Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

Today we start the brief odyssey of the “Green Fan Album.” The Green Fan Album is the cabinet album in green linen with the fan decoration on the front. There are only 22 photos in the album and the promise of the wedding photograph proved too enticing to pass up for long. As I worked through the album it partially fell apart in my hands. The clasp was patented in June 1882, although that doesn’t prove anything except it was not produced earlier than that. My suspicion is that the album dates from the 1880s though because of it being a cabinet style album. I found it difficult to take some of the photos out of the pages, not because they were too fragile, but because of the way the album was made. All the slits to insert photographs are at the bottom of the photo oval. Well, when the album is opened, it is really only open about 1/4 of the clock, if that makes sense, and access to that slit on the upper page is hindered by the presence of the lower page. I don’t think it was planned out very well by its maker.

So here is photo #1. A woman in a very large hat. She has a distinctly 1900’s Edwardian dress, with the epaulettes coming over the shoulder. Her blouse underneath is crisp white, probably linen or cotton, and with a high neck. She has a necklace with possibly a locket and also a brooch. Her hat is simple but lovely. The size of the hat is a hint to the size of her skirt. As skirts became bigger, hats became smaller, and vice versa. So this lady’s skirts were likely the “hobble” style skirt, which was straight and could possibly have a tie around the knee area forcing women to hobble in what was considered a ladylike pace of very small steps.

The mount itself is the rougher and thicker texture cardstock of post 1900 photographs and the photographer was not identified.

4 thoughts on “Lady in a giant hat

  1. IntenseGuy says:

    She seems to be rather solemn or even sad, and appears to be dressed in “riding (or travel) apparel” to me.

    Will we learn who she was? what her story might of been? The photographer, whoever they were, captured a haunting (but silent) image.

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  2. I like the hat/skirt formula. Only yesterday I was reading a book of Edwardian stories and there was a description of a woman in a hobble struggling to cross a stile. Now I understand the concept but not why women would accept it!

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  3. I have never understood the hobble concept..other than you would have to take tiny steps..perhaps that was more ladylike. :)

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  4. I can point out any number of fashions today that are uncomfortable to the wearer (pants hanging below the butt for men) and unattractive as well (hanging pants on men and low riders on 90% of women) and people insist on wearing them because they MUST be in style.

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