Man standing with column. J.H. & J.L. Abbott, Albany, NY
CDV. Album 1. Page 45.
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Years ago I worked with a collection of 19th century dresses as Curator of Costume and Textiles at the Worcester Historical Museum in Worcester Massachusetts. I may be able to help identify when some of these photos were taken, based on the dress style of the women in the pictures. Feel free to contact me at my email.
Thank you for writing. We’re really in need of your expertise, as you can see. None of these images are dated, though we can approximate to some degree based on the appearance of the people. Knowing more about clothing styles might help us do more of that. As important, we are very interested in understanding more about the social meaning of the clothing choices here. Historians Nell Painter has done a wonderful job of interpreting the choice of dress made by Sojourner Truth in her many cartes-de-visite.
For starters, we’re interested in the six portraits of Arabella which you can find on the front page of the web site. What was Arabella telling us about herself when she chose those dresses?
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