Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

This is a 3/4 profile bust of a woman, probably related to the two previous photograph subjects. This lady has a lovely dress with the buttons descending at an angle from shoulder to front. This was a popular style in the 1890s. The dress is striped and I see it in tan and navy. She is wearing a locket or small watch from her throat.

The photographer was T. W. Townsend of Iowa City. Townsend was born in 1845 in Ohio, and later moved to Iowa. He established his photography business in 1870 on Clinton, which is the same street as our two previous photographs. He was fairly well known, and in the 1881-1882 Holiday Souvenir and Annual for the town of Iowa City was featured as a “man of prominence” in the town. The fellows included in that group were photographed and a short biography written. The photograph of Townsend reveals him to be youthful looking but with a very long dark beard. I’d imagine that since the beard being a popular look for men at the time, it was not unusual, but to my eye, he looks a bit of a wild man.

6 thoughts on “The 3/4 profile

  1. She’s pretty. Her hair is so curly … it must be pulled back in braid or something, it can’t be as short as it looks.

    Thank you so much for stopping by to say hi yesterday! I told Cary that you might have found his baby stroller, lol.

    Have a wonderful week,



    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      Kathy, I agree, I can just see a braid wound around the back of her head. She might have had somewhat thin hair even though curly. It tends to collapse on itself when braided or styled in certain ways. Sadly, i speak from experience. :-)


  2. She is lovely..and sisters to the others..or cousins ..this Dobb Book has so many great photos:)


  3. Jason Townsend says:

    Timothy Wesley Townsend was a relative of mine, his father was James Townsend who owned the Traveler’s Rest Inn. T. W. Townsend’s sons, C. F. Townsend and Alva Coover Townsend were also very prominent photographers. I would be interested in seeing the photo of him with the dark beard, all the photos I have seen of him were when he had a white beard. Except one which is assumed to be him at a young age.


  4. Jason Townsend says:

    P.S. The beard… the Townsends were Abolitionist Quakers and many of them had beards at the time. T. W. Townsend’s father James had a station on the Underground Railroad there in West Liberty.


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      Jason – the annual is available on Google Books, hopefully this link will work http://books.google.com/books?id=w4UUAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA92&lpg=PA92&dq=townsend+iowa+city+photographer&source=bl&ots=fNU1Wd168e&sig=uUm7QLktjKYfAMR2CXNrf_oRB9U&hl=en&sa=X&ei=xyCzUpz5MoXkoASpmIKQDQ&ved=0CFYQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=townsend%20iowa%20city%20photographer&f=false

      The photographs are on page 52. If for some reason the link doesn’t work, the exact title is Souvenir and Annual for 1881-1881: Containing Brief Biographies of by J. F. Kneedler.


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