YOUNG WOMAN WEARING UNUSUAL ATTIRE IN MONTPELIER, OHIO

ohio uniform

This cabinet card portrait features a smiling young woman wearing unusual attire. Is she wearing a uniform? If her clothing is a uniform, is she wearing it for work or is she part of a sports team? Note that her cap matches her jacket and that the style of her blouse is atypical for the cabinet card era. Hopefully, some cabinet card gallery’s visitors will leave a comment speculating or informing the rest of us about the fashion worn in this photograph. The Hawkins studio, located in Montpelier, Ohio,  produced this image. Research reveals that there was a photographer in Montpelier named George B. Hawkins. At some point, there was a studio in Montpelier called Hawkins & Marsh. It is likely that George Hawkins once partnered with Mr. Marsh. The reverse of the cabinet card has an inscription which states “Cousin to Marian” and “Kelly-girl”. Clearly, the subject of this portrait is a cousin to Marian and it is likely that the subject’s last name is “Kelly”. The term “Kelly-girl” took a different meaning many years after this photograph was taken. In 1946, Russell Kelly started a business providing temporary employees to local Detroit businesses. His employees called themselves “Kelly Girls” to distinguish themselves from their temporary office coworkers. Russell Kelly’s novel business idea gave birth to the modern staffing business.

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Published in: on April 12, 2014 at 11:15 am  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Boy, is this a shot in the dark. I apologize. But bicycles were the rage back then. I find that there was a “Kelly Adjustable Handle Bar” one could order. Sorry, I know , it’s a stretch…. but that outfit ..

  2. The young lady might have been an early “Kelly-girl” for the Springfield-Kelly Tire Company, which was started in Springfield, OH in the 1890’s. Her sporty attire seems appropriate for such a product. You can find some early ads featuring smiling young women in Kelly Tire ads from the 1910’s and 1920’s if you search online under the term “Kelly-girl tire ads” — of course, this is also just a guess.


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