Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past



Up for perusal today are two photos possibly of the same woman. Photo #1 has a slightly different hairstyle than photo #2, so it’s hard for me to tell if they are the same or different. Perhaps the first pose was not to their liking and they went back for a second sitting? The lace shawl/collar piece seems to be the same in both photos.


The W. Notman studio in Boston was part of a larger photographic interest owned by William Notman in partnership with Thomas Campbell, and possibly managed by John Notman. It’s a little unclear to me simply because this set of cards carry the address attributed to John Notman and there’s a whole story about William Notman not trusting his son to run the business. In Boston, Notman was renowned for photos of students at Harvard, and this also took place in other school towns apparently. William Notman was well established in Canada, and photographed many important and famous subjects, including Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill, landmarks such as the Victoria Bridge in Montreal, and was well known for his composite shots of large groups. There is a LOT of information out there on this photographer, so I’m not going to rehash it all. See the links below to a variety of resources. The family business continued into the 20th century, and all records, negatives, plates, and index books were sold to McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

A bit on Boston photography by Notman – via Broadway Photographs

Notman Photographic Society website

William Notman wikipedia page

William Notman, portrait of visionary photographer at McCord Museum – via Montreal Gazette

One thought on “Lacy Shawl

  1. My guess would be that they’re sisters or cousins rather than the same woman. Their noses look slightly different, although their mouths do look alike. Very helpful links, thanks!


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