Friday, February 22, 2013

Fashionable Friday - 1860s New York City Woman

This lovely young woman had her photograph taken by renowned photographer Fernando Dessaur in the  early to mid 1860's.  She is wearing the very common 1860's hooped skirt and very tight cinched waist.  I particularly like the button detail on her upper sleeves.  She also has the typical hairstyle of the period; parted in the middle and pulled back to the nape and secured in a snood.  Click here to see a similar dress of the era along with a Petersen's Magazine plate.

Fernando Dessaur had a photography studio at 145 Eighth  Avenue in New York City from 1850 to 1870 according to the Landmarks Preservation Commission of Manhattan.  I don't believe the earlier date is correct as his birth date is reported to be around 1840 - 1842 on  He was born in Amsterdam, Holland to Morris and Cecilia Dessaur.   According to census records the family immigrated to the US around 1860. 

Trow's NYC Directory 1872, Google eBooks

About 1870 Dessaur relocated his business to 551 Eighth Avenue in New York.  In the 1900 census of Manhattan, New York he was married to Delia with one daughter Fern aged 13.    However, according to the New York Times he also had a son named Fernando who was born about 1886 who created a bit of a scandal in 1909 when he kidnapped his daughter from his estranged wife Delia May Klock Dessaur.


  1. Yay - I guessed one right. Before I scrolled past the photo, I thought the hair, skirt, and sloped shoulder seam cried 1860s. You're right: the button detail and pleating of the sleeve is really eye-catching. I wouldn't mind having something like that myself - a blouse or sweater would be fun.

  2. Her sleeves are different..very pretty..and she wears the snood..very visible. I understand there is some controversy about snoods and if women ever wore them:)

  3. You never know where an old photograph is going to take you.

  4. A beautiful example of the period. What is the chain at her waist? Keys or a watch?

  5. I just found my great great grandfather's picture was taken by Fernando Dessaur at 551 Eighth Avenue studio.


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