Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

Mounted Tin Types 2 W

Is her dress coming open here?

A nice tintype of an older lady, maybe in her 50s? I have heard a lot of talk lately about tintypes adding years to a person’s face, so unless I see actual age signs, I’m a bit hesitant to guess. However, this lady does have the drooping eyelids and softly falling jowls of middle age.

From what I can see of her dress, it is a gathered front bodice with dropped shoulder seams, putting the dress in the 1860s. Unless my eyes are deceiving me, it looks like the front opening of the dress has popped open a smidge, showing a glimpse of the white undergarments or lining.

I read a little bit about dating tintypes in paper sleeves, and while I am confident this image is from the 1860s, I’m not certain as to what part. There was a style of paper sleeve called a cartouche that was popular until about 1865. The cartouche was characterized by an oval opening and decorative motifs around the opening. What makes me uncertain about this one is that the motifs are in the corners of the card. I’m not well versed enough in 1860s cartouche sleeves to know if that is exactly what this is. But, I’m leaning toward the second half of the 60s, or even the very end of the 60s. The card itself is CDV sized to fit with the popular styles of the time.

The style of motifs correspond with some other images I found in the same lot, so I am going to assume they were made by the same photographer, which was T. M. Saurman in Morristown, PA. My research into Saurman confuses me further on dating this particular image. He was found in the 1870 census to be only 23 years old. Could he have been in business in 1865 at only 18 years old? I find that unlikely. So this is probably not a cartouche in the style that was popular until about 1865, but an updated version for the use of photographic artists who made tintypes well until the 1900s. More on T. M. Saurman in my next post! Don’t go away.


7 thoughts on “Softly falling jowls and a wardrobe malfunction

  1. Jason Koerner says:

    I have an old antique photo with four unidentified male subjects. I was hoping you might be able to tell me something about the photo possibly?


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      Hi Jason – contact me via the contact form and we can discuss your photo.


  2. Vickie says:

    I am so happy I have found you !
    I am a collector of Victorian and Civil War tintypes, ambrotypes, CDV and cabinet cards. I have about 30 of them framed in my bedroom, some on the walls, and all the overflow in photo albums. I am happy to be a subscriber !


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      Glad to have you here and also to find a kindred spirit!


  3. Interesting Tintype, yes I think it probably is her slip or a handkerchief:)


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      I was thinking she could have tucked a handkerchief into her bodice, but why would she let it show in the photo? Maybe just a mistake.


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