dates to about 1849-1850 judging from the waistline and the shirred
gathers and pleated fan front bodice. The sleeves are slim at the top
before gently flaring out at the bottom. The sleeves appear to have a
pleat above elbow level, with a very simple trim just above the sleeve
bottom. Oddly enough she is not wearing undersleeves as one would
expect indicating possibly that she is unacquainted with this practice
or else is not fashion-conscious enough to warrant wearing them.
Other than that above the bottom of the sleeves there is no other
trim visible. There appears to be a wide growth tuck below knee
level. Judging from the gathers the dress is of a light weight
fabric, perhaps cotton calico or wool challis. Since this dress does
not have the look of something worn for "at-home", and since she has
chosen to wear it for having her image struck it is assumed the apron
is dress rather than functional, probably of silk.
lady wears a white collar on her dress, what appears to be jewelry at
her neck, and simple small earrings. Her hair is smoothed back
without the side "puffs" one would expect to see with this dress. It
is difficult to tell if she is young enough to have the hair in a
center part combed behind the ears or whether she has it put into a
bun in back.
If we were to
hazard a guess as to the station in life of these people it might be
solid middle class. The dress seems to be made well, but the absence
of undersleeves indicates she is not particularly worried about
propriety as one of greater means might be. Perhaps her husband is a
teacher, a carpenter, a stone mason, an overseer, a furniture maker, a
hotel keeper, a grocer, a hatter, bank clerk, dentist, harness maker,
farmer, a tinner, a painter, a gardener, or perhaps a music teacher.
remember that various circumstances effected people's lives, someone
with an above average income could have lived more simply if they were
perhaps caring for siblings or parents, or had amassed a debt due to
say an illness. We can speculate on their lives, but we cannot
designate them with complete certainty.