Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

Here we have a photo of a serene woman in the side profile. She has tiny earrings and a bar pin at the base of her collar. Her hair was dressed into a chignon and there is some sort of comb on top. Mostly though, she has beautiful trim on her dress. I see this dress in a soft brown with black trim and buttons. The trim is very uniform; it could be machine made, or it could be painstakingly applied with incredible attention to detail. Regardless, it is a lovely Celtic type of pattern that weaves around itself.

The photographer was Clench or Oench, in Iowa City, IA. That’s a tricky one, there are lots of sports teams that were in a clench over one thing or another in Iowa.

6 thoughts on “Gorgeous trim

  1. It is beautiful trim..and this young lady has a very beautiful profile too:)


  2. IntenseGuy says:

    “CHARLES E CLENCH a resident of Iowa City and proprietor of a photograph gallery on second floor over American Express office on south Clinton street was born February 17th 1850 in Niagara county, New York began business in Iowa City in July 1882. Came to the State of Iowa in April 1877. He was married in 1870 to Miss Nellie Newell of Racine Wisconsin this union is blessed with two children Maude and Mabel. The family are members of the Episcopal Church. A member of Eureka Lodge IOOF Iowa City and of the L of H of Iowa City. He is a republican in politics. ”

    – History of Johnson County, Iowa, containing a history of the county, and its townships, cities and villages from 1836 to 1882.


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      Didn’t Connie have a photo recently that pertained to a Maude and Mabel? Wouldn’t that be funny!


  3. Each clover leaf pattern is made separately. It looks like the dress maker had a pattern drawn out. She laid the ribbon out on the pattern and tacked each intersection together. She repeated this process until there was enough to cover the bodice. Each “repeat” would have been hand sewn onto the bodice and they would have been carefully placed so that they matched on each side and so that they gave the illusion, with a quick glance, of one continuous peice of ribbon. There is a name for this look which escapes me. Judging by the hair and the placement of the shoulder seam, I’d place this photo in the 80s, which would match IGs dates for the photographer.


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      Thank you for your insight on the trim application! I would have been such a poor seamstress – I’m either a perfectionist or I give up when it goes all wrong.


  4. Rikibeth says:

    The name for that sort of trim is “passementerie” and what a wonderful picture of it!


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