Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

Sometimes when you look at one of these old photos that show a child dressed in the ambiguous fashions of the Victorian era, you can just tell the child is a boy or a girl. That is the case here. This child is all boy to me. The dress is cute, but for the era it is surprisingly not adorned with much trimming, further leading me to think “boy.” It looks like a checked fabric of some type, perhaps a lightweight wool, with darker velvet cuffs and neckerchief and many buttons on the blouse. The sleeves look a little short for him, so perhaps he is taller than his sibling or cousin who may have had the dress originally. The skirt is pleated and you can easily tell there is a petticoat of some kind underneath to keep it fanned out so nicely. He has dark stockings and black shoes. Once again a photographer posed a child standing on a chair. Were people just more trusting back then? There is no way I’d let my child stand on a chair for as long as needed for one of these vintage photographs!

The photographer was Walter in Manchester….England? New Hampshire?

UPDATE: Iggy’s got a good memory and pointed out that we have seen this photographer previously, and he is located in Manchester, Iowa. Thanks Iggy!

7 thoughts on “All boy

  1. IntenseGuy says:

    I think it’s the same Walter that took this picture:


    It’s even the same chair. :) Manchester, Iowa.


  2. The cameras were stationary..or took a long time to set back up if they were moved..hence the chair. I think boy too..I think that you could dress these outfits up or down depending on if they were for boys or girls..and clothing was handed down..because for one thing they had limited storage for clothing:)


  3. kirstymackay says:

    Great site. Amazing photographs. It really contrasts with the way we dress children today (which I have written a bit about on my blog – girls in pink etc). Love it. Kirsty


  4. Grace says:

    I hate to say it, but chances are that is not a petticoat, but a device used to prop the child’s body. He/she is likely deceased. The pose looks very unnatural, and slumped over. The legs don’t appear to be bearing any weight. I could. E wrong about this photo in particular, but it was common to take photos of deceased loved ones in the Victorian era. They would sometimes prop the eyes open or have them artificially added later (to the photo).


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      You may be interested in this photo: https://whowerethey.wordpress.com/2011/09/16/slack-mouthed/ which looks a lot more like a mori photo than the boy above. I don’t personally think the boy in this post is deceased, but in the other I’m pretty sure s/he is. Memento mori photos fascinate me.


  5. Maria huertas garcia says:

    Hello, sorry for writing, I do not master English well

    at that time and at that age boys and girls had long hair, some do not but others did, and the dresses were completely normal at that age. In addition there was also adult men with long hair by that time. It is associated with men with short hair is something completely modern, since the 50s.

    But as modern believe us and people of past eras the cross out of machismo and here is the proof that is otherwise not really matter that, what matters is that they no longer care about us if they spent that time to other things.

    Liked by 1 person

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