*** United States boys clothes : families 1860s

United States Boys' Clothes: 1860s Families

Figure 1.-- Here we see an unidentified Civil War family. the mother is hilding the baby. The older child looks to be about 4 years old. We assume the child is a girl, but there is no way to be positive about this. All we know about them is that they were from Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Thw portrait is undated, but looks to have been taken in the 1860s. We of course wonder where father was, perhaps in the army.

We know much more about the 1860s because photography became much more widespread. New photographic procecesses reduced the price of a photographic portrait to the point that a wide cross-section of the population could afford one. And the new negative process used for CDVs and cabinent cards meant that multiple copies could be made for friends and family. Many of the portraits we have found are no identified, but they provide wonderful views of families in the 1860s. For some reason, individualm portarits seem more popular than family poses. We are not sure why. This was a continuation of Dag and Ambro conventios from the first decades of photography. Perhaps the problem of posing large goups mitigated against full family portraits. The sheer number of CDVs in the 1860s, however, mean that there are quite a number of family images available. Gradually we see more family portraits, but individual or small group potratits were still the most common in the 1860s. Most Americans still lived on farms at the time and large families were common. Industrialization had begun, but was still at an early stage. We do not, however, have many portraits of thee of these latrge families because of the bias for single or small group portraits. Notice the importance of the northeastern states. These were the states with the largest population and industrial development. Photography reflects this, because it is a sign of relative affluence. In addition note the relative paucity of southern portraits.

Early-1860s: Northern Family (Unknown state)

We have found several early images of boys wearing kilt suits. We note a few in the 1850s amd many more in the 1860s. They are easy to identify because they differ than the standard kilt suits that we see by the 1870s. A good example is an unidentified boy, we think was photograhed in the very early-1860s. And along with his portraits, we have separate portraits of what seem to be well-to-do parents. They are tied together in a gorgeous four image cased set. Notice father's top hat. This is helpful because it goes to show thst kilt suits for boys were outfits for fashionable, if not well-to-do, at least middle-class families in comfortable circumstances. The photograophic record overstayes the importance of the kilt suit, largely because itv was the upper- and middle-class which could best afford to have their portraits taken. This is not to say that working-class families did not have portraits takem, but it was in smaller numbers. The boy was photographed with a drum set emulating a Civil War drummer boy. There were quite a number of child drummer boys, but not boys this young or boys from well-to-do families. The portrait is undated, but this is a valuable clue. Another image shows him without the drum, clearly showing his kilt suit. Notice the pants, perhaps knickers that he is wearing with his kilt suit. Other images show boys wearing pantalettes, this may hasve been the more common alternative.

Early-1860s: Southern Family (Unknown state)

Here we have an unidentifies CDV portrait of a young mother and father abd their son. It is undated, but the mount without sny identifying information and the clothes suggest the Civil War early-1860s era to us. The dealer believes it was a southern family because of it was found with a batch of southern photographs. The lady's and boy's sleeves in particular suggest the 1850s or early-60s, but as this is a CDV it is orobsably the early-60s. The father wears a long jcket abd checked trousers that do not mstch the jacket. Mother wears a voluminous fress surely with a hoop skirt. The boy wears a cut-away jacket with unusual two connecting band with long trousers. Notice the half sleeves worn with blouceing sleeves. He looks tgo be about 5-6 years old.

1861: Radcliffe Family (Massachusettes)

Here we have a cased Daguerreotype that comes with some information. A note inside the case reads "3 Children of Relief Simmonds Radcliffe: Adelaide - m. John Croft, Gertrude, Charles. The children look to be about 4-11 years old. They lived in Irving, Massachusetts. The note is not dated, but the metal frame is stamped: July 4 & 11, 1861". The year is indistinct, it could be 1851 or 1861. Dags were made in the eraly-1860s, but the great bulk of American Dags were made in the 1840s and 50s. We initially leaned toward 1851. We note, however, that these collar buttoning suits were still widely worn in the 1860s. The Lincoln boys, for example, wore them. Than we noticed the case. It had a patriotic Union, we mean Federal. (The name for these cases was also union cases because of thea mterial used. The process was created by heating the combination or the union of several materials that included fibrous material, wood fiber, gum shellac, htta perca and color dye, thus the name Union Case. It wasa a kind of early thermo plastic. Union cases were produced about 1855-65. So the The date here must be 1861. But there is another indiucator. There were 34 states in the Union (July 1861). It went up to 35 states when West Virginia entered the Union (1863). And if you look at the patriotic motif, ther ewere 34 stars0, further evidence that the portrait was taken in 1861. Charles wears the popular collar buttoning jacket with a bow rather than a stock. He also has a small white collar. His sisters wear matching low-necklne dresses with beaded necklaces . Charles' hair comes down to his ears. The girls have ringlets.

About 1862: Millspaugh Family (Illinois)

This is wonderfull family photograph dates from theearly-1860s, we think about 1862. It is undted but the ages and thr clothing and hair styles allow us to date the portrait to a narrow window. An enscription on the back identify the family-- "Mellspaugh (sic) Family, Mr & Mrs, Chas - Frank" and underneath the word "Chas" writing that looks like another name but we cannot decipher it. The oval shaped sepia photo is an albumen print mounted on a heavy paper board. The image alone is about 7 5/16" X 5 1/4". The size of the board is about 9 1/2" X 6 7/8". This is interesting becuse the dominant format during the early- or mid-1960s was the much smaller CDV. And this portrait was larger even than the cabinet cards that appeared about 1866. Non-standard images like this are quite rare. Anbumen prints had a major impact on porature. Dags and Ambros reqioured long exposures. This made it very difficult to expose groups, ot imossible, but difficult. The shorter exposure required by the albmn process meant that we begin to see many more famoly portrait in the 1860s. The photographer is unknon, but we suspect that the portrait was made in Joliet, Illinois. Isaac was a prominent Joliet citizen. Research, including census records, historic newspapers and books suggest that the people in the photo are, from bottom left clockwise: Isaac T. Millspaugh (father). Born Orange County, New York, February. 26, 1820. (Age in photo about 40 years.) Charles H. Millspaugh (eldest son). Born Orange County, New York, about 1843. (Age in photo about 17 years.) Mary L. Millspaugh (mother). Born in Vermont in 1821. (Age in photo about 39 years.) Frank Millspaugh (youngest son), born in Joliet, Illinois about 1857. (Age in photo approx. 5 years.)

1860s: Unidentified Family (Unknown State)

Here we see a CDV portrait of what we thought might be farm family, although most farm families were larger. Father has an impressive beard. Beards like this were popular after the Civil War. Mother and father are plainly dressed, but their son behind them looks to be about 8 years old. we cabn only see the top of his outfit. He wears a fashionable suit done with piping. Beither father or son have neckwear which was unusual. The boys seems to be wearing a shirtwaist as we do not see a collar. We think the portait may have been taken just after the Civil War in the mid-1860s. The parents names were Joal and Prusilla. The boy's name is cut off but looks to be something like Freu???. There was no studio information, but the CDV was kept in a CDV album.

1860s: Unidentified Family (Pennsylvania)

Here we see an unidentified Civil War family (figure 1). the mother is holding the baby. The little child at the left looks to be about 4 years old. We would assume that she is a girl because iof the center part. All we know about them is that they were from Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Thw portrait is undated, but looks to have been taken in the 1860s. We of course wonder where father was, perhaps serving in the Army.

1860s: Schlesinger Family (New York?)

This leather family photographic album is a good example of the albums that appeared in American aprlors during the 1860s. This one is a front side latch closing book. It had about 25 pages showing two images on each page. It measures 9" x 8" x 3". Some albums were larger and showed four photographs on a page. This family album contains a collecton of tin-types and a few CDVs of many different family members, including many of the children. One portrait is identified Anna and Emily Schlesinger. We thus assume the photographs are all of the Schesinger, but the other portraits are not specifically identified. The clothing suggests that the portraits came from the 1860s. One portrait is dated 1863. We do not know where the Schlesingers lived, but we think New Yprk is a drstinct possibility because the album was being sold in upstate New York.

1860s: Unidentified Family (Indiana)

This CDV portrait shows an unidentified boy and his mother. Allwe know about the portrait is that it was taken by Smith & Huey Photographer in Indianapolis, Indiana. It is an interesting portrait because it shows not only the popular cut-away jackets worn by boys, but the voluminous dresses worn by women. The portrait uis undated, but was almost surely taken in the 1860s.

1860s: The Coe Family (Connecticut)

Here we have what looks like a 1860s photo album with 37 CDVs. It is an excellent example of a period family photo album. It came from the Coe Mansion in Meriden Connecticut. Thus we assume it represents images of the Coe family. There are many photos of babies, children, and adults. Unfortunately the album is not dated. It looks like the 1860s to us. Curiously none of the men wear uniforms. This means that it might date from the late 60s or even the early 70s. The clothing looks to us more like the 60s. The lack of uniforms may reflect the fact the men of many wealthy families did not participate in the War and even when the draft was instituted, bought their way out of it. Here we just do not know. None of the CDVs are identified. Thus we can only categorize them by approximate age and outfits. Some of the children of course may have been photographed more than once at different ages.

1860s: Unidentified Family (Iowa/New York)

Here we see a CDV portrait of two Iowa children who look to be about 5-8 years old. with their grandmother during the Civil War era. We do not have the family name, but the first names of the children in written on the back: Bavalomna? and Austin. The first name is difficult to read and not one that we recohnize. There is also Homer NY written after the names, but that may be where the family was from and not their last name. Also written is 'Albumn, but that just seems to indicate that the portait or copies were placed in the photographic albumn. We were a little surprised to see one of the children was named Austin. That seems to suggest that one of the children, presumably the child on the right is a boy. Grandmother wears a dark, voluminous dress. Both children wear simple, long dresses. Notice the pantalettes and white stockings. One dress with a a high neckline and no collar. The other has a low neckline as was common with younger chidren. The center part tells us that the child on the left even though shr has short hair is probably the girl. The portrait is undated, but the pointed corners tell us that it was an early-CDV, almosr certainly taken in the 1860s. And the revenue stamp further dates it to 1864-66. The clothes, such as the white stockings, also suggest the 1860s.

1860s: Unidentified Family (Unknown state)

Here we have two identified tin-type portraits. The boys look to be about 5-10 years of age. The portraits were taken at the same time so the boys must be brothers. I'm not sure why they weren't posed together. The portraits are undted, but the clothing suggests to us the 1860s. The Civil War era is quite possible. It could not have been earlier. The early 1870s is possible, but the 1860s more likely. The younger brother wears a tunic suit. I'm not quite sure how to describe the outfit the older brother is wearing. We have no idea where the portraits were taken.

1860s: Unidentified Family (New York)

This fascinating CDV from the 1860s show what looks like a 9-10 year old boy, we think with his grandparents. The family was unidentified, but we know they were from Cooperstown, New York. We also note the portrait was taken during the 1860s because there is a Federal revenue stamp on the back. The boy has a cut-way jacket which he wears with a shirt that has a small collar and bow. His long pants do not match the jacket. He has a relatively short hair cut, but down to his ears at the side. This grandfather wears a frock coat with a stick. His grandmother wears a a voluminous hoop-skirt dress.

1860s: Unidentified Family (Pennsylvania)

Here we see an unidentified family. They have a baby and a boy who looks about 5-6 years old. Notice how father and son wear the same narrow ribbon bow. The boy wears a plaid top. We think this was one of the short tunics popular in the 850s-60s. As was common, he jas a very small white collar. We think this was part of a short worn under the tunic, but we are not positive. Notice mother's voluminous dress. This wonderful early CDV was taken by Josiah Knecht, he was a 'traveling artist', meaning an itinerate photographer. We know he was ctive in the Pennsylvania during the 1860s and 70s. This looked to us like the late-60s. The boy's short hair helps date the portrait to the late-60s.

1860s: Unidentified Family (New Jersey)

This Civil War-era CDV portrait depicts a lovely young mother and her two boys. The boys look to be about 11-13 years of age. They wear military-styled colar buttoning jackets with what looks like brass buttons. These jackets were very popular in the 1850s, They have small Eton collars, but a little larger than we oftem see in the 60s. They wear ribbon cross bows rather than stocks. The suits are completed with matching long trousers. Mother wears what looks like alouse and skirt with a tight waist belt. She has a full hoop print dress. She also had a ribbon cross bow, but a little fancier than the one the boys wea. She holds a straw hat on her lap. The photographer was Robt. M. Boggs, New Brunswick, New Jersey. The CDV is undated. We would guess it was taken about 1862-63, in part because there is no tax stamp. One might guess that father is away fighting the War.

1860s: Unidentified Family (California)

The three children in an unidentified family were photographed at Clayton's studio at the corner of Santa Clara and Market Streets in San Jose, presumably California. California was very lightly populated until the Mexican War (1846-48). Large numbers of people were drawn to California by the discovery of gold (1848). It quickly was admitted to the Union (1850). This portrairt dies not have a Federal revenue stamp sdo presumasbly it was taken after the Civil War in the late 1860s. The older child is a girl wearing a plaid dress. The middle age child is a boy wearing a juvenile suit with bloomer knickers. We are unsure about the younger child wearing an elasborate hair style and plain-colored dressith a low-neckline. We would guess the child is a boy, but we are not sure.

1860s: Unidentified Family (Unknown state)

This tintype portrait is of the eight children in an unidentified family. Unfortunnately there is no information associated with the portrait. The fact that oit is a cased tintype combined with the style of the children's dresses suggest that the portrait was taken in the 1860s. The lack of a revenue stamp suggests the late-60s to us. At first we thought all the children were girls, but on closer examination, despite the fact that they are all wearing dresses, we believe that the group includes both boys and girls. Note the close progression. It is clear that this is all the children in the family. The children look to us anout age 1 to 12o r 13 years of age. The fact that even the older boys wear dresses here suggest to us that this was a city family. I don't think a far family could have afforded such frivolity. It is clear to us that the oldest child is a girl and the youngest a boy. The child in the checked dress (could this be an approximation of plaid) is a boy. He looks to be about 10 years old and even in the 1860s it was unusual for a boy this age not to be breeched. Some of the others almost certainly are girls, but some also look very much like boys.

About 1865: Unidentified Well-to-do Family (New York)

Here we have another northern Civil War family. The CDV portrait is undated, but as it has a revenue stamp on the back we knoww it was taken 1864-66, so 1965 seems a likely guess. This looks to bea prosperous family, noy bonly thev cstyles they are wearing, but the fit and tailoring. The hoop skirt in particular suggests affluence because therec wasn'y much a person could do wearing a hoop skirt dress. The portrait shows the three children of the family, two boys and a girl. They look to be aboutv 9-16 years old. The older boy's long pants suit and hair style looks decidedely modern, except for the high-set lapels of his suit jacket. THeir sister wears a great period hoop skirt dress. Notice the bloused sleeves. You kind of wonder how she got ariund with that contraption. Their little brother also wears obvuiully period styles. He wears a cut-away jacket, very popular for younger boys at the time. He has a white shirt with a small pointed collar. We are not sure the collar was part of the shirt. Boys wore these cut-away jackers with knee pants, knickers, and long pants. The boy bhere wears long, baggy knbickers rather like Zouave pants. There were socail class factor involved here. Most boys wore long pants, but fashionable northeaster families often chose knee pants or knickers.

About 1865: Unidentified Family (Unknown state)

This is a wonderful CDV portrait of a brother and sister during the Civil War. We believe the portrait was taken in 1865 because it has a revenue stamp on the back. This means it could have been taken any time from 1864-66. We have a detailed view of popular dress for a boy and girl at the time. Almost certainly they are brother and sister. These are the kinds of portraits that would have been sent to their father or older brother during the War. Unfortunately the children are not identified. One is a young girl about 11-12 years old and the boy about 9-10 years. There is no informaion about the photographer or location as is the case with some early CDVs.

1865: Afro-American Family (Virginia)

Grant finally broke Lee's line at Petersburg. The loss of Fort Stedman set in motiin the Confederate collapsse (Marcg 25). The Confederate defeat ay Five Forks followed piercing the Confederate lines (April 1). This meant that Richmond had to be abandoned. The Federal forces finally began to enter Petersbyurg (April 2) Petersburg surrbdered at dawn (April 3) and Richmind in the evening. Immediately photographers descended upon first Petersburg an then Richmond. Such was the interest in Richmond that photographers missed the most important photp opportunity pf the War--Lee's surrender to Grant (April 9). What we have is a wealth of photographs taken in Richmond. One of the most moving to us is a masterfully posed scene of what we believe is a now free African American family taken with the ruins of Richmond in the background. This would have been taken shortly after the fall of Richmond, probably about the timr Lee surendered. What Gardner produced is a fusion of the prize and cost of the War in one concise image. Gardner was a stanch abolitionist and tgere is no soubt as to his purpose. The monumental achievement of the Federal war effort--freedom for an enslaved people. Gardner has posed them in the front, a group with many children. And the cost of that their freedom symbolized by the ruins of Richmond in the background. A superb piece of art. Perhaps less obvious is the group that Gardner has captured which we believe is an African American family.

Mid-1860s: Unidentified Family (New York)

This CDV portrait shows three unidentified children, presumably siblings reading a book on one of the cloth colored tables common in early photographs. There are three children, about 5-12 years old. They are nicely posed reading a book. At first glance it looks like two girls and a boy, but actually it is two boys and a girl. Notice the girl's center hair part and the boys' side parts. The girls wears a blouse with enrodiery and a checked skirt. The boys wear cut-away jacket suits with long pants. The yonger boy has two hair parts parts and loosely done ringlet curls. Given their clothes and hair styles, we would guess they came from a comfortable, but not well-to do family. The portrait is undated but looks to have been taken in the Civil War era. There is no revenue stamp so it wouuld have probably been taken just before or after 1864-66. The studio was Maurice Stadtfeld in New York City. It was a quality studio on Broadway.

Mid-1860s: Philadelphis Military School Boys (Pennsylvania)

These three Philadelphia brothers are unidentified. The CDV portrait shows brother afed about 4-13 years old. To og the boys look to be wearing their military school uniforms. There are no badges showing the name of the school. The older bou has been awared a rank. They wear their multiple button jackets prtially open. and hold their kepi caps. For reasons we do not fully understand, many American private schools at the time were military schools. These schools existed in both the North and South. This was an Amereican phenomenon and not a European tradition. As fees were required, the boys involved came from substantial families. Their little brother is not yet school age. He wears a button-on suit with a ruffled collar and long knickers with white stockings. Shortend-length pants at the time hd begun to beome popular, but only for rather young boys. The younger boy seems to have a powder home, perhps a Family heirloom. The younger boy has ringlet curls. His older brothers have rther casually done hair, but over the ears. The CDV is undated, but we would guess was taken in the mid-1860s, perhaps after the Civil War. The set and pose far from the camera strongly suggests the 1860s, although the early-70s is possible. The studio was F.S. Keeler in Philadelphia.

Mid-1860s: Young family (Unknown state)

This CDV portrait shows an unidentified young family, meabing several younger children. The father looks older than the mother, not uncommon in the 19th century. There are four children, a baby, two gils and a boy. They look to age from a few mnths to about 8-9 yer old. The boy is proably about 5 years old and weaks a checked kilt suit with a small ruff at the collar. Bollars in he 60s tended to be very small. He seems to nbe erat=ring a matching vest-like garment under the jacjrt butwe do nit see the buttoins that go with avest. He weas socks rather than long stockings. We see that in the 1860s, but not commomly by the 70s when long stockings became standard. The girl weas a white blouse with a prim bow and skirt which was not common in 19th century portrits. Usually girls wore dresses in these formal 19th century portraits. We believe that blouses and skirts were more common than suggested by the photographic record. The portait is undated. We believe the portait was taken in the mid-1860s, but after the Civil War becuse there is no revenue stamp. The dating is not certain, but items suggesting the 1860s are the small collar, the socks, a CDV rather than a cabinet card, and the plain background.

1869: Wealthy Brown Family (New York)

This Johnson work is a depiction of the welthy Brown family in their home. It was painted in 1869 based on a Mathew Brady photograoh. James Brown (1791-1877) was a partner in the Brown Brothers & Co. banking firm. He is shown with his wife, Eliza, and their grandson William in their New York City mansion. The scene is set in their amazing parlor. It was presumably done as a commissioned portrait. Images like this provide valuable detailsabout family life tht the much more common studio photographic portaits can not offer. The dazzling Renaissance Revival-style parlor was designed by the Frenchman Louis Marcotte in 1846. It is a example of the luxurious lifestyles of Gilded Age capitalists. Critics xlaim that the painting was as more of a inditement of wealth and prilige than a mere family portrait. And Johnson did more commonly depoct ordinary people. We have no isdea what was on his mind. He of course had to make a living and people like the Brown's help to pay the bills. There is no doubt, hoever, tht the portrait is clearly as much about the Bron's family as about the Browns themselves. Amid the display of wealth and possession, Johnston has added a characteritic touch, little William who is either coming or going on a n outing, perhpsto a park has interupted his ganffather who is reding the newspapr. Both he and his wife are very indulgent about the interuption. The nanny who presumably is caring foe William is not depicted.

Late-1860s: Young family (Pennsylvania)

This cabinet card shows a young family with four young children. They are not identified, but look to be about 1-8 years old. Mother and farher are well, but plainly dressed. Thbere is a baby aliong with two boys and a girl. The girl wears a kind of jacketed dress with a large collar. The younger boy waes a buttoin blouse and pants affair. His older brother wears a vested cut-away jacket suit. Both boys appear to be wearing shortened-length pants, but very long knee pants reaching almost to the ankles. We use tge tern knee oants as a ggeneric term as they would eventually done at knee lkength, but when they first appeared, as we see here were longer and done basically at calf-length. This at a time that knee-pants were just beginning to catch on for school-age boys. We can not date the portrait with any precission. We would guess that it was taken in the late-1860s, but the early-70s is certainly possible. The studio was Kellmer's Photograph Parlors in Hazleton, Pennsylvania.

1860s-70s: The Bryan Family (Illinois)

We have some portraits of the Bryan family, a wealthy Chicago family. We do not know much about gthem, except they were wealthy and traveled to Englasnd. We have some CDV portraits of the boys in the family. Infortunately the portraits are not dated, but they look like the 1860s-70s to us.


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Created: 12:48 AM 1/31/2007
Last updated: 7:34 AM 10/15/2022