Bryan Family (United States, 1860s-70s)

Figure 1.-- Here we see H.A. Bryan in a CDV portrait probably made in the 1860s. He werars a cut-away jacket ober a dress and pantalettes.

We notice several boys in the Bryan family. Unfortunately we do not how the boys are related. We suspect, however, that the boys are brothers. The portraits are not dates, but all look to have been taken in the 1860s ot 70s. We do not know anything about the Bryan family, except that they came from Chicago and had a great deal of money.

Chicago in the 1860s

The Brothers

We beklieve the three boys here were brothers.


Here we have a CDV studio portrait by "Hesler, Artists", 113 Lake St., Chicago. The portrait is undated, but looks to have been taken in the 1860s. The boy is H.A. Bryan. He looks to be about 4 years old. This photograph is from a cabinet card/cdv album containing portraits of members of the Bryan family of Chicago, and their friends. The family made frequent trips to Canada and the United Kingdom. Many of the photographs reflect their travels. This means that they were a wealthy family. He wears a small cut-away jacket wiyh a small rounded collar. Notice that the jacket could be worn with other gsarments like bloomer knickers and pants. The jacket is worn over a matching dress outfit. With it he wears pantalettes or drawers which look made to match his outfit.

Charles N.

This is another CDV portrait. The photographer was the Rider's Gallery of Photography and Fine Arts, 335 Madison Street, Chicago. The potrait is undated, but we would guess was taken about 1870. The boy's name was Chas. N. Bryan.

Unidentified Bryan

We do not know the name of this brother. The CDV was taken by Vandyke & Brown, 31 Bold Street, Liverpool. This shows how the family traveled to Britain which must have been quite an experience at the time. He has a wing collkar and kind of neck tie rather than a stock. This may mean that his portrait was taken after that of Charles. It could also mean differences in styles between Chicago and Liverpool.

America in the 1860s

The 1860s saw the most cataclysmic event in American history, the Civil War. Civil War battles were major bloodlettings with sometimes more fataloties in a sigle day of battle than whole World War II campaigns. In a country with a still fairly small population, few families were spared. HBC has noted that the impact of wars and social uphevals frequently are reflected in fashion. HBC, however has not yet fully determined the impact of the war on boys' fashions. Some fashions were inspired by the war. American boys' clothing styles, however, did not change radically in the 1860s. Little boys continued to wear dresses. The 1860s were, however, a dividing point between early and late 19th Century fashions. The styles such as skeleton suits had completely disappeared. Tunics were becoming less common. Victorian styles such as sailor suits and kilts grew in importance. Collars that had once been open were now universally worn tightly buttoned, except for small boys who still might wear dresses with low necklines. Some of the new styles such as kneepants began to appear. The Civil War in America engendered some popular fashion trends as well as initiating some changes in the image of childhhod. Pants styles were varied. Most boys wore long pants after breeching--even quite young boys. Other mostly younger boys from affluent familiesd began wearing kneepants cut at various lengths. Knickers blouced at the hem were also worn. The most readily observable trend was before the War American boys generally wore long pants after breeching. After the War kneepants begin to become increasingly popular. This does not, however, seem to be an impact of the War as the same trend is observable in Europe. It may be that American fashion trends were not as affected by the War as they were still largely influenced by European fashions.


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Created: 3:54 AM 11/28/2004
Last edited: 6:35 AM 11/28/2004