This is the final image from the Red Velvet album, and depicts a woman in early middle age. She looks a bit tired, but cleaned herself up for the sitting. It is unusual that she is quite over weight. While people certainly had the ability to become obese in the 19th century, it wasn’t as common as it is today. Just chores around the house could be a chore – cooking required wood for the stove (chopping & hauling), iron pots and skillets were quite heavy and there were no electric appliances to chop or mix. Cows required milking, gardens required tending, and going to the store was an experience in itself. If the family had a horse & buggy, someone had to take the horse from the barn and hitch it to the buggy, drive the buggy, find parking, etc. then there was walking all around town for goods. The department store was not as prevalent as it is today, so vegetables came from the produce stand, meat from the butcher, bread from the baker, shoes from the shoe maker, dresses from the seamstress, hats from the milliner, etc etc etc. Depending on how far from town the person lived, they might save up all their shopping for one day.
This photo dates from the 1860s, as evidenced by the gold line and square corners, as well as the size and shape of the image (round or oval, in the center of the card). Also, the clothing is consistent with 1860s fashions for women.
I have found a great nephew of Franklin Francis Ford, our one firmly identified photograph from the album, and I’ve asked if they would like to own the album on the chance there are other Ford photographs within. I’ll keep you all posted on how that goes.