Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

Once upon a time in Des Moines, IA, this lovely lady went to the L. H. Freeborn & Son studio to have her portrait made. They had her stand with a chair covered with some feathers or foliage of some kind. She looks like she’s a bit uncertain of the whole process. Her dress, however, is quite fashionable. It surely has a bustle which you can’t see here, and it features the appearance of a vest or second layer under the bodice, although it would have been one garment. In my mind, this is a soft rose pink with green velvet trimmings. Quite fashionable!

Only two photos remain in the Dobb Long Book. One of these days I will get around to dedicating an entire page to the album, but in the meantime if you want to look at the full book, click on the category “Dobb Long Book” over there to the right.

This is a proud Sepia Saturday post.  Please click through to view interesting and inspiring sepia images from around the world.

6 thoughts on “Fashionable

  1. Lovely description of the dress..I see green with brown velvet trim. That certainly is a strange prop..I have not seen anything like it before:)


  2. Tattered and Lost says:

    That small pine tree is just plain odd! Now I’d like to know what they were trying to hide.


  3. Brett Payne says:

    Many studios of that time used props such as these. They’re almost certainly not designed to hide anything. In the 1880s and 1890s it was common to introduce a rural aspect into the studio, as if the subject had been out for a stroll in the country. She is resting her hand on what appears to me to be a wooden “fence” fashioned from suitable twigs, a common studio accessory. The bizarre covering of what look like pine fronds, produces a very odd effect, but this sort of thing was not uncommon. I think it’s an attempt at “rustification” which has fallen slightly short of the mark. Judging by her clothing, I think the portrait was taken in the mid- to late 1880s, say betweem 1885 and 1888.


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      Thanks for your great input. I agree with you on the dates as well. The rustic look was apparently pretty popular as I’ve got others with random outdoor objects.


  4. Christine says:

    Your description of the colors of her dress made me start wondering about how much we miss out on by not having any clue of the colors. We have to remind ourselves that they weren’t wearing gray.


  5. IntenseGuy says:

    Only two more photos remain? And then all the clues that we will ever have of just who these people are will be laid out for all to see.

    …and I’m pretty stumped.


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