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Careful of the Hair

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  • Careful of the Hair

    In browsing thru some literature I came across an interesting and bit of info I thought might be of some use. This concerns the importiance of hair style--especially when working on photos from the 1840 thru approx 1860-1890 period and possibly a bit later regarding children. During this time period, ALL children up to around the age of 5 or so wore dresses. Around the aforementioned age, boys were taken out of dresses and put in pants. Now this may seem pointless, but--in examining photos of kids it became evident to me that it is in some cases, very difficult to identify the gender as the usual "markers" we look for now a days regarding clothing type are missing. The only way in some cases is to look at the hair. If it is parted in the middle--thats a girl. On the side---thats a boy. When doing a restore on a really old photo with kids, pay close attention to this, as a person really into family histories I know was pointing out to me what a mess it would be to swap hair styles, there by performing a virtual gender change and totally destroying any historical value as regards research of the photo. Hows that for a dull but otherwise pointless tip? Tom
    Last edited by thomasgeorge; 11-02-2001, 06:54 AM.

  • #2
    Actually, that's an excellent tip. I'd love to see more like this.

    Interestingly, I just this morning got an email from Mathias (remember him?) recommending this link which is really an ad for a book, but still quite useful, and on the same topic.
    Last edited by Doug Nelson; 10-31-2001, 08:52 PM.
    Learn by teaching
    Take responsibility for learning


    • #3
      Super tip Tom! Another way you could become confused is if you have the name of the subject. I know there were times in history when a man could very well have what is traditionally thought of as a woman's name (and probably vice versa). So you might get a subject whose name is Shirley, but the hair is parted on the side. In all likelihood, this is a male even if the name is correct. This doesn't *necessarily* mean it can't happen in modern times, although it is less likely. When I started working, I had a foreman whose name *was* Shirley. And he was *all* man!



      • #4

        That was some very interesting reading, and it reinforces what Tom previously mentioned about being true to history. By making one simple substitution, it could make dating a photo extremely difficult, if not impossible. I found the article so good, I downloaded it for future reference. Thanks for passing it on.



        • #5
          Facinating link! One thing, though, in discussing check-patterns--these were popular in the mid to late 1850-1860 era as well, but as pointed out, clothing is variable. In my pursuing of old photos, literature etc., the best indicator to within an approx. 10 year target is womens clothes. Men didnt even wear matched suits until the mid to late 1860's and even then a suit might be worn for a number of years, the goal of mens fashion was to look staunch and staid while the Ladies changed their styles with regularity. I just love this sort of stuff! (But would not be caught dead in a hoop-skirt!) Tom


          • #6
            You would look "utter-ly" ridiculous in a hoop skirt Tom. OOOh bad joke.

            Thanks for that tidbit on the hair and as soon as I get back to my own domain I plan to book mark that site Doug got hold of. Lots of good reference material there. I tell you what, if ever I am stumped on dating a photo or need info, this is where I will come first. I always say, knowledge is knowing where to find what you don't know.


            • #7
              That is an excellent tid-bit.

              As I've said before, a day in which you learn something new isn't a wasted day.

              Where exactly did you come across this information, some reference book?

              Ed, Shirley, you MUST be joking.

              Sorry, it was too good to pass up.



              • #8
                Sorry Rick, no joke!



                • #9
                  Rick, One of the best and very reasonably priced books for a useful overview of styles of clothing, etc., is a little number by Priscilla Harris Dalrymple entitled " American Victorian Costume in Early Photographs". That and another source I am frantically searching for mentioned the hair tip. I intended to review this book as soon as I had completed it, but despite the fact it is only 108 pages long, the richness of photographic examples of style and little Social Tid bits of info make it look like this is one which will take a long time to study. I would call it a Must Have for anyone serious about restoration. It is simply priceless and one of the best I have run across for getting a broad overview. It can be purchased thru Amazon, via the link on this site. Stay tuned--shortly I will clear up the haziness surrounding snoods and chignons, as soon as I get 'em rounded up and branded. Got to be careful of those things--the range raised types are unpredictable. Tom


                  • #10
                    Great info guys! Thanks!!


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