Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sepia Saturday #159 - Proud Victorian Papa & Children at the Seashore

The Sepia Saturday theme for this week refers to bathing costumes and seaside beaches.   Now living in sunny South Florida for over forty years one would think I would have photo albums full of pictures of the family frolicking at the beach.  Well sure, I do have a number of pictures of us in past years in bathing suits enjoying the warm tropical beaches of Florida, but let me assure you that you will not be seeing any photographs of me in a bathing suit in this forum or anywhere else!

However, I did do a post some time ago about Victorian bathing costumes that I feel is perfect for this theme and I am going to re-post part of it and add to it as well. Although you can't really see the beach in the tintypes below, you can get the feel for the excitement of the day as the proud father poses  with his children for the photographer before their day at the seaside.  These photographs were taken most likely taken in mid-1880's to about 1890.

Both of these tintypes were purchased in the same group of photos.  As I mentioned in my previous post I find it interesting that the man is wearing a suit and the kids are all wearing bathing costumes.  However in the second photo he is wearing his beach attire.  Additionally in the first photo he is posing with five children, in the second with three. I have to assume all these children are his, but why the difference between the two?

If you look closely you will notice that the boy on the bottom right is the same boy on the bottom right in the second photo and he is wearing two different costumes. I am assuming from this that these photos were taken on different days. Also, I believe at least that the oldest girl is the same in both pictures.  

Here I have found some examples of children's bathing costumes in my copy of the 1884 Peterson's Magazine, July and August editions:

Young Lady's costume Aug1884

Boy's costume July 1884
Young boy's costume Aug 1884

And finally, I will leave you with this photograph of a proud father, my own husband Jim, at a local beach with our three year-old son David in 1977.  Remarkably I remember the day quite well and they were having a lot of fun playing in the sand!

Click here to go to Sepia Saturday for more photos and stories about the warm sun, tropical beaches and bathing suits.


  1. Love that little smile with his tongue sticking out! Those are interesting photos of the man and his children and leave a few questions. The first picture may be a mirror image - some of the children are wearing suits with W S embroidered (?) on them.

    1. Tintypes are always mirror images - that's the way they are made, as direct collodion positives on a black lacquered thin iron plate.

  2. Good thing Jim is wearing that life preserver! HA

  3. Great tintypes, thanks for sharing them. I almost went with a studi beach shot as well, as it seems to have been a popular theme, even occasionally at studios far from the seaside.

  4. Such a rich round up of images and information. It's posts like this that make Sepia Saturday so interesting.

  5. Teresa, even though I haven't been a reader at your blog for long, I love what you are doing with your photos and your research here. You have such a sense of what works with the graphics and layout, as well as accompanying narrative, to complete such a well-thought-out package for each post.

    Because of that, I wanted to nominate you for the "Liebster Blog Award."

    I've explained more about the award here.

    Yours is a blog which definitely needs to be on every family history researcher's radar!

  6. The tintypes are terrific, but are they dressed for sea or lake? With tintypes there are so few clues only questions. And in 100 years people may marvel at your snapshot too.

  7. An interesting post about this family who enjoy swimming. Flannel doesn't sound very practical material fora bathing suit. That's a charming picture of your husband and little boy too.

  8. T am inclined to say that the first picture has been taken in a studio and the second one maybe on a boulevard near a beach?
    PS Do I notice a certain degree of self imposed censorship in the first paragraph of this post? :)

  9. I think both the first and the second are studio shots. The picture of your husband and son there can be no doubt about. I remember 'suffering' like that too.

  10. Oh I love this post and the discussion in comments! Have an old image of GGF in a volunteer fireman's uniform and the letters on the tunic were backwards... am not thinking it's quite possibly a copy print of a tintype:) Would not have known without Brett's comment. So thanks to everyone!


  11. Although the costumes are cute, I can't imagine wearing them in warm weather or for any serious bathing, let alone swimming.

  12. Great photos and advertisements. So very interesting!

    The kids with their folded arms in the first photo are amusing. Perhaps they are not very excited to be having their photo taken.


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