Vintage Advertisement-1866

I still haven’t gotten around to breaking out a single box of larger-than-images artifacts to post, so I thought I could still mix it up with some content from my old website!

Here’s an advertisement from a local (to me) newspaper for a variety store in Hillsborough N.C. The store was owned by a Jewish proprietor, and I discovered this stanza when working on a program on the history of the Jewish community in Raleigh, NC, a few years ago. As Hillsborough was out of the area I was focused on, this didn’t make it into the final program, but I still enjoyed reading it! It makes me want an shopping trip to the past!

 Run to COHEN’S very quick
 For HIGH PRICES is mighty sick,
 If you wish to keep him down
 Take your CASH and BARTER there,
 He will be polite and fair.
 BARGAINS there you can get
 Ten per cent his profits net.
 So rush along, be in the ring.
 And do your trading while I sing.

 FRESH ARRIVALS every day,
 Cheap and Cheaper buyers say; 
 CALICOS of every Style,
 HOOP SKIRTS there are pile on pile,
 And the DOLLAR SKIRT you’ll see,
 CLOTHING ready made to use.
 So don’t delay, but push along,
 While I sing this CHEAP STORE song.
 And BALMORALS of finest GOODS
 The latest Style of BONNETS there
 You’ll find untrimm’d or trim’d with care.
 For GIRLS he has the Hat for Fall
 Or Winter, and can suit them all.
 For BOYS he’s got the Velvet Cap,
 The Slick the Cloth and PLUSH WITH Flap.
 So hurry ‘long in time to get
 Your CROCKERY WARE by piece or set.
 GOOD OLD RIO you can get
 And SUGAR too, that isn’t wet.
 There you can get at lowest price
 Your SALT & Dye Stuffs, & your SPICE.
 In short of GROCERIES he will keep
 A Full Supply of Good and Cheap.
 OF HARDWARE he will keep on Hand
 The best sold in this Tar Heel LAND.
 So run along, and take a peep
 At Goods that all agree are cheap.

 In fifty lines I cannot tell
 Of all he has, and how he’ll sell,
 But this I know, he’s selling cheap,
 And profits large he doesn’t reap.
 He’ll take just what you bring to sell,
 And though called ‘Jew’ will treat you well.
 “No dead men wanted here,” tis said,
 But let them blow HIGH PRICE is dead;
 So I’ll advise you call and try
 AT COHEN’S when you wish to buy.

 Hillsborough Recorder, October 2, 1866.
 M. COHEN’s Variety Store, C.M. Latimer’s Old Stand, Hillsborough, NC.

Images- Tucked Skirt



Today’s image is of an young woman wearing a dress with 15 tucks in the skirt! I think it is a striking affect. It takes a moment to get pass the tucked decoration, and notice other aspects of her appearance. Her bodice is dart fitted, and her skirt is pleated. We can make out the color difference of her hem tape, and the drape of her skirt indicates wool. Her sleeves please into a cuff that has a row of trim on it- possibly a braided trim. Her bodice has buttons up the front, and her collar is crochet or another form of open work.


She wears a belt with a very 3-dimensional metal buckle at the front. Her hair has been arranged in ringlets, that hand about shoulder length. On the original image, we can barely make out a ring on her left hand, as well as the edge of white undersleeves or cuffs.

She has no backmark, but at some point there was pencil writing on the back that has mostly faded away.

Her fashion choices point her towards 1862-64, and I would assume that she was a young wife at this point in time.

Images- Head-shot



Today’s image is simple- a tintype head-shot of a young lady, circa 1866-1868. She has no back mark.


We can make out the drop of her armsyce, as well as the stitching line down the front of her bodice. Her bodice closes with hook and eyes and decorative fabric covered buttons. Her collar is crochet and closes with a broach at the center Her hair is arrange low, and appears to be covered with a net.

Images- Mary Turner MacLeod


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Today’s image has special meaning to me, and I post it now for a special reason. This past Saturday, my paternal grandfather passed away. I want to commemorate him here by sharing with you this post. It is not the story of his life, which I do not feel able to comprehensively tell through a historian’s lense, but the story of the oldest image I own of a direct descendant of mine, who happens to be my grandfather’s great-grandmother.

This is Mary Turner MacLeod, or, at the time this image was taken, just Mary Turner. Mary was born on June 6, 1848, in Newmilns, Loudoun, Scotland. Alternative dates are given as June 12th or December 6th of the same year. Her parents were Alex Turner and Margaret Morton, who had been married the previous December 11th. It seems likely that one of the June dates is correct, and the December date was a cover-up attempt at the 6th month gestation period. ;-)  She was baptized by Rev. Allan, seemingly in June of that year. Her father was employed as a weaver, and her parents had 5 children after her, spanning 16 years.

Mary moved to Glasgow sometime as a teenager, and was employed there in the mills. Her image here shows her in the 1863-1866 range, in her late teens or early 20s. Her image was struck by H McFarlane, 107 Buchanan Street, Glasgow. 


In 1869, she married Alexander MacLeod on July 16th. They were married at 39 Whitevale Street. They followed the traditional practice of Banns. At the time of the wedding, both Mary and Alexander listed their address as 258 Main Street, Bridgeton, Glasgow. Mary’s profession was listed as working as a Cotton Weaver, Steam Loom, and her husbands as a housepainter. James Allen proceeded over the wedding, and the witnesses were Alexander’s brother and an unknown to us woman- Catherine Wilson.

Within two years the couple were living at 50 Dalmarnock Road in Glasgow. At that time, during a census, there were 74 people at that address, giving some idea of the conditions inside the tenement. Some years ago, I was able to locate an 1890s image of the building that stood there, but have misplaced that image at the time I am writing this. The the couple had two girls in their first two years of marriage, Margaret and Annie, the first being born a year after the wedding.

10 more years of life passed for Mary, and the couple had two more girls, Kate or Catherine, and Mary. I wish I knew what prompted them- life long dream, opportunity, friends or something else, but in 1881, they immigrated to America. They traveled in a 2nd class cabin aboard the SS. Circassia, where they lied about the girls aged to get cheaper fair. Children under 8-9 were half fair, and children under one were even less. Though their daughters would have been 11, 10, 6, and 3- They now had an 9 year old, a 6 year old, a 3 year old, and an 11 month old! The family told the story of carrying the youngest around on board, even though she was 3, to help give the impression she was still under a year.

They arrived in New York on March 22, where they moved to Paterson, New Jersey. They lived in at least five different addresses in the 1880s before settling on one house for about 10 years, but in the 1890s, started their frequent moves again. The had four more children once in America- Two more girls, and two boys. In addition to the 8 children who lived long enough to be named, they had four at some point who did not survive.

The couple continued to work hard in America- with Alexander working as a house painter, as well as coachman and chauffeur he even worked as a chauffeur for Vice President Hobart- McKinley’s V.P. This played an important role in getting their youngest son into Yale.

In 1896, Mary and Alexander became charter members of the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church in Paterson. I have one more image of Mary during her life, taken around this time. She stands on the deck of a boat called the “Liberty Bell” with her eldest two daughters, and several grandchildren. Around this time she also became a member of the Daughters of Scotia.

On August 26, 1902, Mary became a widow, with Alexander dying of cirrhosis of the liver at age 56. Mary lived another 15 years along, dying on May 22nd, 1917 in Clifton New Jersey. Her cause of death was an amnesic coma.

Images- Uncased Ambrotype



DSC_4059Today’s image does not have much background. I purchased this image uncased- from a seller who was unaware if you put a black piece of paper behind an uncased ambrotype, you can see the image again!

Our young man, likely from the late 1850s, dresses typically for the era. You can make out that his shirt front is pleated, and that his vest is made of a printed silk. He wears a eight-pointed star watch fob, and a ring on his pinky finger.

Images- 3 years



I decided to mix it up a little with the image I scanned today- a kid!  This little girl, was apparently three years old at the time this image was struck.


She wears a white dress with infant bodice, a common style for her age group. You can barely make out that the edge of sleeves are vandyked. She has a beaded necklace on, possibly of coral beads, which were popular on children, as they were believed to have healthful proprieties.

She was photographer by Samuel Masury, 289 Washington St Boston. Masury had an established photography business in Boston by the time this image was taken in the early 1860s. He is to this day recognized as an artist for some of his daguerreotype work, which he started training in around 1842.  His studio is also know for producing several famous images of the era, including the “Ultimate Thule” image of Edgar Allan Poe!

Images- Broken Ambrotype



Today’s image does not have much story. I bought this stunning image in its current condition from a vintage clothing shop.

BrokenAmbroShe wears a low-bodied gown with full white undersleeves that terminate at her elbows. She is old enough, that I would assume this is an evening dress-possibly for dinner or dancing. Her hair is arranged in ringlets, and she wears earrings, broach, matching bracelets, and at least 2 rings. Her earrings, broach, and rings have been tinted gold.

I would place her in the mid-late 1850s, but there is not a lot of fashion to go on in this particular image.

Even in her sad condition, she is quite lovely! Perhaps someone with better photoshop skills will piece her together one day?

Images- Happy Couple


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Today I am sharing a set of ferrotypes of the same couple. I can’t tell you how fond of these I am.

Our first image shows the couple as the came in off the street, and in a typical and average pose of the era.


The second pose has the woman sitting on the man’s lap, in a much more intimate, and less commonly seen pose! My favorite part is how they both now sport a happy little smirk on their faces! The woman did move slightly during the exposure, so her face is blurred, but it is still an adorable image!


The combination of two shots gives us a full picture of what the woman, at least, wore that day. She wears a dart-fitted dress, likely of wool, with pleated skirt and coat sleeves. Her collar is of a round, stand-up variety, which pushes the date of this image into the 1865-1866 range. She wears a small broach, as well as a ribbon/net over her styled hair. While outside, she adds her smart sack-style jacket or coat, with a hat, which is a very sporty and fashionable choice for the era.

Our man wears matching striped trousers and vest. His cravat appears to be checkered, though it is hard to make out. There is a different, narrower stripe to his sack coat.

These were purchased in Ohio, so there is the possibility that is where the couple lived. They are just adorable!

Images- V-neck Ambrotype


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I would like to start today by letting all my readers know, that getting clear images of Ambrotypes and Daugerrotypes is hard. Real hard. So hard, there will be an entire post on that shortly.


But, here it is, the first cased image I am uploading. She is a quarter-plate ambrotype, in a leather case. Now, in reality, she is rather clear, and you don’t see that dust over her, but I haven’t quite managed to capture her clarity.

She is dressed nicely for the mid-late 1850s. Her dress has a v-neck and pagoda sleeves. Her waistline is straight across, and her bodice is either darted or pleated to fit. Her print is  a lovely late 50s large floral, which is trimmed around the neck edge, jockey, and sleeve opening with velvet ribbon. She wears undersleeves, and an open-work tucker around her neck edge.

She has a tinted square broach at the center front of her neck, and it appears she is wearing either earrings, or dangly hair pins.

Many cased images do not offer insight into the sitter, or the photographer, as is the case with this image. I do not know who she is, or even what country she came from, let alone what part of the country. Her dress style is typical for about 1857-1860, with nothing to point to a localized fashion.

However, I find cased images a bit more intimate. Here she sits in her little book as she has for the 150 years, sometimes opened and viewed upon. How different I am of a viewer, studying her through a historian’s lense, then the first viewer who opened her latch was though!


I spent zero effort taking pictures of her case, but here it is!


Images- Sing Sing, NY



SingSingI promise this is not a site just of images. I will be posting pictures of original garments and other artifacts I own… it’s just very easy to pull another CDV out of the box and put it on the scanner! Dresses…well, they take a bit more effort to photograph!

Today’s CDV, circa 1863,  is by Sherwood’s Photograph Rooms, Sing Sing, N.Y. The village of Sing Sing was renamed in 1901 to Ossining. I know nothing of Sherwood’s establishment.

Our sitter today wears a printed, likely wool, dress. While the scan shows dots as the print, on the original you can make out a diamond-esqe shape to the print behind the dots, as well as a vertical stripe. She has fringed trim on her open coat sleeves, as well as wears a number of yummy accessories: a gutta percha belt buckle with a large pocket watch tucked into the top of the belt, a perfectly centered pinked- edged ribbon bow at the center of her perfectly straight collar, and wrist decorations at the bottom of her white undersleeves. Her right wrist appears to have a velvet bracelet on, while the left wrist appears to wear a metal bracelet. She sports large earrings, and has an endearing velvet-ribbon adorned cap on her head.

This lady’s look, reader, is what I wish to aspire to! To look that composed and well put together in all the eras I portray! Alas, I think I end up with crooked collars and not quite as good of taste when it comes to accessorizing!


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