Women's History Month Day 18
Maternity photos from the 19th c. are uncommon although morés began to loosen in the 1890s. The woman on the left is more than likely expecting. This photo from the 1890s is most likely some type of summertime family gathering.
The woman in question is wearing a striped wrapper. Wrappers were common casualwear for women from the mid 19th to early 20th century. By the late 19th c., they were most often a comfortable, inexpensive garment worn around the house or to very casual events much the way we wear jeans or the summer maxi-dress. They are often cinched at the waist with a belt or apron. When a maternity dress becomes necessary, wrappers are often worn loose or purchased/sewn in a style which does not require a belt.
Photo purchased in Burlington, WI about 10 yrs ago.