This young woman from Bainbridge, NY is leaning on an 1870's prop chair, but I believe this Cabinet Card to be dated probably around 1883 give or take a year. She is wearing a bustled dress with fitted bodice made out of a gingham fabric of some sort, but look at all the lovely soutache trim down the front of the bodice, the sides of the skirt and around her neck and cuffs. The dress is also adorned with lace at the cuffs and on the bodice. The image below is from the 1883 Peterson's Magazine May edition, it is one of the two-page hand-colored steel fashion plates that were in each monthly edition. While these dresses are in no way the same dress our subject is wearing you can see some similarities in the first dress on the left in the high cut of the neckline, in the checkered gingham material of the fourth dress as well the cut of the bottom of the overcoat which tapers around the hips to pointed corners. (Forgive me if I am not using correct terminology - I am not a seamstress or fashionista).
|May 1883 Peterson's Magazine "The Sea-Shore"|
Finally concerning our subject, her hairstyle was very common in the early to mid- 1880's with the curly fringed bangs and the length of her hair braided up on top of her hair. I found this similar illustration of in the same 1883 Peterson's Magazine. This style, either with short hair or hair in a bun and off the neck and ears, allowed the woman to wear the high necklines that were in style.
|1883 Hairstyle Peterson's Magazine|
The photographer was most likely Sheldon S. Wheeler of Otsego, New York which was a small town near Bainbridge. He was born in January 1854, the son of John H. and Lovina Wheeler of Otsego. His father's occupation was gunsmith. In the 1880 Otsego Federal census Sheldon age 26 was living with his wife Kate age 23 and he listed his occupation as photographer. They were married in 1877 according to the 1900 Berkshire, MA census and divorced before 1910. Before 1915 he remarried Belle Strohbeen the mother of three teenage children.