated (possibly cut all in one with bodice, basted at waist into pleats); knee-length, trimmed with two horizontal stripes of same trim as elsewhere. Pantaloons are full, probably modeled on young children’s drawers, with openings at either side, and buttons fastening at the waist. Pantaloons are full, gathered at ankle with two stripes of coordinating trim, with a ruffle over the foot about 3″ long. She wears her hair bound, and a straw hat, possibly pulled down at sides to tie under the hair. May also be a bonnet in the typical style, with bavolet and rosette at top.

Man, Third from left: Hip-length shirt, probably of wool. Opens all the way down center front, with a contrasting (dark) panel of fabric and twelve contrasting (light) buttons. Dark material is bound with contrasting braid along all edges, including center fronts and collar. Center front at waist slightly rounded. Cuff not visible. Shirt is untucked. Trousers of fabric probably same as the shirt. Moderately full, banded at ankle with contrasting (dark) fabric or tape, with contrast (dark) placket and light button at inside ankle. No ruffle is visible. Straw hat with chin ties, loosely knotted. His has is tipped slightly back, showing just enough of the crown to reveal a dark spot in the same shape and size as the other man has.

Woman, far right: Dress, probably of wool. Buttons up front with widely-spaced, contrast color (dark) buttons (probably four total). Neckline not discernible. Sleeves pleated at armscye and pleated into contrasting band at wrist, with no discernible ruffle. Thin belt of contrasting fabric. Skirt pleated; ends midway between knee and ankle. Bottom of skirt decorated with wide (5-7″) band of contrasting fabric. Trousers end at ankle, gathered into loose bands of light-coloured material, with similar band of contrasting fabric falling over tops of the feet, Hair is center parted and bound up, and she wears a bonnet or hat pulled down at sides to form a coat-scuttle shape.