Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

I suspect this might be another transition dress – a dress from the 1860s that has been remade to suit the changing skirt styles of the 1870s. The volumes of fabric used on 1860s and earlier skirts made these prime candidates for remaking as skirt fashions changed. There was plenty of extra fabric to work with. In the early 1870s, I suspect women would have simply reused the existing bodice. This bodice has the wide round look that was popular in the ’60s. There is now an apron and a drape you can just see in the back. Remaking a dress was an economical use of existing clothing to create a new wardrobe.

This lady sat for her portrait at H. G. Pearce, Photographer, Providence.

This older fellow is identified as Jacob Black. Mr Black looks a bit like a pragmatist to me. He is accepting of this photograph sitting, perhaps because Mrs Black wants it. He sat for his image at W. H. Whitehead’s Parlor Gallery in Pittsburgh, PA.

We don’t much send New Year greetings anymore. I suspect the proximity of Christmas to New Year’s dampens the desire to address cards and write letters. In our modern society, sending Christmas cards is almost a rarity anymore. Younger generations find them wasteful, Gen Xers want to send them but instead deal with the guilt of not sending them, and Baby Boomers send the most tacky, glittery cards they can find. :-)

But, if you are not Christian or don’t celebrate Christmas, there is no reason you must refrain from sending a winter greeting to friends and family. Here’s a nice wish for luck from Anna Kennedy sent to Will Morley Jr of Chicago. She wrote:

With love and best wishes for a thrice happy New Year to yourself and Mrs Morley, I am your sincere friend.

What a heartfelt and sentimental greeting!

This one is a folded card, but it’s blank inside.

I hope you enjoyed the series of Christmas cards and these New Year’s greetings. I fell off a bit at the end of Christmas, so will have to save those treasures for next year!

I don’t know quite how to describe the image on this card – is that a brazier? a smoker? an incense burner? Whatever it is, it wafts smoke around several large poinsettia blooms. The greeting reads

I am hoping Christmas pleasures

Will wait to say good bye

Until another Christmas

Has brought a fresh supply

The greeting was signed

To Faith from Aunt Eur.

Here’s a pretty image of a young woman with her hair pulled tightly back into a bun, but she managed to keep some of the fashionable frisée curls at her hairline. She has a ruffled collar under her dress and some kind of adornment that I can’t quite make out.

The photo was made at Chas. A. Saylor’s City Gallery in Reading, PA. There are a few other images made by Saylor on the site – click the category Chas. A. Saylor under Photographers to see them all.

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