The dangers of collecting

I apologize for my absence as of late. We moved house back in September, and about the time I got everything unpacked and was ready to blog again, my faithful old laptop decided to die. It took a little bit of accepting her fate, and shopping around for what I needed, but I am back in business now!

Moving always makes me take stock of just how much *stuff* I have. I am fairly minimalistic compared to a lot of people I know; that is, if you over look the antiques and reenacting stuff. I collect a lot of antiques- and most of it is rather small things. They get filed away in an acid-free box, and I, sadly, forget I own many of them. On the upside, when moving, packing for an event, or showing off part of my collection to a friend or the blog, I get to re-find things I collected and get the same excitement as if they were new to me!

Example of what I do:

This past weekend, I found an antique mall about 4 miles from my house, that I never knew existed before. And it’s a gem of a store! As the holidays are coming up, I had to be very selective in what little bits came home with me, and left behind quite a bit that would otherwise have been mine. 20151118_222746

I couldn’t resist these two images- a CDV of a little girl, with a tax stamp on that back(which solidly dates this image from June 64-August 66), and this Ferrotype of about 1866 of a fashionable young woman. I will easily place these two in a box, forget about them, and be surprised by them later!


I also picked up an issue of LIFE magazine that I have been meaning to get for my WWII Military Women display, and an 1861 instructional book on Book-Keeping, because I may need to be able to efficiently keep books in the mid-19th century one day?


So, reader, I have exemplified my problem. Buy antiques. Store them for safety. Forget I own them. Be surprised later! Perhaps the most impressive part of this condition, is I have had chairs and beds surprise me later on…

Images- Couple from Cooperstown, N.Y.

Today’s CDV is of a young couple (or brother or sister, or friends, &c), Photographed by W.G. Smith, Cooperstown, N.Y.

The lady is seated, and wears what appears to be a solid silk darted-to fit dress. She has minimal trim at the top of the sleeves; otherwise the dress appears plain. She wears a belt at her waist, but the waist of her dress is about an inch and a half lower on her right hand side, and about a half inch lower then her belt on her left hand side. She wears a wedding band, a fabric bow at the base of her narrow white collar, and her center-parted hair is confined with a net. The detail is poor, but it looks like she may have something hanging off her belt, as well as she may be wearing fur or leather cuffs.

Our young man stands next to her. His light colored trousers appear to have a rough texture to them. His vest does not have a collar, but is bound or trimmed with a contrasting colored fabric. He has a narrow cravat on, as well as a watch chain with large fob. He wears a darker frock coat, and holds his round cap in his hand. The way he has it angled does give us a good look at his lining, though!

The fashion details in this image place it during the 1862-1864 range.


Images- Couple from Indiana

Gotta get back in the blogging swing of things! We’ve been re-arranging our house (basically, my sewing and reenacting room now is where our bedroom was…. so much upheaval of all of my things!), and getting a post out has been at the bottom of the priority list.  I have managed to pack the originals away much more tightly then they used to be, so we will see where we go from here!

Today’s image was taken at “J.A. Wilson, Photographer, No. 42 State Street, New Albany, Ind.” It shows a couple sitting side by side.


She is sporting a dress with an asymmetrical bodice! This is a style I admire, but looks horrible on me. She’s trimmed the front of the opening, as well as her sleeves, with pleated trim. There are also diamond-shaped buttons acting either as the closure, or more likely, a mock-closure. Her skirt is pleated. Her collar has extended lappets, and a broach. You can see her wedding ring on her left hand.

Our man has only 3 of his 6 vest buttons closed (one button is missing all together). I am not sure if this is a style statement, or… a man that struggles with dressing himself. He wears a thin cravat, which was a fashionable choice during the Civil War years. The combined fashion choices of the couple would place this in the 1863-1865 range for me.

Images-1850s Woman

Another image today! I am trying to get through the box of images I have out, so I can file it back away. I hate clutter, so having it out is starting to bother me!

I also took pictures this past weekend of one of my favorite cemeteries- so stay tuned for a bit of local history and pretty tombstones!

But today’s image! A rather plain ambrotype of young woman, housed in a gutta percha case. The image doesn’t offer many details of her dress- it has open sleeves, with white undersleeeves and a wide white collar with embroidered or white-worked details, stylish in the mid-1850s. She wears a ring on her left hand ring finger, and a twisted gold brooch at her neck. Her hair is arranged low over her ears, another indicator of the mid-1850s.


And… that’s all she wrote for today! Cemetery later this week, and I will be attempting to post more frequently to get through this box, so I can get out a new one! I plan on getting out one of the textile boxes next, but haven’t decided what era to start with! It will probably be whichever era I can figure out how to photograph easiest first! As much as I love the the 18th and 19th century clothing, I do not have anything good to display them on! However, I have a 1940s store mannequin that does a great job with the 20th century stuff.

Images- Unidentified Necklace


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Today I am sharing an image I have long since pondered about, but the subject remains outside my area of expertise.

The image is a cased tintype, 1/4 plate, in a leather case. The image is absolutely perfectly clear, but there is a significant amount of lint trapped between the glass, giving us the red flakes in my images.

Our sitter wears a dress of about 1856- She has a fantastic large medallion print on the dress, which features pagoda sleeves and sleeve jockeys. The bodice appears to be fitted with reveres. She wears black mitts. For all intents and purposes, there is nothing out of the ordinary about her clothing selection.


However, when we look at her neck, I find a necklace or other adornment that I just cannot place. It appears to be a metal bar with circles on each end, attached to ribbons or other fabric that ties on to her neck.  It does not fit in with traditional jewelry that was popular in this era.

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Now, I have posed this accessory to the facebook community, and have a few working theories, but no documentation for any of it as of yet.

-Example of Native American jewelry

-Example of South American jewelry

-Medical devise for goiters

-Locally made jewelry, or very isolated fashion trend

Anyone know what is actually is?

We also have some unknowns about the young lady- for instance, her age. She could easily be in the teenage set, which would make having her hair in braids (which is an assumption based on the image, and not necessarily what is going on back there). If she is an adult, and if her hair is in braids, it becomes an odd hair choice.

Also, her earrings are unknown. Drop earrings are dirt common mid-century, but are these standard earrings, or do they match the necklace? It can’t be told from the image.  If it weren’t for the necklace, I wouldn’t be giving a second look at her hair and earrings- I am just trying to make the necklace make sense!

Images- Faded Steroview


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Dear readers, you will now learn a secret of mine. I will, and do, collect artifacts without value. I am a rescuer. I have many items I have grabbed out of the mud at auctions (including one of my favorite bakelite bangles!), out of the garbage at estate sales (hello, 1940s scrapbooks), out of discarded piles at thrift stores and flea markets. I am not ashamed. They need rescuing.

Today’s image is one of several that I have rescued. It had been tossed aside as trash, for being too faded for sale! While it’s true, you may have a hard time selling this image of circa. 1855 evening party attendees, it’s still worth a little spot in one of my boxes.

Stereoview2I have tried to bring out the details that were once in this image a little bit better, but I will fully admit that I am not a wiz at editing images!

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Images- Stereoview Street Scene

Today’s image is a stereoview of a street scene. I lean towards this being a British image based on the style of houses and streets in the background, but I wish I could identify the uniform of the seated man on the far right.


Our image shows a woman selling goods behind a booth on the far left. A well dressed lady is selecting her purchases, while a maid carries a basket of goods behind her. Behind them is the seated man in uniform with a man in front of him, appearing to want payment.

The image has just so many good details! The street seller woman… who appears to have a cabbage she is showing the lady, wears a short jacket over a plaid dress, with her hair is covered with a kerchief. Our well dressed lady has a high-brim bonnet on, which is the most fashionable item in the image- placing it in 1863-4 range. She holds a wallet in her hands as she contemplates the cabbage. Our maid wears a poorly fitted dress, with white apron and cap. The bar-keep is without jacket, but has a splendid casual cap on. Our military man sits at a folding table, which I happy to have documentation for!

Images- Julia Landis



Our subject today is identified on the back of her image as Julia Landis. She was Photographerd By J.J. Hess, Agt. S.W. corner Fifth and Penn Streets, Reading, PA.  The top corners of her image have been clipped, which indicates to me she had previously been in an album.


Julia wears a one piece dress, which appears to be made of a solid wool. She has military-influenced trim on her sleeves, with matching center front buttons. In several spots her trim is not laying very flat, but laying perfectly flat in others. It makes me wonder if it was intended to be flat, and some pieces have come loose, or if it was intended to have the movement. The only visible jewelry she wears is a small, round broach. Her hair is arranged simply, and all we can see of her style is the center part. There is a very light amount of pink tinting to her cheeks.

Julia’s style choices places her in the early-mid 1860s.

The photographer’s studio has two very interesting patterns of fabric as the curtain and table cover behind Julia!

Artifacts- WAAC Recruiting Brochure


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I decided I needed to post something that wasn’t mid-19th century, or an image. Not quite ambitious enough to pull out some of the storage, so this little WAAC recruiting brochure will have to do.

The WAAC, or Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, was established in May of 1942, to help the United States in the war effort. They were disbanded in July of 1943, when the Army created the Women’s Army Corps- an absorbed in the WAC.

Many of the WAACs enlisted in the WAC at that point, and with the exception of some title and uniform changes, performed many of the same job functions.

This brochure is in perfect condition, and folds out to 12 pages of information.







Images- Winter



Today’s image should help you get a mental break from all the hot summer weather happening! This lady is ready for winter!


Our subject today was photographers by Partidridge, Cor. Main & Bank Sts. Bridgeport. Conn. She is wearing plenty of warm outerwear! She has a long, woolen coat on, that comes to about the top of the ankles. Underneath we can make out the only details of her dress, a band of hem trim. Her coat closes up the front with a double row of buttons, and is loosely fitted through the torso. Her hands are buried in a fur muff, and she has a fur collar or tippet on.

Perhaps her most unique fashion choice is her jaunty hat! It is set at an angle, and covered in feathers, plumes, and other decorations. Her hair is confined in a noticeable thick net, and sits wide around the base of her neck.

While her fashion choices are somewhat obscured, her hat and hair choices would place this image in the early-mid 1860s.