Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

Oh hey there! I bet you thought I had forgotten you, but I just had put this site on the

back burner for a while. It’s the consequence of having too many websites and hobbies, I suppose. I did scan a ton of photos the other day, so I hope to start posting again with regularity. The current batch of photos come from an eBay purchase some years ago. I don’t recall now what grabbed me about the listing, and unfortunately most of the photos lack identification. They span the gamut from cabinet cards to snapshots, about 80 years worth of photography of one family. Sad that such a treasure ended up on eBay.

Today let’s look at this photo of two women. The image is cabinet card sized, but the clothing is 20th century. It could be right around the time when photographers were switching over from the “old fashioned” cabinet card format to the “new” more artistic formats seen in the 20th century. Both women are nicely dressed, and I particularly like the necktie the standing woman is wearing. Both are wearing shirtwaists and skirts rather than a one-piece dress. The shirtwaist/skirt combo became popular at the end of the 19th century and firmly established as the choice of middle class women in the 1910s. You have likely heard of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in 1911. Triangle was just one of 450 garment manufacturers in Manhattan, many of these factories making shirtwaists. While one-piece dresses continued to be available, working women and housewives enjoyed the versatility of a simple blouse that could be laundered simply. Skirts continued to be made from wool and wool blends which could not be washed as easily.

The photographer here is Freter Bros, in Bridgeport, O. The O stands for Ohio. I found a wonderful newspaper article (linked below) with some information about the studio. They opened as early as 1906, and were in operation continuously until the 1950s when the studio burned to the ground. The studio became famous for its photographs of “everyday people doing everyday things” including mine workers and steel mill workers. They photographed in and round the Ohio Valley, including the area where my uncle had been a minister and my cousins grew up. Such a small world!

A Pictorial Peek Into The Past, M. Hughes, The Times Leader, September 14, 2013

5 thoughts on “Pair of Women

  1. windydayze says:

    Nice to see you again!


  2. IntenseGuy says:

    Welcome back!!


  3. Michele Barale says:

    I think they might be sisters: the basic shapes of nose and mouth look similar. But perhaps they were friends.
    Thanks—it’s a great picture.


  4. Amanda Walton says:

    I have an old photo as well from the same freter Bros, Bridgeport there are names on the back . How do I reach out. As well


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