Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sentimental Sunday - Women with Hats - Girl from Spencer, Mass

This lovely young lady with dark, curly hair is wearing a beautiful lacy dress and what appears to be a matching lace hat.  She also is wearing a choker necklace with pendant.  She has a very serene and contemplative expression on her face. There is nothing on either side of this cabinet card to identify her, but the photographer is E. L. Jaynes of Spencer, Mass. who had a very long and illustrious career in Spencer.   According to the back of the card, Jayne's studio was located at Comins & Ames's block, Main Street in Spencer. Dating this card has been difficult for me; E. L. practiced in Spencer between 1873 and 1920 and this card I at first believed  to have been done around 1885.  However, I have never seen a woman wearing such short sleeves in that time period.  I now believe this to be between the years 1895- 1900, tomorrow I will share why I think this to be true.  If anyone knows something that would point to a more definite date I would gladly appreciate the information.

E. L. Jaynes was Edward Lyman Jaynes born in Massachusetts in October 1842 to Lyman James (1814 - 1902) and Harriet Towne Janes (1821 - 1895).  It appears at some point E. L. changed the spelling of his last name adding the "y".  On 9 Aug 1862 at Sturbridge, MA he enlisted as a Private in the Civil War for the State of Massachusetts, listing his occupation as farmer.  He mustered out on 14 Oct 1862.  

According to the book, "Leading Businessmen of Spencer, Brookfield and Vicinity" published in 1889 by Mercantile Publishing he set up his photography business in Spencer sometime around 1873.  Also per the  book he was very succcessful at his profession and his work "decidedly superior to two-thirds of the work turned out in City Studios."  His studio was burned out in 1887 and he relocated to his then location on Comins & Ames - Main Street.  

In 1879 Edward married Inez McNeil, most likely in Spencer.  According to the 1900 Spencer, Worcester, MA census she was the mother of four children, three living, Florence I. aged 18, Emily M. aged 7 and Irene E. aged 2. With the large age gap between Florence and Emily most likely the fourth child was born and died between the two.  I found Edward and Inez in every census in Spencer up to 1930 at which time he was 88 years old.   He practiced his art until at least 1920 when he listed his occupation as photographer in the 1920 census.  His death is reported on  in 1937 at age 95 in Worcester County, MA, but I could not find any documentation to back this up.  Regardless he lived a long and productive life.


  1. Another fascinating girl of mystery. Her dress looks like a theatrical costume to me, maybe Little Bo Beep? Her bare arms would be unusual for almost any woman's photo other than an actress even into the early 1920's. I think you might be able to date the back design. It looks like a standard design. Do you know Robert Vaughan's website? Mostly British but lots of details that crossed the Atlantic.

  2. I considered the actress thing - Bo Peep is an interesting concept. I haven't given up, will keep looking. I had not heard of Robert Vaughan, snuck a look at work today and plan to go back when I have more time!

  3. I have lived in Spencer my entire life (52 years) and find the pictures very interesting.


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