SPORTSWOMEN OR SPORTSMEN IN PLAINVILLE, CONNECTICUT (TENNIS)

TENNIS GIRLS_0002Two women pose for their portrait at the studio belonging to W. Allderige in Plainville, Connecticut. One of the ladies is holding a tennis racquet but she is holding it in a way that may indicate that she was not a tennis player. Since she is not displaying a proper grip of the racquet, the tennis racquet may just be a prop in the photographers studio. The previous owner of this photograph contended that the two women in this image are actually cross dressing men. Perhaps the former owner was just trying to increase the sales value of the photograph. I would be interested in hearing the opinion of  some of the visitors to the cabinet card gallery on this matter. Research discovered some information about photographer William Allderige. He was born in Birmingham, England in 1854. He worked as a shipping clerk for a carrying company and then as a cashier and bookkeeper for a railway company. In 1856 he immigrated to the United States and settled briefly in Northampton, Massachusetts. He then moved to New York City where he studied photography and when proficient, he returned to Northampton and became a traveling photographer. His next business move was to open photography studios in Connecticut. In 1859 he opened a studio in Plainville which he operated for over forty years. He ran a studio in New Britain from 1870 through 1877 which his son took over and operated until 1898. In 1886 he started a studio in Farmington. Allderige was very busy conducting business but he still found time to marry Sarah Dawson in 1848.

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Published in: on April 23, 2014 at 1:14 pm  Comments (2)  
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  1. These are undoubtedly two women, one in drag. I’ve been collecting drag images in old photography for 40 years and photographs like this are charming, mysterious, and surprisingly common.

    • Interesting picture with puzzlements. I’ll hold judgment on the gender. The composition is good but the print quality … focus, brightness, contrast … is not near the higher standards of the time. If a girl’s school put on a play …. who played the male parts? This could be (my guess) the photo-record of such an event. But even top actresses, on occasion, played famed (challenging) male roles … to show they could do it? … anyway, not unknown. I really like the pose … too bad the darkroom wasn’t better.


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