FASHIONABLE WOMAN IN BLACK BEADED DRESS IN URBANA, OHIO

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The lady is in black, possibly in mourning. She is wearing a pretty black lace heavily beaded dress. A hair ornament in her hair, a corsage on her dress, and fingerless gloves complete her ensemble. The woman wears a serious expression and has piercing eyes. The lighting in this portrait is well done and highlights the woman and her dress. The photographer of this interesting cabinet card image is F. G. Wilhelmi who operated a photography studio in Urbana, Ohio. Fred G Wilhelmi, like many of photographer colleagues, got around. He appears to have begun his photography career in Cumberland, Maryland (1871-1880). He then practiced his trade in Urbana (1885-1889) and Cleveland (1890- 1900 or later). The dates provided are approximate and come from two guides about early Ohio photographers.

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Published in: on January 2, 2017 at 12:15 pm  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I love this

  2. Great photo, but she’s definitely not in mourning! The lack of a veil or headdress, the low neckline, her jewelry, the flower corsage, the black lace on top of white fabric on her sleeves, and the almost shiny/sparkly looking trim on her skirt all say that this is a fashionable, dark-colored, dress. Mourning clothes were meant to make a woman look as much like a shadow/invisible as possible, so that people would respect her grief and not bother her with painful questions, and this dress is very attention-getting.

    I’d say the photo dates to around 1886, and the flower corsage and very decorative nature of the dress might indicate that this is a photo taken for a special occasion. The young woman looks about the age to be a new college graduate, although she’s not wearing all white, or a cap and gown, or holding a diploma, and women’s colleges were still a very new and controversial thing in the 1880s. There is a piece of jewelry hanging from her bustline that could be a small watch, but it could also be an award pin of some kind; maybe that’s the reason for this picture being taken.

  3. What a lovely dress, wish clothing these days would be as lovely.


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