Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past


This is a lovely family from the C. Murray Album. The parents look to be in their 30s with three children – a girl, a boy, and an infant. The mother looks a bit like Who Was She? #2. Relations?

I found that George Burgoyne was a photographer in Manhattan, KS from 1864 into the 1870s, although the card says the studio was established in 1859. There is some historical speculation that a previous owner started the studio in ’59 and Burgoyne took over in ’64. From the mother’s dress, we can tell this image was made in the 1870s, as her dress features the higher shoulder seams and more narrow skirt that emerged in the 1870s. Noting the drape across her knees, it’s a good speculation that she’s wearing a bustle dress. The Early Bustle period ran from 1870-1876, was followed by the Natural Form period which eschewed the bustle, and then the bustle came back with a vengeance from 1882-1889. The girl also has a lovely wide lace collar, the boy a handsome double breasted suit and the infant a lovely gown. After studying the infant, I’m saying it is a girl because the hair is so deliberately parted in the middle. Girls hair was parted in the middle, boys on the side.

5 thoughts on “Who was this family?

  1. Intense Guy says:

    I think the girl in the black dress is really pretty.


  2. I think the women in both photos share very similar facial features…they could very well be related. Have you noticed that the man appears to have only one leg..I assume that the other is hidden behind the one that is showing:)


  3. Ha ha ha! “From the C. Murray Album”! I don’t know why I find that so tickling. How did you get them out of the album without ripping anything? The photos look very clear, BTW, and the backing on the card is the most ornate I think I’ve ever seen.


  4. mrsmarvel says:

    Cat, I just tried to find the way the photos would move and if they moved together that’s the way I removed them. Many of them slid out without any trouble at all. A couple wanted to come out the slot for the photo behind it, but they all came out and nothing was damaged more than it was. I promised that I will treat this as my own family and I stand by that promise! :-)

    After reading PhotoTree.com I learned that the more elaborate the back of the card, the later in the 19th century it was produced. Just you wait – I have some all curlicued in gilt.


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