An Understanding Of Historical Photographs Through Interpretation OfPresentation Transcript
Excerpt of An Interpretation of Historical Photographs Sophie Coker University of Rhode Island Textile Merchandising and Fashion Design
Explanation of Excerpt
The following photographs and information are excerpts from a research project completed in December 2009.
The original project consisted over 20 photographs of my ancestors, complete with descriptions, explanations and interpretations through comparisons to historical context. The final project was presented in the form of a research paper accompanied by the photographs
The material in this presentation is of Lars Ahlborg and Hannah Ahlborg, my great-great-great grandparents on their wedding day in 1897 in Sweden; where they lived until their move to the United States in 1910.
On his Wedding Day in Sweden
Seen sitting on left beside unknown Best Man
Photograph scanned from personal printer
Summary of Men’s Dress in 1897
Menswear has important emphasis on correct attire for all occasions
Dark colors and subdued patterns made up the majority of clothing.
There were specific jacket and coat types for all occasions.
Popular coats include the frock coat , most commonly worn by older gentlemen for formal daytime events. For younger men, the morning coat replaced the use of a frock coat
The coats pictured to the right, are sack coats. They are distinguished by their loose fit, it was generously cut and therefore had a slightly baggy appearance.
Sack coats are single breasted, have a small collar, padded shoulders, and small notched lapels. Flap or welt pockets were generally placed on the hips.
Men wore a sack coat with creased trousers with or without cuffs that were cut full at the top and most essentially a waistcoat, which had a pocket for a pocket watch, a fob and the chain.
Sack coats were worn by men in all economic classes.
Interpretation of Lars Ahlborg’s Wedding Attire
Lars is seen sitting down in a highly detailed engraved wooden chair. Along side him is a man who is presumable is the Best Man in the wedding. Both men are dressed in dark wool sack jackets. Just as expected at the time, the men wear their sack jackets with pinstriped pants, a matching waistcoat, and attached wing collars.
Lars has decorated his collar with a Windsor knot and his friend choose to keep his collar bare.
Along with the sack jacket, Lars wears a white button-up shirt under a dark matching waistcoat and an attached collar which stands straight up with the aid of a dark colored bow-tie. Through the side angle a welt pocket on his upper left chest is visible, this along with flap or welt pockets on the hips was typical for many sack coats of the time.
The men have styled their short hair by slicking it back into side parts, which along with other formal aspects of the photographs gives the appearance that they may have been prestigious business men.
Photographed on her Wedding Day in Sweden
Photograph scanned from personal printer
Summary of Women’s Dress in 1897
Until the early 1880's dresses were seen with elbow length sleeves and a neckline appropriate for a dinner/reception dress, but with the change in styles of wedding dresses many women had their wedding dress be made with a high neck for the ceremony and later altered into appropriate styles fit for a reception or a ball.
By the 1890’s the Industrial Revolution initiated the idea of the department store, allowing the possibility of most women to realize their dream of being married in a “new” wedding dress.
Dress silhouettes in the 1890’s were typically S-shaped and had a “v” waist. The style of a monobossum fashioned front and leg of mutton shoulders was popular among most fashion forward women.
When the Ahlborgs wed in 1897, many brides choose gowns of different colors. This began to change after Queen Victoria was married in a white gown during her marriage to Albert of Saxe- Coburg in 1840. In the years to come, white was established as the color of choice for weddings.
Interpretation of Hannah Ahlborg’s Wedding Attire
Hannah Ahlborg is pictured in her white satin wedding dress. The typical S-shaped silhouette, monobossum and leg of mutton sleeves are pictured to the right.
Details such as the long sleeves and high collar in Hannah Ahlborg’s dress project a level of wealth and the probability that she was married in a church. Weddings at churches from the early 1870s on required "high dress", which translated to decoratively covered arms and necks.
Hannah’s dress had many intricate details including her high lace collar and attachments on her petticoat which because of the high price of lace was usually used in small details or on more expensive gowns.
Hannah is wearing tight long white sleeves and her hands are covered with white gloves which were typically worn for church weddings.
Hannah wears her hair pilled high on her head and decorated with flowers and a white veil which turned into a long tulle train.
Although the style is typical for the time period Hannah’s styling proves elegant for the time.