Monday, May 9, 2011

Women of Little Falls, a century ago

 A couple years ago my brother gave me a scrapbook of family photographs from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, composed by my grandfather. The photographs were pasted into a large ledger book and those of family were identified. The book also contains many pages of people whom I cannot identify. They appear to be from a collection of studio portraits, probably from the Bucklin or Abbot studios which were in business in Little Falls at that time. The great majority are of young women, and only a few are of children, couples or weddings. This selection may be due to a specialization by the photographer or simply to the appreciation of my grandfather for feminine pulchritude.  In the same section of the book are several photographs of street scenes, but these are of poorer quality, perhaps due to the limitations of outdoor photography in that era.

 Main Street  of Little Falls with trolley tracks visible

In only a few cases is a name  noted in pencil:
 Mae Watley

Bessie Shults

  Nolan Sisters

"Frank Meade's sister"

 Portraits of couples are rare in this collection: 

And wedding portraits, usually a staple for studio photographers, are also rare, as in this photograph of three bridesmaids: 

 Portraits of children, or mothers with children, are beautifully done, but not common in the collection:

Genevieve and Mae Ryan

 Group portraits of friends or sisters can be found:

Some ladies chose to be photographed in outdoor costume, including fashionable hats:

Pages of what may be proofs or perhaps the equivalent of inexpensive photobooth snapshots, reveal a sense of fun in the subjects not present in formal portraits.

Although there are plenty of pictures of men in the proofs, formal male portraits of any age group are not featured in this collection, except for this of an elegant older gentleman. (I like to think of him as the photographer)

 But whoever the photographer was, there can be little doubt that his customers must have been pleased with his flattering portraits:

And then there is the photograph of this very mysterious woman, so different from the other portraits.

Perhaps visitors to this site will find an ancestor among this group of beautiful women, and if they do, I would appreciate hearing from them.

1 comment:

  1. Just discovered this blog today--formerly of Little Falls and Gray, N.Y.; was searching for historical info (between 1750 and 1900) on the area. Nice job!