Photo Mystery: A Stumped Sleuth

chubachus

First Sergeant
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Virginia
#1
Article: https://www.mdhs.org/underbelly/2018/08/16/photo-mystery-a-stumped-sleuth/

Maryland Historical Society dates this ambrotype to the 1870s/1880s but I am getting late 1850s/1860s vibes from it. Is the later date based on the woman's dress? What date does everyone think it is from? The young man riding a horse on the right that looks like he is wearing a wheel hat which was popular during the 1840s/1850s.
 

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JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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#2
Yes, and I know I'm not an expert but those dresses just are not 1870. Hoops took a nose dive post war and were beginning to go out by 1865. It didn't take long because there'd been a continual out cry over them- dangerous, intrusive and expensive. That's a wealthy family- women would be following fashion awfully closely. There are other things too like sleeves and bodices- it's a fortunate fashion circumstance when dating these that fashion took a pretty dramatic turn.

dress from photo.jpg

That shawl/ribboned bonnet combo was worn awfully early- I'm short on time today but will dig up around a gazillion Godey images from the war years and quite a few photos. I'm not convinced this isn't a little pre-war.
 

chubachus

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#3
They also often put their slaves into photos of their houses in the South from the 1840s until the start of the Civil War. Cannot tell much about the African American person pulling the toy wagon, but she might be a young woman wearing a dress.
 
Joined
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#4
I am getting a pre war vibe from this picture. The people look too healthy and well fed. The house kept well. Even the black child looks clean and cared for unlike post war days. plus, the little black girl seems to be pulling a baby carriage behind her. Showed it to my wife who used to reenact and she thinks it is during the war. There is a slight difference in length between the girl in foregrorund and the girls on the steps. Plus, It believe that the girl in the foreground might be a servant too. Her dress isn't as stylish as the ones sitting in the steps. Our guess...1863 to 1866
 

Seduzal

Brigadier General
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#5
Article: https://www.mdhs.org/underbelly/2018/08/16/photo-mystery-a-stumped-sleuth/

Maryland Historical Society dates this ambrotype to the 1870s/1880s but I am getting late 1850s/1860s vibes from it. Is the later date based on the woman's dress? What date does everyone think it is from? The young man riding a horse on the right that looks like he is wearing a wheel hat which was popular during the 1840s/1850s.

I found a photo of this house date in the 1840/50s. But due to copyright infringement I am unable to post it. Sorry:nah disagree:
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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#8
Plus, It believe that the girl in the foreground might be a servant too.

If you're speaking of the woman on the stairs at the bottom, don't let her hear you don't think she's stylish! Pretty sure that's Mom, dressed in ' the latest ' and I'm guessing parked there as a means to keep the kids where they were. Ever pose that many kids and get a good shot? Bet it took both parents. Also ( just an interesting ' clew ' since we're being Sherlock and Holmes and Watson ), a servant probably wouldn't have dared those hoops. I say ' probably ' because I ran into a blurb by a frustrated man who forbid them on servants after falling over the crinoline worn by a maid scrubbing the floor- means some did.
 
Joined
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#10
If indeed the photo is an ambrotype you can date it with a degree of certainty to sometime between 1854 and 1865. By the late 1850s, the ambrotype was overtaking the daguerreotype in popularity. By the mid-1860s, the ambrotype itself was being replaced by the tintype, a similar image on a sturdy black-lacquered thin iron sheet, as well as by photographic albumen prints made from glass plate collodion negatives. By 1870 the ambrotype process was no longer in use by photographers. It is sorta like giving up the Kodak box camera after the Instamatic came along...
 



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