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by Maureen A. Taylor

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# Monday, January 14, 2013
Turn-of-the-Century Family Photos
Posted by Maureen

Terry Graham's mother showed him a few unidentified photographs and now he's using the power of the web to try to identify them. He's posted them on his family tree so that family members can comment on them.  He thinks the mother's maiden name could be Turgeon.

It's the little girl in this picture that captures our attention. The photographer posed her with head turned and eyes on the lens. It's a lovely picture of a turn-of-the-century family.

Women's Clothing
Women's fashion began to change circa 1900.
  • More women were employed, and clothing in washable fabrics became a necessity. This woman wears her "Sunday best" dress for this formal family portrait.
  • Wide high-necked lace collars were very popular before 1905. Skirts were worn approximately 2 inches off the floor.  
  • Hairstyles puffed out from the face. Extreme hairstyles were often caricatured in magazines, but this woman has chosen wisely. Her hair frames her face. A large wide-brimmed hat would accessorize the outfit.

Men's Clothing
Styles varied from casual dress worn by laborers to suits. The man in the family portrait wears his best suit. Collars worn standing up with a variety of silk ties were fashionable in the period. Men's mustaches were trimmed and waxed in the 1890s; in this turn-of-the-century portrait, he's retained his full mustache.

Children's Clothing
Play clothes for children were introduced in the early 20th century, but this little girl wears a light-colored dress that mimics some of the design elements of her mother's dress, i.e. the wide collar.

Photo Details
Watch for the spontaneous moments in a family picture. The little girl looks like Mom has just brushed her hair for the portrait, but both parents have little wisps of hair sticking out from their heads: Look at the left side of Dad's head and the hair above the neckline of the mother's dress.

About the Photographer
Alfred Adt of Waterbury, Connecticut, took this photo. According to city directories of Waterbury found on and details in census records, Adt was born in approximately 1863 and was a photographer in Waterbury from at least 1894 to 1909.  

Use the comment field below to tell me how you came to own your family photos. Which relative gave them to you?  

Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • 1900-1910 photos | children | men | women
    Monday, January 14, 2013 4:15:39 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [1]
    Friday, February 01, 2013 2:47:38 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
    Hi Maureen- enjoy your mom was really into her family history so almost all photos we inherited from her are dad's side? Not so much. I helped clean out my grandparents house over 30 years ago and gathered all the photos found stuffed in drawers and cabinets almost all with NO names!
    Found my grandmom's journal and photos from her cross country trip in 1923- how i wish we had talked about that amazing journey!
    Comments are closed.