Thursday, October 6, 2011

I stumbled on this photo from the 1850's on Tumbler and it occurred to me that the ladies didn’t look very happy, especially the one in the back row. I figured it was probably due to tight corsets and bad teeth. So I gave her a makeover and hopefully she feels better.

 .Click on the pictures to see up close.

Here's the link to the original photo. Shorpy is the name of the website and I could look at the photos there for hours. Zoom in to see the detail on the dresses.

The Clark sisters circa 1850. Half-plate daguerreotype. Note on stationery of the Arts Club of Washington, in handwriting of Frances Benjamin Johnston, identifies sitters (l-r): "Aunt Harriet Allen, Aunt Ladonia Hoy, Grandma Joanette C-B, Aunt Julia Millard, Aunt Laura." (Harriet Elizabeth Clark Allen, 1818-1863; Ladonia Charlotte Clark Hoy, b. 1827; Joanette Clark Benjamin, c. 1814-1880; Juliaette Alcesta Clark, b. 1820; Laura Miles Clark Palmer, b. 1822.)

So Harriet, Ladonia, Jaonette, Julia, and Laura, I hope that you had nice lives and got to have lots of adventures in your fine dresses.

Besides wearing colors that suit you and having good teeth, what kinds of things make you feel better about life?

Just pondering,



Look not mournfully into the past. 
It comes not back again. 
 Wisely improve the present. It is thine. 
Go forth to meet the shadowy future, without fear. 

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


  1. Marilyn- you are a sweet woman!
    I love the way you look at life- the whimsy and warmth you share with your talent and enthusiasm.
    I have some pictures of relatives that look like the very unhappy woman in your picture. I don't think I will ever look at them the same again!
    Thank you.
    My life is so much better since central air-conditioning. I get very nasty when I'm hot and sweaty- so I figure AC has saved my marriage!

  2. I wish we could afford central air. We have R2D2 looking units that fit into the windows that we use during heat waves. First on the wish list though, is a new roof.

    I like drawing from and coloring photos because it really makes you look. For example, if you click on the green dress you may see the fabric flowers tacked on and some strange necklace made from piping and a pice of bone or ivory. Notice also the cool lace mitts and awesome earrings.

    Hugs, M

  3. Mother said that early photography required sitting still with a fixed expression for a long period of time - sometimes as long as several minutes. She said that behind the grim looks people were saying, "Is it over yet?" or "My face is going to freeze this way!" They also regarded photography as a type of portrait painting, and believed they should look serious, which they certainly did.

  4. Marilyn asks, "Besides wearing colors that suit you and having good teeth, what kinds of things make you feel better about life?"

    Well, to be perfectly honest, my husband's love... And then of course in the big, big, scheme of things, it is the Christian faith I have and hold quite dear. IT is knowing that God is love. It is also knowing the depth of his love.

    This remarkably sustains me-- when the colors fade and the teeth no longer gleam and shine, nor are as strong against decay as they once were. It's a blessing to know, believe and understand, by faith in the One God sent, Jesus Christ, that when I die, I will be safe and secure in the arms of a creator who loves me and sent his Word, his promise of making all things right, into humanity... And, to make a way for us to escape this thing called death by dying in our place.

    It is a curiously wonderful life here on this earth, and yet, things are not always as they should be, but "God is love."


    "Perfect love casts out all fear."
    (This comes from the Fist Epistle of John. (1 John 4:18)

  5. I agree with Teacher, you had to sit very still for a long time and keeping a straight face is much easier. You try keeping the same smile on your face for 5 minutes! They actually had head and neck braces they used to keep your head from moving! Besides, being too merry was not considered "seemly". I have a pic of a great or great great grandmother from about the same time and I think she looks like a muppet! It looks like her teeth didn't hurt 'cause she didn't HAVE any...teehee!

  6. Goodness, there's a lot of fine needlepoint in their clothes, isn't there? They probably can't breathe from the tortuous corsets they're all strapped into! I like your makeover, Maz! :)