Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sentimental Sunday - Women with Hats - Early 1890's New Mexico Woman

This cabinet card features a beautiful young woman in black standing next to an elaborate needlepoint frame.  She is wearing a black dress with a very fitted bodice, the sleeves are covered with lace and she is wearing hand mitts.  Her hat is quite pretty, it tilts to one side and appears to be made of lace and a vine like trim.  On the table to her right there is an object that may be her reticule (drawstring handbag or purse).  There is no identification of the subject.

I had a little trouble dating this photo.  At first I thought 1880's but she does not appear to have a bustle.  The uplift to the top of her sleeves says very early 1890's.  The photographer is The Crispell Art Parlors of E. Las Vegas, N.M.  I did find a T. Crispell in the 1885 New Mexico, Territorial District census for Las Vegas, San Miguel County.  He was a photographer, 42 years old, born in New York,  with a wife Millie? also a photographer age 35 and born in New York, one daughter Louise C, age 7 born  in New York as well.  They seemed to disappear from all records after that.  I found a number of websites with Crispell's photos but no information on the man himself.  There is one photo at the New Mexico History Museum of Louisa Carlyle Crispell playing the piano at home circa 1890's.  

According to, around 1890 photographers began placing a monogram of their initials in the center of their studio name and address on the imprint block.  If you look closely at the bottom of the card in the center above "Art Parlors" there is a monogram with the letters TC.  This became almost standard from 1890 to around 1894.  Also about 1890 foil stamped imprints with gold overlay were introduced.  These remained popular until about 1895. Therefore with these two bits of information I will date this cabinet card between 1890 and 1894.


  1. I enjoyed your collection of vintage photos that went with the slideshow. Donna

    1. Thanks, Donna, I hope you will stop back by often!


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