IT’S ALL ABOUT THE DRESS IN PHILADELPHIA: LAURA DEXTER TELLS COUSIN GUSSIE ABOUT HER ADVENTURES IN FASHION

“Dear Gussie,

Here is a Photo of my self in full dress if you would rather have me in my black lace dress I will exchange this for it. Everyone thinks this is the best I have ever had taken. Recd (received) your letter will answer it tomorrow. I tinted this for you.

With love, Your devoted Cousin,   Laura Decker.”

The above is the inscription found on the reverse of this cabinet card. Laura Decker was definitely fashion conscious and also very excited about her appearance in this photograph. She was also eager to share her joy with her cousin Gussie. Although this is not a particularly flattering image of Laura, the dress certainly photographed well. Laura’s message to her cousin is interesting though while reading it, I felt almost guilty as if I was reading someone else’s mail. That feeling shouldn’t be too surprising because that’s exactly what I was doing. The photographer of this cabinet card was a studio belonging to George F. Chandler & Samuel Scheetz. They operated their business in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. One source indicates that the studio was located on Arch Street in Philadelphia between  1880 and 1893. Another source reveals that the two men had a gallery in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1885. The business was located on the Boardwalk at the corner of South Carolina Avenue. To view additional photographs by Chandler & Scheetz, click on the category “Chandler & Scheetz”. Further information about Laura Decker could not be located because there were a number of women in Philadelphia who shared that name.

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Beautiful image. I haven’t seen many cards pre-1900 that have been tinted. Laura did very well, with a light, delicate hand. Love the unusual colors – later cards always seem to have their ladies in pastels…it’s just too…ladylike!


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