Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past


For today’s photo we have a CdV from the mid 1860s. This is the first time I have seen a photo of an 1860s dress with a bodice of a different fabric than the skirt. While it was known to have been done, it’s difficult to prove. For those of us who enjoy the 1860s and Civil War reenactment, this can help refute the “stitch counters” who insist it just wasn’t done.

The back of the CdV was written by an unknown person to someone named Lois (?). I don’t think the name Lori was in use in the late 1800s but I could be wrong. The way I read the back is “Lois this your mother Pietra I thought you like to have it.” However, I am guessing at Pietra as the name because my brain wants to see Pietrse, which makes no sense to me. Whatever her name, she was fairly young in this photo, lending credence to the “two part dress” argument. Her dress might have been two combined parts from old dresses, or a more fashion forward effort similar to the Garibaldi dresses (a skirt, white blouse and bolero style jacket) that were popular with young women.

UPDATE: Iggy suggested the word is PICTURE not Pietra, and I am inclined to agree, making it “Lois this your mother picture I thought like to have it.” Thanks Iggy & Winston!

9 thoughts on “Your mother Pietra

  1. IntenseGuy says:

    After looking at those “names” and the handwriting – I think this says, literally, “Luie, this (is) your mother picture(,) I thought you (would) like to have it.”

    To me it sounds like someone trying to deal with writing English as a second language.


  2. Winston says:

    I think the name “Pietra” looks more like the word “Picture” also.


  3. Winston says:

    I would have taken the costume to be a blouse with skirt. But the image is too small for me to really see detail at the waistline.

    I have been enjoying this blog for months. I like studying the past via vintage photos as well. I hope you can continue this blog for a long time to come!


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      Winston, so glad you are enjoying and commenting! I have LOTS of source material, don’t worry. :-)


  4. Mrs Marvel says:

    I think you are right and it says “picture” and not Pietra. It makes a lot more sense too!


  5. I thought it was picture too. Very interesting dress..love the patterned skirt:)


  6. me again..she looks very young. How about Lvie. ( I have a great niece named Olivia and we call her Livvie.. Lvie would be sounded out how it is spelled if you spoke a foreign language and were learning to write English. :)


  7. Starlina says:

    I wonder if a woman wrote this…its pretty illiterate even for a man during this era :) i think I’m going to use her photo for my primary source of women for this era, she is very pretty


  8. Jethro says:



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