Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Workday Wednesday - Tea Time Anyone? Housemaid/Servant to the Uppercrust?

This cabinet card which is a bit scratched up depicts a house maid or servant holding a tray with dishes as if ready to serve her employer.  She is wearing what would seem to be a typical house servant/maid uniform with apron.  There is nothing to identify the young woman and I am not entirely certain of the date.  The photographer is E. L. Sayers of New Bethlehem, Rimersburg and Dayton, PA.  I found a number of his photographs on Google, but no information on the man himself, nor was I able to find anything about him on my old standby,  

In trying to date this photograph, I narrowed it down to the 1890's, most likely from the latter half of the decade.  This was using several factors in dating cabinet cards including that in the mid-1890's some cards were embossed around the edges in gold with a thin line. It is a little harder to date the card using the woman's clothing as the servant's clothing would not necessarily reflect the fashions of the time, they would be more utilitarian.  I could be wrong, however about this timeline and welcome any input.


  1. A nice find!! If I were in your shoes, I wouldn't know where to start. I trust you will come up with answers eventually.

  2. I like this photo, I guess the background is fake so why would she pose like that. She is proud to be a waitress and she wants to show it to her family?

  3. I think it's interesting that someone WANTED a photo of a maid at work. This seems almost like an action shot.

  4. I had considered that it might be a photo of an actress, but I have seen other photos of servants posing in their work attire.


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