Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

Here we have another tintype that Ray Jackson sent me. The sleeve was intact, and written on the back was Stella Marshall. By the dress I will date this to the 1880s, but that is about as firm as I can get for you because I can’t see the clothing very well. The image has tinted cheeks, which the photographer would have done in his studio right at the time of the sitting. I learned quite a bit about tintypes recently. Many tintypes were made by itinerant or traveling photographers because the iron plates (not actually tin) would not break the way glass plates would. The repeating camera, or multiplying camera, was invented in 1862 or so, and made multiple images at the same time. The photographer then cut the images apart with tin snips, which probably gave rise to the misnomer “tin type.” While the studio tin type lost its cachet sometime in the 1880s-1890s, they were still available at amusement parks and venues such as Coney Island and Niagra Falls. The subjects were frequently posed with props that signified where the photo was made – a barrel for Niagra Falls, a strong man cutout for Coney Island, etc. They were cheap souvenirs for an American public that was enjoying the latest in leisure activities. Tin types remained available for another thirty years or so.

Here’s a little rhyme my Gram taught me that references the tin type. This was popular in the 1910s when she was a teen, so they were still in common use at that time. Switch it around if you want to know the real words. :-)

Once a big molicepan saw a bittle lum,

sitting on a sturb cone chewing gubber rum.

Please, said the molicepan, won’t you simme gum?

Tixie on your nin type, said the bittle lum!

3 thoughts on “Stella Marshall

  1. IntenseGuy says:

    *giggles* Cute song.

    The woman in the photo looks like a young girl. No way of telling “who were they”.


  2. I agree cute song! :0
    This young lady certainly had jewelry..two rings, earrings, a brooch, a necklace and possibly a bracelet on her right arm..and a beautiful collar! :)


  3. Cathi says:

    I learned this in the 1940s from my Mom as:

    There was a big molicepan
    and a bittle lum
    Stitting on a surbcone
    Chewing gubber rum.
    ‘Hi,’ said the molicepan
    Won’t you simme gum?’
    Tinny on your nintype
    said the bittle lum.

    They’re similar. It would be fun to know who wrote it.


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