United States Boys' Clothes: Sarah L. and William Chifa (1840s?)


Figure 1.-- One image is an unidentified mother and son. Unfortunately we have no information about the family. Unfortunately there is no information assiciated with this Daguerreotype. We believe that it is a mother and son. We have no idea where it was taken, but the boy's less than stylish clothes suggest that it was not in one of the developing large northeaster cities where people dressed more stylishly. Put your cursor on the imzge to see the note.

The image here is a mother and son, Sarah L. and William Chifa (sp?). Unfortunately we have no information about the family. There is, however, information associated with this Daguerreotype. We have no idea where it was taken. All we know for sxure is Sarah died in 1857. The boy's less than stylish clothes suggest that it was not in one of the developing large northeaster cities where people dressed more stylishly. We are also unsure about the date the portrait weas taken. The clothing suggests the 1840s to us, but the early 50s is possible. The boy looks to be about 11. years old. He has a shirt with a small collar and he wears a stock. He also wears a jacket unlike we have seen before. We see some influence of the frock coats worn by men as well as a hink of the smocks worn by laborors. Perhaps readers will know more about the style. Presumably it is a jacket that the boy's mother made at home. There were no readt maf=de clothes yet. This may have been a style worn in the 1840s. Or it may have been a more unique style. The mother wears a bonnet.We see quite a few women with bonnets in these early poertaits. We are not entirely sure why.

Individuals

The image here is a mother and son, Sarah L. and William Chifa. (The note is a little hard to make out. I'm not positive about the spelling.) The boy looks to be about 11 years old. Obviously then a portrait of a woman who would have been considered old in her 40s as pictured, is stoically portrayed with her youngest and perhaps favorite son William who mercifully must have taken after dear ole Dad rather than his stern faced Mother. William, perhaps 12 years old, is portrayed standing next to his Mother with a hand laid somewhat artificially on his Mother's shoulder. The hand is slightly blurred while everything else is in sharp focus - suggesting that his hand may not have been entirely comfortable there. Nonetheless a lovely portrayal of Mother and late-in-life son.

Family

Unfortunately we have no information about the family. I am not sure about what kind of mame Chifa is. There is, however, information associated with this Daguerreotype. A note was left in the case.

Location

We have no idea where it was taken. All we know for sure is Sarah died in 1857. The boy's less than stylish clothes suggest that it was not in one of the developing large northeaster cities where people dressed more stylishly. A reader writes, "I did a quick look at ancestry.com for the Chifa family and found nothing for a Sarah or a William. They may have lived in a backwoods area where census takers failed to reach them. I searched for the Chifa name in general and it looks like the only people with that name born outside of the Umited States came from Italy. That doesn't necessarily mean it's an Italian name, but it may give you a lead." Interesting, especially because there was only very limited Italiam immigration before the Civil War and mot Italians settled in cities.

Chronology

We are also unsure about the date the portrait weas taken. The clothing suggests the 1840s to us, but the early 50s is possible. Paper note attached to inside of case in an old hand reads Mother and Brother Sarah L. Chefa and youngest son William - Mother died 1857 age 53 yrs ". She looks a lot younger in the portrait so the 1840s seems posdsible, although as we say, the early 50s is posdsible.

Clothing

William has a shirt with a small collar and he wears a stock. He also wears a jacket unlike we have seen before. We see some influence of the frock coats worn by men as well as a hink of the smocks worn by laborors. Perhaps readers will know more about the style. Presumably it is a jacket that the boy's mother made at home. There were no readt maf=de clothes yet. This may have been a style worn in the 1840s. Or it may have been a more unique style. The mother wears a bonnet.We see quite a few women with bonnets in these early poertaits. We are not entirely sure why.







HBC





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Created: 8:58 PM 1/31/2007
Last updated: 8:58 PM 1/31/2007