Thursday, 6 June 2013

Victorian Photo Album #1 Part 2

Here are the last 18 photos from the Victorian Photo Album that I posted a few weeks ago. I had planned to have my Squares, Rectangles & Triangles project finished by now, but it's late because I'm having trouble with the hem. Since I'm behind on my "approximately once a week" posting schedule, I'm posting the other half of this album.

Behold the most epic moustache in the history of epic moustaches:

Uncle Ezra Briggs
Isn't it fantastic? It's like a whale tail on his upper lip.
It must have required an incredible amount of maintenance, something like to Mr. Poppleton's I imagine.
Aunt Clara Briggs
Her hair is so nice and crimpy. I've never been able to achieve that look because I'm afraid of burning my scalp with the stovetop iron.
Will Flemming
I wonder what that thing on his head is, perhaps some sort of giant furry military cap?
Elsie Flemming
 There's that fringe monster chair again, Elsie looks very concerned.
Ethan McBride
A respectable moustache, but not all that impressive after page 19. He does have more hair than Ezra Though. I also see a fingerprint in the bottom right corner.
Uncle Ephram Briggs
 This one has a fingerprint too, and it's way too small for the frame it's in. I think it was in an oval frame at one time, you can see the fade marks.
His watch chain has me confused, it's all weird and stringy. [Update: I am now more convinced than I was before that it's braided leather, having recalled the mention of a leather strap used as a watch chain in a Christmas story that that I read in middle school. Papa thinks it's leather also.]. His shirt too, gingham with a white collar? It also looks like there is something white and fluffy in his pocket.
Aunt Adaline (Adeline?) Briggs
I like the lines on her bodice, they would exaggerate the hourglass shape of her torso if we could see the entire dress. I saw a picture of Lily Langtry in something similar, which looked very elegant. It's in this book, I can't find the image anywhere on the internet. It's a shame about the smudge on her face. That lace thing is quite charming for something that looks so much like a doily.
A group portrait, I'm not sure exactly who is who, these names are extra scrawly.
 Oooh, a group portrait! I wonder what the occasion was. I very much like the outfits of the two girls on the right in the front row.
I will attempt to read the names, but they are not easy to make out. Starting from the top right; Barbara(I'm not at all sure about this one since whoever wrote it made a mistake and wrote over it rather than erase it.) Thomas, Will Lindsay, Clara Briggs, This one looks like Jrid and that can't be right(Could it be Jared with the A accidentally left out?) but the last name is definitely Briggs, Mary Thomas, Angie Briggs.

I think I got the last names right, since Briggs and Lindsay have appeared in the album before and there were two named Thomas, but the first names are nearly illegible. Are there any handwriting experts reading this?
Mrs Don Plummer
 She's gorgeous, and she has optical illusion lines on her bodice too. Her hair looks very shiny, it's probably very greasy.
Sena McBride
 A worm has eaten through this page, there are 2 holes near the corner.
Aunt Lydia McBride
That's rather a lot of fringe, isn't it? Yes. Too much fringe.

Very nice choker and earrings though.
Aunt Lydia & Judson B.
Buttons! Huge buttons! I like these buttons. This is the 5th Lydia to appear in this album.
Grandpa Judson Briggs
 This looks like the same Judson from the previous photo. My Grandfather's father was named Judson, I seem to remember hearing that he married twice and that my Grandfather came from his second family, this might be him with his first family. [Update: Nope, I misremembered, see corrections by my father in the comments thread below.]
I've got a picture of him when my Grandfather was young and he looks quite a bit older(and he's lost all his lovely, wavy hair), but it might be the same guy.
Mrs E Plummer Aunt Han?
There's a bit more name written here than usual. Maybe Aunt Han was a nickname or something. Does anybody know what those two circles on the bow-tie are?
Jack McBride
 Is that a watch, or a watch chain decoration? I think it must be a decoration, for I have never seen a pocket watch as small as that.
No name for this one. There's a small scribble on the upper right, but I'm not sure what it is.
 A nice enough looking fellow, but not much of a moustache.
Most of the men's jackets in this album have very small lapels, or very large lapels. I like these wide lapels better.
Uncle John McBride
 He's quite handsome, and his outfit is very interesting. A gingham jacket, a striped waistcoat, and a not-white shirt that has white cord details on it. I have never seen a 19th century man with a shirt like that.
G.W. White & Wife
I love this picture! I'm not sure how this couple would have been seen in their time, but to me they look eccentric. With her loose jacket and huge frog fastenings, and his walking stick and very bushy sideburns, they seem to have a unique "look".

And that concludes the first of 4 19th century albums. You may use these photos if you wish but you must send a link back to the source! Any insight into the unusual details on these outfits is most welcome, I don't know all that much about 19th century fashion.


  1. Hmmm. You and I should have chatted about this one.

    I think Uncle Ephram's watch "chain" is likely leather. Not uncommon if you couldn't afford silver. I don't think they did so much cheap fake metal stuff back then. It was silver, gold, or not metal. And isn't his shirt gingham, not plaid? You know patterns, but that looks more like a picnic cloth than a plaid, doesn't it?

    You missed Judson by one generation. He's not your grandfather's father. He's your grandfather's grandfather. Your grandfather's father's name was Roy. Judson was married once, to Clara Flemming. Roy was married twice, so there are half-siblings in that generation. This may be significant in sorting out the two people on the right hand side of the middle row of the group photo, I think. Look closely. There is some information on line about this line of the clan that I can point you to. But we really need to get to Mrs. Gibson to see her research.

    Jack McBride must have a watch chain decoration. I don't think they made watches that small in that day. And if so, they would have been dreadfully expensive. The watch would have almost certainly been much larger, and tucked into a pocket.

    1. Yes, thank you for this very helpful list of corrections.
      I will have to do a bit of editing. I did say that I thought it was a watch chain decoration but watches that small absolutely did exist back then, they just weren't worn by men.
      I did recognize that the stringy chain was not actually a chain, I just don't know what else to call it. "Watch piece of braided leather cord" just sounds weird.
      It is indeed gingham, I feel very foolish for rushing through this post.

    2. This is not so easy to sort out. Grandmother's handwriting, while not the worst, is sometimes difficult to untangle, especially when things are written over, or when nicknames or pet names are used in place of full names. Maiden names of married women would also help, but then she didn't think she was creating an archival quality document.

  2. All very interesting. Thanks for sharing those old photograph with us. I'm so glad that I don't have to wear those long dresses especially on hot muggy days.


  3. I like these posts!

    Jack McBride has a fob; it might be a signet.

    The last picture is from the early 1860s. Mrs. White is wearing a lightweight jacket - surprisingly a fairly common garment, although I personally don't like the look much! Her hair is rather severely unfashionable, being pulled flat. The fashion at the time was for width around the face.

    Could "Jrid" be an abbreviation for "Gerald"? That is, Grld. Leaving out vowels is an easy way to abbreviate names, like Jn. for John.

    1. The 1860's? Wow, I had no idea some of these were so early. I'm not a fan of those baggy jackets either, but I love frog closures, and it amuses me greatly that Mr. White wears such funny sideburns and such a serious expression at the same time, although I'm sure they weren't considered funny at the time.

      I like these posts too, It's fun to share one's old stuff collection with people who have interesting and informative things to say about it. And there's loads more to come!