A collection of vintage photography and "orphan" photographs showcasing the past.
Friday, January 25, 2013
Fashionable Friday - 1890's Trio of Ladies from Bradford, Ohio
For this week's Fashionable Friday I am featuring this cabinet card of three women from Bradford, Ohio, who posed for photographer, W. H. F. Heath, sometime in the 1890's. I knew this right off the bat by looking the sleeves of their dresses, in fact, I would guess early 1890's. I would go so far as to guess this is a mother and two grown daughters. What drew me to this photograph in the first place was the clashing of all the patterns in the picture. Even though somewhat faded, you can see that the carpet has a busy pattern and the mother and one daughter to her right have on dresses with very busy patterns. In today's world, a good photographer would warn you ahead of time against this very thing. These dresses and their busy patterns may have been quite the rage at the time, although I have my doubts, and leave me with the difficulty of knowing where to look first. Also, note the one woman has on dark-colored gloves that match the bodice of her polka-dot dress; the older woman has on finger-mitts.
The photographer, W. H. F. Heath (William), was born in May of 1846 in Ohio to Austin and Eliza Heath, the oldest child in a large farming family. Never married, sometime between 1870 and 1880 he left the family farm in Shelby County, OH to pursue a career in photography. In the 1900, Adams, Darke County, OH census he is found living with his younger brother John, also a photographer. In the book Ohio Photographers 1839 - 1900 by Diane VanSkiver Gagel found on Google eBooks, he is listed working as a photographer 1881-82 and 1895-96. Heath evidently suffered no shortage of ego as the back of his cabinet card states, "From the Well Known Photo Gallery of W. H. F. Heath." However, note that the word, "Gallery" is misspelled as "Glalery." I'm assuming since he used them, he must have ordered and been stuck with a large order of these incorrect cards and used them anyway.