This unidentified bride and her mother posed circa 1914. The shawl collars on both of their dresses help place them in a time frame. So do the flowers. Edwardian era bouquets were large with trailing ribbons, vines or flowers. Large lilies dominate the greenery. On her head this bride wears a type cap of flowers with a long veil.  Her mother's corsage consists of a single piece of greenery, perhaps a fern, with an accent bud. Continue Reading
  A. M.Estrella of Fall River, Massachusetts took this photograph in the first decade of the twentieth century. There is something really charming about the enhancements on this image. The pink flowers with green leaves were stamped on the image with ink.   The bride wears a lovely striped silk dress with a full veil.  Her groom holds a pair of gloves in his hands.  Could the couple have requested this all over green and red pattern or was this a specialty of the photographer?  I'm looking for other examples of his work.   Continue Reading
As of June 30, 1898 five women appeared on the pension rolls as widows of Revolutionary War soldiers. Esther Damon of Plymouth Union, Vermont age 84 Nancy Jones of Jonesboro, Tennessee age 84 Rebecca Mayo of Newbern, Virginia age 85 Mary Snead of Parksley, Virginia age 82 Nancy Weatherman of Lineback, Tennessee age 88 I've searched for years for images of these women. Esther Damon appears in volume 1 of the Last Muster Series and I'm aware of newspaper photos of Rebecca Mayo, but photos of the other women may not exist.  Continue Reading
The spectacle of the Kim Kardashian/Kanye West wedding is outside the pocketbooks of modern brides, nineteenth century high society wedding with white gowns, diamonds and multi-course reception meals were too expensive and frivolous for most of our ancestors as well. It was pretty typical for a man to purchase a wedding suit to be married in and for his bride to wear a new dress for the event. It was usually a dress the bride could wear again. Spotting a wedding involves reading the matrimonial clues in a portrait. In this case, the couple formally holds hands and both wear corsages.  The tell-tale wedding veil confirms it's a wedding.  There ... Continue Reading
When Maria Ewing Sherman married Thomas William Fitch on October 1, 1874.   Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman and his wife, Ellen Boyle Ewing  had several children including their oldest, Maria who was known as Minnie.  Her marriage to Naval Lieutenant Thomas William Fitch was a Washington social event attended by President and Mrs. Grant. It was covered by newspapers across the country. The bride and groom wed at 9:30 am at St. Aloysius Catholic Church. Wax lights and gas jets illuminated the interior of the church. Minnie wore a heavy white silk dress with a long train decorated with satin ribbons and orange blossoms. According to the finding ... Continue Reading
No doubt about it. P.T. Barnum was a showman extraordinaire.  He knew how to get attention. In April 1863, two of his stars General Tom Thumb (Charles Stratton) and Minnie (Lorinia) Warren married.  These well-known celebrities were well known to the American public. Their wedding was a spectacle. Warren's dress was designed and made by Madame Demorest, at her establishment in New York City. Demorset was a fashion trend-setter with her magazine, "Demorest's." Two thousand people witnessed them exchange vows. Instead of reception at home, Stratton and Warren held their event at a hotel. Barnum paid all the expenses. Unlike other weddings of the time which were private affairs, the ... Continue Reading
Wedding circa 1890 In the late 1880s to early 1890s brides wore headdresses and long veils. Leaves and seed pearls piled high on top of up-swept hair was the fashion. Long trailing ribbons of pearls and greenery frame her face. The groom wears a matching corsage. Continue Reading
In honor of the National Genealogical Society Conference in Richmond, Virginia in May I've selected an exhibit on the Colonial Williamsburg site. This online exhibit lets viewers take a visual stroll through their costume collection in Historic Threads: Three Centuries of Clothing.  A beautiful piece of embroidery provides the backdrop for two choices--learn about the clothing or view pieces from their collection.  I chose to look at the exhibit. A caption and description accompanies each image.  There are so many wonderful pieces of clothing of head to toe fashion such as this embroidered man's undress cap. In the eighteenth century, men who wore wigs shaved their heads. When they removed ... Continue Reading
Sometimes the hunt for a photograph is so frustrating! One of the more than 6,000 Revolutionary War widows collecting a pension was Rebecca Mayo of Newbern, Pulaski County, Virginia. She married Stephen Mayo in 1834 when she was just a young woman and Mayo was 77. The Boston Daily Globe ran a story about her on July 6, 1904 (page 6), "Mrs. Mayo of Virginia is a Revolutionary Widow." There were only two widows left at that point, Rebecca Mayo and Esther Damon. Damon's photo and story appear in my book, The Last Muster (Kent State University Press, June 2010). In the Globe article were two pictures. On of Rebecca ... Continue Reading