Thursday, March 30, 2017

March 30th - All Shapes and Sizes...

c. Mid-1860s

Women's History Month Day 30

The photo of this unidentified young woman has a modern twist. All we know about her is what the photo supplies. This c. mid-1860s carte de visite photo was taken in Lyons, NY at C.H. Ravell Photographer (Lyons itself had a population of approx 3,200 in 1860). She is wearing a simply styled pretty silk dress which is immaculately tailored. Next to her sits her paletot (coat) and hat. She appears to be comfortably middle class which fits with the descriptions of Lyons, NY I have found.

Now here’s where the conversation takes a turn and you gentlemen may become uncomfortable with the conversation or think its odd…but that's okay. Remember, this is our month not yours so you just may need to go on your merry way…

Although we know nothing else about her, she has played an important role for several of us well-endowed ladies who sport 19th c. period clothing every now and again. Again, she is wearing wonderfully tailored clothes and has a lovely shape.  She, of course, would have known nothing other than a corset as a foundation garment, but all of us who have known modern foundation garments may initially find a corset well a bit over-whelming as is drastically changes our shape.  The first time a well-endowed contemporary woman wears a 19th c. corset, she may be very self-conscious as our assets are - shall we say - greatly enhanced. It takes a little “getting used to” and after awhile is it normal and even enjoyable…but it is initially a bit odd especially if you are used to “minimizers”.  In the meantime, this woman helps remind us that 19th c. clothing can fit attractively well on a curvy figure and women have always come in different shapes and sizes. 

As a side note: for those readers who have never worn a corset, they are important foundation garments to 19th c. clothing. They were never to be tight-laced in the 19th, 20th nor 21st centuries.  They are to fit snugly but not tightly - in fact corsets which are too loose are equally uncomfortable. 

March 29th - Aunt Lerisa

c. Early 1880s

Women's History Month Day 29

The back of this photo is labeled "Aunt Lerisa". The front of this cabinet card shows where "Aunt Lerisa" had her photo taken: "Robinson and Roe, 77 Clark Street, Chicago" 

This very stylish young woman had her photo taken at a trendy photo studio in Chicago. Robinson and Roe. It was a high-volume photo studio with one of the posing rooms stated as being the largest outside Manhattan. Robinson & Roe became known to the theatrical community, and cast photos were often taken there. The photograpers would go on to open a successful studio in Brooklyn, but would remain partners and retain their Chicago studio until 1906. 

Knowing this, I now wonder who "Aunt Lerisa" might be. Was she a young stylish woman looking to have her photo at a trendy studio? ...or was she a performer? ...or?

I encourage you to go on to read the most interesting article I found:, Robinson and Roe | Broadway Photographs, Studio, Robinson and Roe, March 29, 2017

Friday, March 24, 2017

March 24th - TGIF!

Early 1900s

Women's History Month Day 24

TGIF! - Head out for a joy ride this afternoon. The scene doesn't exclusively feature women, but its hard to miss the levity...although, the gentlemen in this scenario from the early 1900s look more thrilled than the ladies.

This photo was taken in Chicago at the Chicago Photo Postal Studio. This particular photo was produced on a very inexpensive postcard which reminds me of photos taken in a photo booth.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

March 23rd - "Regular Fellers"

"Regular Fellers" - Aug 20, 1923

Women's History Month Day 23

The handwritten label on the back of this photos is: 

"Regular Fellers" 
Aug. 20, 1923

I wish these young ladies could tell us their story, but all we have is this photo I picked up probably a decade ago in Burlington, WI. We can, however, enjoy this summer day in 1923 with them. 

Note: As I mentioned in other posts, we cannot always trust handwritten labels on photos, but it helps that the hand-writing style on this photo is time period appropriate. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

March 22nd - Farm Journal

c. 1937

Women's History Month Day 22 

It's hump day. Take some quiet time for yourself.

Photo provenance: Purchased at Thoreauly Antiques, on Waldon Street in Concord, MA

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

March 21st - Strength

c. 1880s

Women's History Month Day 21

A few weeks ago, this portrait struck me while I was casually perusing through vintage photos at an antique store in Grafton, WI. Her eyes are piercing and there is strength in her appearance. Although we do not know who she is, she appears comfortable sporting her hair in an 1860s style while wearing 1880s style clothing. Her broach is pretty, yet inexpensive, and her garment appears to be a mid/lightweight wool.

How we relate to current fashion, has remained a constant between the 19th and 21st centuries. Like many of us, ladies of the 19th century became comfortable with a certain hairstyle or fashion and stuck with it only changing slightly. Others enjoyed updating as styles changed. Still others desired to update their hair or wardrobes, but do to extenuating circumstances, like money or health, were unable to do so as frequently as they wished. In regards to changing fashion, we ladies of the 21st century are still able to relate to ladies of the 19th century even if the styles themselves are vastly different.

Cabinet Card Purchased at Seth's Antiques in Grafton

Monday, March 20, 2017

March 20th - In Your Easter Bonnet...

c. Early 1900s

Women's History Month Day 20

So it's not quite time for Easter bonnets, but it is the 1st day of Spring. There is not anything subtle about these young ladies hats...and there was not anything subtle about them when this photo was taken in Sturtevant, WI in the early 1900s.

...and yes, there is a definite possibility these crowning glories were embellished at home to add that extra special touch.