FASHIONABLE WOMAN HOLDING MYSTERIOUS CYLINDRICAL CASE IN SPRINGFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS

 

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A pretty and fashionable young woman poses for her portrait at A. V. Brown’s studio in Springfield, Massachusetts. His operating address was 380 Main Street. The unidentified subject in this photograph is wearing a fancy dress and good deal of jewelry. Take note that she is holding a cylindrical case by a handle. I have not seen such a case before and I can not determine what it holds. My first guess was that it is supposed to hold a fan but it seems too large for such a purpose. Hopefully, a visitor to the cabinet card gallery will be able to explain exactly what this case was used for. Speculation is also welcome, so feel free to comment. To view other photographs by this photographer, click on the category “Photographer: Brown (A.V.)”.

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Published in: on March 10, 2015 at 12:00 pm  Comments (11)  
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11 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Probably a diploma or other important papers.

  2. I suspect that this is a case in which to carry a conducting baton, capacious enough to roll sheet music round the baton

  3. I believe in could be a musical instrument. Piccolo or such.

  4. The case reminds me of the old fashioned collecting cases used by firel botanists. It could be papers, a musical instrument, pretty much as the earlier commentaters have said.

  5. I did a bit of research; telescopes were carried in similar cases. My first impression of her is of a scientist—-research on musical instruments cases show them to be quite similar to modern ones in shape.

  6. This is pure speculation, but, as this lady is dressed in black, she could have been recently widowed. Further support for this view is that she wears what appears to be a wedding band on a chain around her neck.
    If it is indeed a telescope in that case, perhaps her husband was a sea captain and the telescope belonged to him. Very interesting photograph, wish we knew the story behind it!

    • Ross R. beat me to it so I will just second the motion. The mourning attire, the ring hanging from a chain, the telescope case, and her expression … all tell a story. Anyone ever see the movie, “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir”?

  7. This lady isn’t wearing mourning dress, because of the amount and kind of trim on it, the fabric it’s made of (cut velvet is fashion fabric, not mourning dress), and the fact that she’s not wearing a veil or any of the other prescribed “mourning” dress items (strict rules for the kinds of fabric and trim you can use). Her dress may not even be black; sepia tone and black-and-white photos show every darker color as black, so she could actually be wearing navy blue, brown, purple, gray, or dark green.

    The case that she is carrying looks like a telescope or spyglass case to me; maybe she liked to travel, or to do some other activity that requires a person to use a telescope.

  8. I can’t help with what the case is that she is carrying, however, the ring on the chain is actually a fob on her watch chain, and its possibly looped or hooked into a button hole to keep the watch from falling.

  9. Beautiful. Does anyone know if this studio still operates? I have a portrait of my father as a baby. It was taken here, according to the embossing on the front. Would love to see if they might still have the negatives from the sitting and possibly any other from his family.

    • There is mourning, prescribed and timed, and there is mourning, a state of mind. The second is not timed nor about details of dress or color … but it shows. The watch is already secured in two places by smaller loops connected to the chain by stems. The chain goes through the loop in question, which appears to have a setting on it. I called in the highest authority, my granddaughter, to look at it. “Oh, that’s a ring”, she advised. I know, as I have been told, for every mystery there is an explanation … neat, precise, logical, and wrong. But I am stuck with my interpretation of what I see. The lady is in mourning.


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