Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

Here we have a nice family portrait with a wiggly baby sitting on Mother’s lap and Father standing. This CdV is from the 1860s, though I am having some difficulty giving this a more firm year. First the card itself. The corners are square, indicating pre-1870. There wasn’t a photographer’s mark on the back, indicating either not much business or this could be early in the CdV period. The backdrop is simple, just a curtain and a chair provided, suggesting the mid 1860s.

Next, the clothing. The baby’s dress is very typical for children of the era and into the 1880s, so that is no help. The Mother’s clothing and hair are definitely 1860s. I venture to guess by the shoulder seams of her dress that this might be later in the decade because they are not as far dropped off the shoulder as some earlier era dresses were. Her hairstyle is also typical 1860s. Father’s clothing consists of a frock coat, brocaded vest, starched shirt and wide neck tie atop black slacks and shoes. He seems rather typical of a city dweller in the 1860s to me. His beard is the “Lincoln style” of whiskers only.

I would love to have seen them dressed in person. I imagine the colors of the clothing were lovely, particularly the woman’s dress, which I see in indigo and the man’s vest, which I see in black and indigo brocade.

3 thoughts on “Family Portrait

  1. Very different coat and the cut of the vest is different from anything I have seen before. Interesting photo..I wonder if she was a taller woman..since she is seated. Perhaps she was pregnant…I would have loved to see them in person also:)


  2. I think the man’s tie is particular to a limited time period. Early 1860’s maybe and a carryover from 1850’s styles. More like the men’s ties of early ambrotypes. I also see the indigo but green check for the child and dark burgundy vest. It would be fun to colorize it in Photoshop.


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      I am glad you pointed that out, because I too was thinking it an unusual tie for the 1860s and I agree it looks 1850s. Sometimes I think it would be fun to print these out as coloring book style images and see what others come up with. :-)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: