Monday, November 26, 2012

Mystery Monday - 1886 Girl from Jefferson County, IL - Who is She?

When I saw this cabinet card come up for sale on eBay, I knew I had to have it. This beautiful young woman with the winsome look on her face had her photo taken by Mr. & Mrs. Jas. Hitchcock of Mt. Vernon, Ills, my hometown.  I am fascinated with the photography of Major James Hitchcock who lived and worked in Jefferson County, Il from about 1870 until his death in 1916. I have collected a few of his photographs, but this is by far my favorite to date.

When I received this photo in the mail I was excited to see that there was handwriting on the back and thought that the subject was identified.  Upon closer examination, sadly it appears that the words say, "got home from Bonnie (or Rome) this AM Aug 30th 1886." Such a disappointment, but at least it helps to date the photograph.

Major James Hitchcock was a well-known Mt. Vernon citizen, coming to the city in 1870 from Indiana after the Civil War.  He was born in Gibson County, Indiana in December 1843 to John William and Margaret (Brasher) Hitchcock.  In 1862 he enlisted in the 71st Indiana Infantry, Company E, and transferred to the 6th Indiana Cavalry in February 1863. In 1864 in a disastrous attempt to release prisoners held at the notorious Andersonville, GA prisoner of war camp, he and 2,000 others were captured by Confederate troops and was himself held as a P.O.W. for nine months. He was taken from Andersonville to "somewhere in Florida" along with other prisoners where they were able to make their escape along the way.

In May of 1868 in Richland County, IL he married Annie E. Gardner and by 1870 they were living in Jefferson County, IL with a one year old daughter Barbara (Ruby).  A son Ray was born in 1873 and a daughter Ethel in 1879.  For many years he and his wife operated an extremely successful photography studio at 219 South Tenth Street in Mt. Vernon, IL (Jefferson County).  He was well respected for his craft and his photos documented most of the history of Jefferson County and the surrounding areas between 1870 - 1910.  His wife died in 1912 and Hitchcock was reported to be grief-stricken.   He died four years later on 2 Jan 1916 and he and his family are buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Mt. Vernon.

Thomas A. Puckett, Mt. Vernon, A Pictorial History, 1991
The Headlight, 1898

Friday, November 23, 2012

Fashionable Friday - Elegant Edwardian Couple, 1910's

There is something about the faces of this attractive Edwardian couple that really pulls you in as they gaze off into the distance.  The photographer posed them with the husband sitting on a wicker chair and his wife seated on the arm.   Both are wearing wedding rings, his is more prominently exposed.  The woman is wearing a Gibson Girl hairstyle and her dress is exquisite.   Her dress has a high neckline, and long sleeves with large buttons down the sides of the sleeves and on the bodice.  The bodice also has an inset of what appears to be a light-colored satin and outlined with an unusual trim that continues down to her very trim waist.

This photo itself measures about 4" x 5 1/2" and is set in a cream-colored photo card which was cut down,  most likely to fit into an album.  There is a photographer's name engraved at the bottom, but I cannot make out the name.  I believe it is "De------ Studio, but that is little help as there is no city listed.  The photo has a number of black spots, but they do not diminish the elegance of the subjects.  I am not certain, but believe the photo to be dated about 1910 - 1912.

Sepia Saturday #153 - A Sisterhood of Good Friends in the 1880's & 1890's

The photo prompt for this week's Sepia Saturday which comes from the Samuel Bell Maxey Collection at the Texas State Archives, pictures two young girls with very soulful eyes. Those two may have not been sisters, but one can surmise from the photo that they were the best of friends.  This led me to think about the friends women have in their childhood whether it is a true sister, a schoolmate, neighbor, cousin, etc.    I have a couple of photos I want to share that I think exemplify "a sisterhood of friends."

Unknown Young Women 1888- 1890
The first cabinet card features a group of six young women, probably early teens, all sitting close together posed with books (could have used this photo last week).  It's possible that some of them could be related, but to me it is more likely they are friends, classmates, or a church or social group.  The photograph is so clear you can see the beautiful detail of their dresses.  The photographer was  F. M. Spencer of Troy, PA who sold his studio in Mansfield, PA in 1886 and moved to Troy in 1887 buying the studio of O. E. Dewey.  I believe this photo to be dated between 1888 - 1890.

Unknown Young Women ca 1890
This second photo shows four young girls, probably anywhere from ten to eighteen years old.  This cabinet card is most likely dated around 1890.  I think it is possible that this group is related, sisters perhaps.  The one on the right front is the oldest, but looks too young to be the mother.  The photograph is not as crisp as the first and the details are not as easy to see.  I had no luck finding any information on the photographers, Wilcox & Wilcox, Managers of C. & N.W. Photo Co.  There is no city listed and there is nothing on the back of the card to help identify either the subjects or the photographers.  I wonder if they were not another of those traveling railroad photographers?

Please visit Sepia Saturday to see more fabulous photos!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wedding Wednesday - 1920's Chicago Wedding Photo - Stunning Bride

Unidentified 1920's Chicago Couple

This beautiful wedding photo was taken most likely in the 1920's by Chicago photographer Zygmunt Rozanski.  This 5" x 7" photo is actually in a large Art Deco looking folder (see below), but I cropped it so that we can get a more close up view of this elegant couple. While the groom is quite dashing, the bride's entire ensemble is breathtaking.  I love the way the photographer has posed her sitting high on a stool so that we can see her long, flowing train.  Her headdress is absolutely stunning, I have never seen anything like it.  It is made of some kind of sheer lace and and covers her head with arches over the ears and forehead - truly unusual and unique.  Her dress appears to be mid-calf length and allows us to see her white high-heeled shoes with multiple bows.  She is holding a bridal bouquet of mixed flowers with long ribbon streamers and the groom sports a boutonniere which seems to match the sprigs in her headdress.  She  appears to be wearing a pearl necklace and I expect her wedding ring is camouflaged by the bouquet; you can clearly see her groom's ring on his left hand.

The photographer, Zygmunt Rozanski, was born 28 Sep 1889 or 1890 in Warsaw, Poland. He emigrated to the US in 1913 and in June of 1917 he registered for the draft during WWI.  He stated that he was 27 years old, lived at 1069 Milwaukee Ave, Chicago,  was single and had blue eyes and blonde hair.  His occupation was photographer and he was the proprietor of a photography business.  On 19 Jun 1918 he married Stefana Wisniewska in Cook County, IL.  In the 1920 Chicago Ward 17 census they had one child, a daughter Jadwiga,  7 months old.  I was unable to find them in any other censuses, however I did find a WWII draft registration for Zygmunt listing his wife as Stephany Rozanski and his address as 1073 Milwaukee Ave.  I also found a Social Security Death Index listing Zygmunt's death in Cook County, IL in January 1976. Interestingly, I found more than one Zygmunt Rozanski so evidently this was a popular name - I am assuming the English version is Sigmund.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tintype Tuesday - Young 1870's Woman in Striped Dress

The problem with tintypes is that out of all the vintage photographs they are the least likely to be dated and identified.  These two tintypes of a lovely young woman in a striped dress show her posed both sitting and standing.  I've gone back and forth in my head trying to reach a date and I just keep thinking they look like 1870's photos. Her bustled dress is trimmed with ball fringe, kind of like what my mother used to have on her curtains.  Her hairstyle and the neckline and bow of the dress also suggest to me the 1870 date.  I welcome any comments or suggestions to further help date this photo.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sentimental Sunday - Women with Hats - 1870's Woman Wearing Straw Hat

This lovely young woman in a white dress is wearing a straw hat decorated with some type of dark trim, most likely velvet.  She is leaning her left hand on a dark lacy parasol and is resting her other arm on a fake column.  She appears to have short hair although it is possible it is pulled back at the nape of her neck.

This cabinet card, while quite faded and peeling in places, still manages to show the beauty of this unidentified subject.  I have actually enhanced the photo you are seeing here as it is even more faded in person. Additionally, it seems the unknown photographer did not take into account her white dress against the white brick wall and the photo was over-processed.  I think he would have been more successful using a darker background.  For example, check out this prior post showing a woman in a white dress:

I still love this photo as the subject has the most serene look on her face and is very captivating.  Due to the thick gilt border I believe this photograph to have been taken in the late 1870's or very early 1880's.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sepia Saturday #152 - 1890's Victorian Book Club

As usual with the Sepia Saturday theme posts I never know which way I'm going to go until I start perusing my photo collection.  My mind was leaning one way until I came upon this cabinet card from the 1890's and I laughingly corresponded it to the book clubs of today. The photo shows a group of young people consisting of six women and three men circling around the two people in the center who are holding a book which is unfortunately unidentified.   Wouldn't it be great if we knew what book they were reading?  Of course, this photograph was probably just posed by the photographer and they were not really reading the book at all, but we can pretend otherwise.

Unfortunately none of the subjects of this photograph were identified   The photographer was Charles R. Babcock, born in Iowa in December 1864 a son of Celagh and Jane Babcock.  In 1894 he married Lottie M. Snyder the daughter of John H. Snyder. By doing an Internet search on the photographer I found a number of his photographs, but very little further information.

Click here to see more bookish photos and stories at Sepia Saturday.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fashionable Friday - Civil War Era Couple - Early 1860's CDV

Unidentified 1862-63 Couple
This Cartes de Visite (CDV) of an unidentified couple is an excellent example of early 1860's clothing.  Her military-style dress with hoop skirt and pagoda sleeves was so typical of the times and is quite lovely.  I particularly like the trim on the sleeves and at the waist as well as the buttons on the bodice. According to Wikipedia, after about 1862 morning dresses featured wide pagoda sleeves worn over undersleeves  or engageantes.  High necklines with lace or tatted collars or chemisettes completed the demure daytime look.  See illustration below show similar pagoda style sleeves.

In America, the early years of the Civil War also saw increased popularity of military-influenced styles in women's clothing.  Note her hair which is parted in the middle and drawn back at her nape into a bun.  Such styling was usually maintained by the use of hair oils and pomades.  Styled hair was often confined in decorated hairnets called snoods.  These hairnets were often edged with ruchings of ribbon that adorned the crown of the head such as the one this subject appears to be wearing.

Her husband, who appears to be a bit older than is wife, is wearing a ditto suit which came into fashion in the mid-nineteenth century and would become the dominant form of Western men's dress clothing for the next century.  The suit, consisting of jacket, vest and trousers was made of the same fabric and was characterized by the loose fitting jacket which hung straight from the shoulders. The ready-to-wear suit was a fairly informal type of clothing and became very popular after the "Beau Brummell" period of men's clothing in the early 1800's sometimes called the era of dandies.

I believe this photo to have been taken approximately 1862 - 1863.

Godey's April 1861

Fashion Enclyclopedia:  

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wedding Wednesday - Vintage Photo - 1920's "Older" Couple

I've had this photograph for a while of a more mature, newly married couple and I decided to share it for this week's Wedding Wednesday category.  I believe it to be from the 1920's, probably later in the decade. The couple appear to possibly be in their thirties and I am assuming it was a first marriage for the bride as she was wearing white.

The bride is wearing a dress with a tiered skirt and her veil is longer than the skirt.  Both the bride and groom are wearing a wedding ring, the groom more prominently than the bride - if you look closely you can see hers in the midst of her bouquet.  

Neither the couple or the photographer are identified.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sentimental Sunday - Women with Hats - 1894 Statuesque Young Woman

This photograph which is dated 1894 on the back gives us a very good look at the style of the times.  The card measures 3 1/4" x 4 1/2" and was one of the many new variety of photo cards that came into vogue in the 1890's.  Note the small saw-tooth like edges.  On the back of the photo the subject is identified as Grace "?".  I'm not really sure of the last name, it could be Loude, Fonde, etc.  As there is no photographer's mark or city it is next to impossible to identify her unless someone else can decipher the last name.

She is wearing a very stylish hat and a dress that was quite the style of the times with the very puffy upper sleeves and trim lowers.  The dress has a high neckline and her bodice is very fitted right down to her trim waist.   The hat itself is quite a masterpiece and appears to be made of satin and feathers.  It gives her already impressive stature an additional measure of height.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sepia Saturday #151 - Invention of the Telephone: Life, Work & Communication

The theme for this week's Sepia Saturday centers around a photograph  entitled "Photograph of Women Working at a Bell System Telephone Switchboard."  I knew I didn't have anything switchboard related, but it got me thinking about communication and how things have changed drastically from when our ancestors had to send letters by messengers on horse or foot to the very early invention of the telephone.  Alexander Graham Bell was credited with inventing the first practical telephone in addition to other groundbreaking inventions. He has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history.  His invention would drastically change the way that people would live, communicate and work.  I'm sure as with most new inventions not everyone could afford to have a telephone at first but eventually they became more commonplace.  

This is a photo of Alexander Graham Bell, 1892, in New York calling Chicago.  (Gilbert H. Grosvenor Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.)

Alexander Graham Bell 1892
Today with the onslaught of cellphones many people are actually moving away from having the traditional land-lines in their homes.  My husband and I have considered it, but can't quite seem to cut the cord, so to speak.  Please scroll further down to see various ads, ephemera and photos I have pertaining to this great invention.  This is a long post with a number of photos but if you stick it out until the end you'll get to see a scrapbook page I made with a picture of me when I had a job working from home a few years ago!   What a treat!!

These two photos are from the 1897 Sears Roebuck Catalog and show that the telephone was available and affordable for many.

Sears Roebuck 1897
Sears Roebuck 1897

This Valentine's postcard which was postmarked in 1910 shows a cute little boy calling his sweetheart on a desk phone.


Next are ads from various years touting the wonders and convenience of telephones.

 Ads from 1935 and 1962:

And finally a scrapbook layout I did a few years ago when I was working from home, quite frazzled, on the phone all day.   Dang -  I wish I still looked that good!

Sepia Saturday is calling you to come on over to see more great stories and photos!

Sources:  Wikipedia, Better Homes & Gardens, Sears Roebuck

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wedding Wednesday - Turn of the Century Wedding - Large Group Shot

This photograph features nineteen members an early 1900's ethnic wedding party.  The photo has ten females consisting of the bride in the middle and what I believe to be her maid of honor, possibly a sister to the far right.  On the left of the photo is a young girl that was possibly a flower girl.  There are ten males in the photo, the groom in the middle next to the bride and at the bride's right, most likely the best man or perhaps even the bride's father.  I would guess that the woman sitting between the groom and the maid of honor with the white blouse and dark skirt could be the bride's mother.  Most of the women are wearing the Gibson Girl hairstyle and the fashions that were prevalent at the time.  The bride looks extremely young to me as does the groom.  The bride's bodice is very lacy and lovely, the sleeves of her gown, although difficult to see, seem to be tighter at the elbow and have a large pouf at the wrist.  Her veil appears quite simple with just a few flowers at the top of the headdress and I believe she is wearing gloves so cannot tell if she is wearing a ring.  Her groom however is wearing a ring on his right hand.

It is a very interesting photo and there is is no identification of the subjects or the photographer.  However, on the back are two words written in some foreign language, perhaps someone can translate - see below:

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sepia Saturday - 1880's Dashing Young Men with Bowler Hats

The theme for this weeks Sepia Saturday is "Men" and the picture prompt used shows a group of men most  wearing hats. Every Sunday (or almost every Sunday) I publish a post called "Women with Hats" so I had to laugh to myself when I decided to use this tintype of eight stylish young men posing with their bowler hats. Maybe I should start a new category called "Men with Hats?"  Nah.  

This group of fine looking young men most likely posed for this picture with an unknown photographer in the latter half of the 1880's.  The four in the front row and one in the back left are holding their hats, I am assuming that the other three are holding their hats behind their backs. I could not date the photo using just the bowler hats as a clue as they came into fashion when the hat was created in 1849 in England for Edward Coke, a soldier and politician who was the younger brother of the 2nd Earl of Leicester.  The hat was popular with the working class during the Victorian era and became the most popular hat in the American West even over the cowboy hat.   What really helped me to narrow down the date of this photo are the tie pins that several of the gentlemen are wearing. In the 1880's bow ties lost favor to the modern tie and a small tie pin stuck in the middle of the knot was the norm.

Hold on to your hat and hop over to Sepia Saturday for more great photos and stories!

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