*** United States families clothes: 1910s

United States Boys' Clothes: Family Images, 1910s

American family 1910s
Figure 1.--This family portrait comes from "American Magazine" (April, 1913, p. 35). It shows Madame Louise Homer, a famous Metropolitan Opera contralto, with her children. In private life she was Mrs. Sidney Homer. The photo shows her with her four children. The oldest is a boy of about 10 or 11 years of age, who wears a Norfolk style suit with an Eton collar, above-the-knee knickers, and black long stockings.

HBC has collected images of quite a few American families in the 1910s. Many boys wore flat caps. Younger boys wore sailor caps and hats in different styles. We see boys wearing tunic suits, Fauntleroy suits, sailor suits, an Norfolk suits. Eton collars are worn by some boys. Most boys wear kneepants or knickers. The Norfolk suit was a very popular style. During the Summer boys might wear fancy blouses without jackets. Girls all wear dresses. Many biys have bangs. We note some boys have their hair parted in the middle. Hair bows were very popular with the girls. Many boys went barefoot in the Summer, especially in small towns and rural areas. As in the 1900s, we continu to see this in formal portrits, especially in the South. Boys in the South commonly ent barefoot, but until the 1890s, even during the early-1890s,they usuall put shoes and stovkings om for a formal photographic portrait. This was becoming less common by the end of the decade. Most children continued to wear long stockings when wearing shoes which had been the case since the mid-19th century.

1910: Ford Children (Oklahoma)

This is a studio photographi portrait of the four children taken in New Cordell, Oklahoma. Oklamoma is located at the juncture of the Southwest, South, amd Mid-west. In many ways it is cultyurally most assoiciatd with Texas and the South. The photograph was taken in 1910. There are four chilren who look to be about 4-10 years old. The girls wear similar white dresses with white hair bows, white long stockings,m and black strap shoes. The youngr boy wears a sailor suit. His slight;y older brother wears a blouse or shirt, perhaps with a detachable collar. Both boys are barefoot. A reader believes that they are barefoot by choice. We are inclined to agrre. If their parents could afford shoes for the girls, it is likely they could for the boys. The boys probably fojund it more comprtable to go barefoot, although we are not entirely sure if this was because of the shoes or the long stockings that went along with the shoes. And mother who clearly dressed up the children for the portrait did not object. Clearly shoes were not een as necesary when dressung up boys at the time, although this caried refionally and socially. We see quite a few examples of this in the 1900s and 10s, especially the early-10s.

1910: White Family (Unknown State)

Here we a have a 10 x 8 inch cabinet card studio portrait of the George H. White family. It has one of he many new mount styles that became poular after the turn-of-the 20th century, often with brownish or greyish shades. It was sent as a Christmas greeting to a friend or family member in 1910 -- Mrs. Chas Litchfield. There are seven family members. Mom and dad are George H. and we believe Winnie M. White. The children look to be about 1-13 years old. Here we have younger girls, but older teens also wore hair bows. They are Edwina F., Rowina A., Merle H, Losin N. and Louise A. The girls wears white dresses and what we think would have been called a sailor dress. The most notable feature is the hair bows the girls are sporting. The 1910s were the peak of popularity for hair bows. Some girls had huge bows. Merle wears a tunic suit. This was a popular style for boys (1900s-10s).

About 1910: Buse Farm Family (Misisippi)

We have a family portrait of the Buse family. They lived in the Oak Grove area of Itawamba County, Mississippi. John Buse married Julia Meeks in 1879 and Clemmie Tumer in 1901. Probably this photo was taken after the second marriage. We suspect the late-1900s or rarly-1910s because overalls were not that common in the early 1900s. and is considtent with the mrrige date. The younger boys are wearing overalls with ruffled collar blouses. They probably did not have dress trousers. Bare feet were very common in southern States. Even for portraits like this we see boys barefoot. This is not a studio portrait, but was taken by an itinerate photographer in front of their home. We are not sure if the family were sharrcroppers or owned the farm.

1910: Unidentified Farm Family (Wisconsin)

This RPPC AZO postcard was mailed in 1910. It pictures mom and dad with the four children. Dad has a mustache and wears a three-piece suit. He holds a boy about 2 years old wearing a saolor tunic suit. Mom and the girls wear white dresses. The girls wears matching dresses and long stockings. They lived near Blackwell, Wisconsin. They live in a log and clap-board home. Note the oil paper windows. Their home was just as interesting as their clothing. Presumably dad built it. They surely were a farm family.

Early-1910s: Affluent fmilily (Unknown location)

Here we have a portrait of an unidentified american family out for what looks like a Sunday drive after church. The family is all done up in their Sunday best. The portrait is undated, but looks to us like he early 1910s. We do not recognize the make and date of the automobile, but car experts could probably identify it. The family all seems to be enjoying their Sunday drive. The driver has what looks like a chaufer's cap, but we are not sure if he is the chaufer or the father. The pose does not suggest a chaufr to us. The mother is pictured with a great period hat. There are four children who look about 5-13 yeats of age. The girls wear white dresses with hair bows. One girl wears socks and the other stockings. The younger boy wears a traditional sailor suit with white sicks. His older brother wears a knickets suit with what may be a Boy Scout hat and black long stockings. The background appears to be a weaping willow tree, suggesting a wide ramge of possible locations.

Early-1910s: Hooten Family (Texas)

The Hooten family was a large rural Texas family. All we have is the name of the family and the fact that they lived near Lockney, Texas. Lockney is a small town town in Floyd County, in west Texas near the base of the panhandle. It was a town where farmers and ranchers would buy supplies. It was the subject of a PBS POV program, 'Larry v. Lockney' about a school district's mandatory drug testing program (2002). (Typically for POV and PBS the program is a criticism of the local community and America. That is fair enough, but why does the POV series and PBS in general never have programs about the strengths of America?) The Hootens almost certainly were a farm/ranch family if they lived near Lockney. The family consisted of 19 people in three generations. We see the grandparents, adult children, and thge grandchildren. The boys wear a variety of blouses, knee pants and knickers. The younger boys are all bareffoot which was common in Texas at the time. The girls wear plain dresses. The portrait is undated, but looks like the eaerly 1910s to us because we still see some of the younger boys wearing knee pants. The older boys are no longer wearing vlouses wirh Fauntleroy collars, but the younger boy on dad's lap is wearing one. One boy has a small floppy bow. The girls wear plain dresses with long white stockings.

1911: Fuqua Family (Virginia)

This is Mrs. William Fuqua with six of her young children. I'm not sure what etnicity is involved here. The Scotts-Irish were imporyant in settling this area of Virginia and North Carolina. The photograph was taken June 1911 in South Boston, Virginia. South Boston is located in south central Virginia on the Dan River close to the North Carolina line. The Dan played a major role in the Revolutinay War Southern Camapaign. The critical Battle of Guilford Court House was foughtbjust south of the Dan crossings. South Boston became a market town in tobacco growing country. We know nothing about the Fuqua family except that there were quite a few children. It is unclear if hey owned their farm or were share croppers. It is likely that they grew tobacco. The children all look healty and wll fed, but poor. they are dressed very palinly. They are all barefoot which would have been common at the time throughout rural Virginia. One little boys wars a dress. This fashion wasgoing out of style at the time, but still seen anong poor rural families. We suspect that economics and convenince were factors. Notice that the older boy does not wear overalls, a garment that was at the time becoming standar in rural America.

The 1910s: Welch Family (Unknown Western state)

Unfortunately this image is undated and unplaced. We believe that the photograph was taken in the 1910s, possibly in a Western state but we are not sure about that. It is rather an unusual photograph as the father has a horse and the boy a goat. They are out in the country somewhere. We do have, however, the names. From left: unknown wife of Frank Welch, Frank Welch, Leonard Welch (with goat), Nancy Jane Hardin Welch, Solon Orlonzo Welch Sr. The boy wears a flat cap and knickers suit, but is barefoot.

The 1910s: Scudder Family (India)

The photo shows the three Scudder siblings. The Scudders were an American family living in India. The photo was taken in Ranipet, Tamil Nadu, during 1910s. They seem to be a home, perhaps a family compound. We are not sure why the family is in India. Perhaps they are missionary children. There were businessmen in India as well. A missionary family seems more likely. The two older boys wear blouses and ties with with what looks like knickers and knee pants. The younger bioy wears a Fauntkeroy styled outfit. Their sister wears a white dress with twin hair bows. All of the boys and probably the girl as well are barefoot. Notice the pith helmets they all have.

The 1910s: Middle-class Family (Unknown northeastern state)

A Canadian reader has provided some wonderful images of an American family on a summer outing. There are three girls and their little brother. The family is unidentified and we do not know where in the States they lived. We suspect it was somewhere in the northeast. We would guess the photographs were taken in the 1910s, although our readers guess about 1925. He writes, "These snapshots are really artistic. We smell summer like it was during my childhood in Quebec. Something has vanished for modern children. The dresses on the girls are like those still worn by Amish and Mennonites. And the tunic with the leather belt on the boy helps to date the images. I would say about 1925. Look at their posture. The little girl holding her hand up to shiekld her eyes from the strong summer sund. They got permision to take off their long stockings to paddle in the lake and feel water on their legs, but not for long." I like those photos. Children are so natural. It was at that time when they stay childen lnger than on today. A certain taste of innocence. It was those kids who made America.

About 1910: Generational Portrait (Illinois)

We believe this portrait was taken about 1910, but that is only a guess on our part. We do know that the portrait was taken in Chicago Illinois. The portrait is of interest as it shows three generations of an unidentified family. The little boy looks to be about 3 years old and has distibctive sculptured bangs. He wears what looks like a satin Little Lord Fauntleroy suit.

About 1910: Identical Dresses (Minnesota)

Unfortunately we have no information about this family. The portrait was in a group of postcard portraits that were probably from Minnesota. The portrait was undated, but we would guess was taken about 1910, although any time from about 1905-15 is possible. Mother had dressed all the children alike, although there are small differences. There are three children pictured with their mother. At first glance the children all look like girls, but we think one is a boy.

About 1910: Simpson Family (Texas)

Here is the children of James Edward Simpson and Margaret Elizabeth Clark Simpson. They were from Texas, probably in a small town near Fort Worth. Left to right, the siblings are Jesse Newman Simpson, James Murphy Simpson, Vida May Simpson, Opal Edelpha Simpson, Bessie Cumie Simpson. We know that Vida May, in the center, was born in 1900. Since Vida May looks anout 10 years old, the portrait would have been taken about 1910. Thev boys wear blouses and knickers. Thegirls simple dresses. All the children are barefoot except for Vida May. This would have been quite common at the time. Going barefoot was not necesarily a poverty indicator, but affluent familes probably would have had the children in shoes. Note the backdrop and setting. It looks like a very basic, low-price studio.

About 1910: Potter Family (Iowa)

This is a portrait of the M. Potter family. We have no further information about the damily excepo that they lived in Davenport, Iowa. Thecseem to be a wee-to-do famiy. The studio was J.B. Hostetler. The portrait was undatesm but looks to have been taken about 1910. We see a nother seated in a chair surrounded by her three children. The eldest is a girl with long hair, a hairbow, and a light colored dress. She is standing behind her mother's left shoulder. Two younger children are unidentified. They may be boys. They are standing in front of their mother. They have on similar, but not identical sailor outfits. The younger child wears a sailor tunic and thius is probably a boy. The other child wears wht looks like a middy blouse and pleated skirt. This is an outfit a gir would more likely wear. Both have long, curled hair. The woman is wearing a dark skirt or dress with vertical stripes. All the subjects have serious expressions.

About 1910: Modest Income Family (Unknown state)

We found this family portrait difficult to assess. It is an American image, probably taken about 1910. In part we can not see the middle child's entire outfit and thus it is not real clear what the child is wearing. My best guess is a sailor tunic. I am, however, still not real certain if girls wore sailor tunics in America. Tunics seem to have been primarily a boy's garment in Europe. I'm not sure, however, to what extent this was the case in America. I'm tempted to say the child is a girl, but without any certainty. Also we think that the double hair bows were more common for girls. The clothing and basic nature of the photograph suggest that this was not a particularly well to do family. Hair bows for boys were probably more common with prosperous families, especially by the 1910s, but this does not mean that the child here could not have been a boy.

About 1910: Immigrant Family (Unknown northern state)

We do not know the name of this family, but it looks to be an immigrant family photographed about 1910. They are doing piece work in their tenament apartment. Most photographs in HBC are taken in studios or outside. This shows a view of how many immigrant families lived at the time. We are not sure where the photograph was taken. It could be New York City or any large northern city.

1911: Wealthy Family (New York)

Douglas Spedden was an American boy who went everywhere with his parents. They were very wealthy and liked going on European tours. They travelled by ship to Europe and then travelled to lots of places by train. Douglas was then a boy of 7 years. On one occasion they travelled to Paris on a night train. Douglas found this exciting and enjoyed travelling in a sleeping compartment where he had a bed and slept throughout the journey. When the holiday was over they caught the Paris to Cherbourg Boat train and boarded a ship and had an adventurous voyage back to America. The image here was taken in 1911.

1911: Wealthy City Family (New York)

Here we see the New York City 5th Avenue Easter Parade in 1911 with people showing off their new clothes. I think the children are probably brother and sister even though the parents are not walking tgether. The weather can still be quite chilly in New York at Easter hense the marchers are bundled up. (I don't tyhink it was all that common for father and son to march alone or for women to march without their husbands in the 1910s. Notice the girl's very elaborate outfit. The boy wears a wide-brimmed hat (notice the chin strap) with a sailor outfit and warm coat. Notice the gloves in hnis hand.

1911: Yelverton Family (Mississippi)

This photo was taken in Laurel, Mississippi during April 1911. It shows the Yelverton Family. Father, mother and eight children lived in a six-room house. They moved into thi house in 1909 from a farm 50 miles away. Presumably they were share croppers. Father and the four oldest boys worked in the Laurel Cotton Mills. None of the children attended the school. Schooling was not compulsory in Mississippi at the time. This was a general pattern in the South, but Mississippi in the Deep South was one of the most reactinary states and most reluctant to adequayely fund public schools. The boys wear clothing of three style according with their age. The older boys wear trousers with suspenders, shirts, black long stockings and shoes. The middle age boys wear overalls and shirts and go barefoot. The younger boys wear knickers with suspenders and shirts. They also go barefoot.

1912: Wealthy Family (Unknown state)

The McKay began as penilles Irish imigrants in 1840 and became wealthy as a result of silver mining. Here we see the family about 1912. Mother has coordinated the children's outfits, all dressed in white. The middle daughter Ellin married Irving Berlin. We are not sure what happened to her little brother John.

1912: Home Sewer (Unknown state)

A HBC reader writes, "I get the impression that ready-made clothing was widely available in the United States earlier than in many other countries. This may have been because the United States had a large middle class earlier than some other countries." HBC is not sure about this, but it is an important question. Our informatioin on home sewing is very limited at this time. The develpment of sweing machine in America was clearly an important factor. Perhaps even more important factor was the development of consumer credit. The technology of manufacturing a sewing machine was relatively easy for countries like Britain and Germany to copy or develop. Developing a consumer credit system, especially one for low-income consumers was a greater challenge. This was no small matter. It was a factor in America outpacing European industry in the late-19th and early-20th century. And a sewing machine not only mean that a mother could sew better quality clothes more raspidly, but if she was skilled, she could lsaunch a small business. America in the area of consumer credit outpaced every other country in the wiorld. And it meant that most Americans, even those of very modest incomes could afford a sewing machine. American was also a leader in sewer friendly patterns. The Butterick graded paterns may be a factor here. Armed with a sewing machine and easy to use pattern, there was little a sewer of even modest skills could not achieve. We notice much more elaborate embroidery and decoration in many European countries than was the case of children's clothes made in America. Our information on sewing trends in various countries is still quite limited, but it is an important topic that needes to be developed.

1912: Family Estate (Pennsylvania)

Here we see an unidentified boy during April 1912. He wears a white knicker's sailor suit without stripe detailing. The suit is all white, but he has black long stockings. He looks to be about 7 uears old. His little brother looks to be about 3 years old and wears a tunic suit. The family was well to do. They live on an estate in the toney Philadelphia neighborhood of Philadelphia--Chesnut Hill, some times referred to as Philadelphia Garden District. He is showing off a ball and stick game. The 1910s was the last decade American boys wore wide-brimmed sailor caps. The way their brims are turned up or down is charactristic of the 1910s.

1912: Rivard Family (Michigan)

The Joseph Rivard family was photographed near Detroit, Michigan in 1912. The Rivards were a family of farmers, Roman Catholic, and lived in the area that is now the Detroit Metroprolican Airport. Standing in the back row, from left to right, are Cecil, Loyola, Leander, Raymond, and Frances. Sitting, from left to right, are Joseph (son), Joseph Rivard (father) Aurelius, Frances (the mother), and Ruth. The two youngest boys are Cecil (about 14 and wearing above-the-knee knickers with black long stockings) and Joseph (about 11 or 12 in knee pants and black long stockings). We also have a portrait of Loyola Rivard, taken in 1909 when he was about eleven, dressed for his first communion at St. Clement's Church in the Detroit area. Here Loyola is wearing a knee trousers suit with black long stockings.

1912-15: Unidentified Family (Unknown state)

Here we see an unidentified American family family. The images do not giver many clues as to wear the children lived. We might guess the Midwest. There are three boys and three girls spaced fairly evenly from about 3-13 years of age when we first see them in 1912 and 3 years older when we last see them about 1915. The youngest children are are two boys (about 2-3 years old), the older boy is about 9 years old and the oldest children are the girls (about 8-13 years). We see some formal portraits of the children. And we see the older boy teaching the two younger boys how to box. He jmight get into trouble for that today, but was probably viewed differently at the time. And in the days before air conditioning the children are cooling off in a stream by taking off their shoes and stockings. The younger boys wear a variety of clothes including tunic suits and what looks like matching Oliver Twist suits. They also wear H-bar shorts/knee pants which were not all that common in America. Their older brother wears knickers with a detacable collar when dressing up. Their susterts wear dresses. Some seem to be wearing pinafotes over dresses.

1913: Johnson Family (Alabama)

Here we see James William Johnson and his family in 1913. They lived in Alabama. The photo was taken in front of the family home. We are not sure if he owned the fasrm or they were sharecroppers. The children have their wagon in the photograph. I imagine they got a lot of fun out of the waggon. The boys wear knickers, white shirts and ties. The girl wears a white dress, black long stocking and strap shoes. It sas very common for pre-teen children to go barefoot in the South. Poverty was a factor. Another factor was the summer heat. Girls also went barefoot, but it was more common for boys.

1913: Veal Family (Georgia)

The photograph shows the Jo Veal and his family in April 1913. There were six children, there boys and three girls. They lived in Lindale, Georgia. The children are all barefoot. The boys wear knee pants suits. Knee pants were out of style at the time. The girls wear print dresses that seem to need a good wash. We do not know much about the family, but the father and the three sons worked in the local mill. The mill wages were very lowe, but probably worked out better than share cropping. The image raises a number of issues. It is likely thast Veal and his wife gave from farm families which is why he has a lsarge family even though he can not support them very well. Georgia and other states had both weak or no child labor laws and compulsdory school attendance law. The absence of school artendance laws in part reflected the reluctance for blacks to attend school. Jo himself presumably was uneducated and thus saw no real need for the boys to attend school. The South at the time was the poorest part of the country.

1913: Farm Family (Texas)

This photograph shows a farm familg in West Texas ajacent to Oklahoma. East Texas iwas relatively well-wattered. West Texas wa more arid. The South Plains was a plains grassland which in west Texas was set on a plateau. During a period of ubusually good rainsd, it helpped produce the agricultural bountty that fed Europe during and after World War I with the exception of a realyively short drpught (1916-17). A decade later was part of the Dust Bowl whuch broght havoc and dispair to the people of the Southern Plains. This where the Oakies came from. The children here wear pain dresses and knickerrs play suits vand are all barefoot. Notice that overalls are not yet in evidence. There seem to be two grandmothers present. Notice the home is a recently built palnk house. The Southern Plains were not settled for some time becuse of the the esablishment of large cattle ranches after the Civil War. (This was possivle only when the re=railroads began to mlatvWestern nlines making it oissible toget cattle to Eastern markets. Farmers in East Texas began to settle the areas (1880s) only slightly befoire Oklahoma Territiry. The first homes were siod houses. Only later did board homes like this appear. With ample rainfall, the Southrr Plasnis were exrremely poroductive. The farmes busted the sod top soil and plsnted grains. That worked well as long as the rains came. The sttlement of the Southern Plains significantly added to American agricuktural poroduction.

1913: Opera Singer (New York)

This family portrait comes from American Magazine (April, 1913, p. 35). It shows Madame Louise Homer, a famous Metropolitan Opera contralto, with her children. In private life she was Mrs. Sidney Homer. The photo shows her with her four children. The oldest is a boy of about 10 or 11 years of age, who wears a Norfolk style suit with an Eton collar, above-the-knee knickers, and black long stockings. He seems to be stylishly outfitted with a walking stick that he holds in his right hand. The two girls wear white pleated and belted dresses with long white stockings and high shoes with button closures. Madame Homer is seated. The identity of the two standing adults is not clear. The gentleman may be Mr. Sidney Homer, the famous singer's husband.

1913: Family Children (Unknown state)

This postcard snapshot show the three children of a family in 1913. The children look to range from unfancy to about 6 years old. The baby is sitting in a beautiful antique wicker pram, a precious older sister with a hair bow, and big brother outfitted in a sailor suit. Their surroundings are so humble that they seem to be living in a junk yard. The environment is in sharp contrast to their attire. This rppc post card is postally unused. The date June 8, 1913 is written on the back.

1914: Three Generations (Arkansas)

Here we have a wonderful portrait of three generations of an America family taken in Bradley County, Arkansas. The grandparenrs were Thomas Henry and Sarah Voss Cox Stanfield. The parents were Lonnie and Katie McDougald. The children were Henry (oldest), Rufus (middle) and Beatrice (the baby). The boys wears blouses, kneepants, and were barefoot. It was very common for American boys, especially in the South, to go barefoot during the Summer. While wealthy children did not common go barefoot, it was common for poor children and many middle-class children to go barefoot. Age was another factor, younger children were more likely to go barefoot than older children. Here even for a formal portrait the boys are barefoot.

1914: Kane Brothers (New York)

Here we have a portrait of the five Kane brothers, Harold, Jasper, Charles, Arthur, and Edward. The photo was taken in Bedford Styvesant, a section of Brooklyn, in 1914. Jasper Herbert Kane, the boy in the center of the back row (1903-2004), grew up to be a distinguished biochemist who was active in moving antibiotics (such as penicillin) from the laboratory to commercial production during World Ward II, and is thus responsible for helping to save many lives. He lived to be 101 years old. Harold (top left) is about 10, Jasper (top center) is 11, and Charles (top right) is about 12 or 13. The younger boys (Arthur, bottom left) and Edward (bottom right) seem to be twins and are about 7 years of age. The Kanes were a large Catholic family. The older boys seem to be wearing above-the-knee knicker suits with black long stockings. We can see Charles's knickers and stockings. Their shirts have Eton collars, and they wear neat four-in-hand ties. The twins, dressed identically, wear black button-on velvet knee pants with white ornamental buttons above the hem and white blouses with matching black velvet collars and cuffs. They wear the new style beige long stockings held up by supporters. The twins seem to have slightly different hair styles. Arthur has bangs while Edward has a mop of curly hair. Note the string ties and the large white buttons. We can't see the shoes, but they are probably hightop leather shoes, a common style in 1914.

The 1910s: Large Family (Unknown state)

Here we have an unidentified family cabint card portrait with six children, four girls, a boy and a baby who may be a girl or boy. More children may be coming. There is no information associated with the family. All the have is the image to go on. It is one of the new style cards tht ppeared ar the turn if the 20th century. In this case almost all of the front was taken up by the image with very small margins. The style of the cabinet card, the tan colored mount, all the hair bows, the size of the bows, and the boy's Norfolk knickers suit, all point to the 1910s. We would say probaly mid decade. The children look to be about 1-14 years old. The girls all wear similar white dresses with thrir matching haor bows. The girls also all wear white long stockings. It is difficult to ake out, but the boy looks to have dark long stockings. Large families were common in the 19th century when families lived on the farm and provided needed labor, but America by the 1910s was very close to the 1920s when the majority of the population for the first time was urban, And this mean that the size of families were falling. This family would not have been seen as particularly lasrge in the 19th century, bu it wold hve been seen a good sized famy by the 1900s.

Mid-1910s: The Grandkids (Unknown state)

This Amrrican cabinet card portrait has no accompanying information. We do not know who they are or where in America they live. It is not dated, but based on the clothes and hairbow as wll as the mount, we suspect the 1910s. Hairbows were espcially popular in the 90s. We believe the image showss the grandkids visting their grandparents. We see six kids, in addition to the baby there are three girls and two boys. They look to be about 2-13 years old. It is possible they are from the same fmily, but we suspect two or three families are more likely. The girls wear plain dresses, all with very plain necklines. Two are waistless. One has a waistline. The boys both have sailor outfits. One boy has longish hair and wears a sailor tunic. The other boy has short hair and a sailor blouse. All th children except for the baby have dark long stockings. They look to be black, but the girl at the right may have colored stockings.

1915: The Dorrance Family (Possibly Pennsylvania)

Here we have an indoor portrait of of the Dorrance family. It looks to us likea grandfather and his granson who looks to be about 10 years old. We know nothing about the family, but given how they are dressed they seem to be a family in confortable circumstances. The only Dorrance family we have ever heard of was connected with the Cambell Soup family. Taking indoor photographs at the time was difficult, meaning a decree of photograpic competence alao suggesting comfortable circumstances. The two or reading books. The boys ears a knee pants suit. American boys at the time allmost always wore long stockings with suits. We suspect it was summer and he was more comfortable without the stockings. They might even be a summer cottage. We might have guessed the photograph was takena few years earlier because he was wearing knee pants and not knickers. The fact that a boy is quitely reading a book inside with his grandfather in the summerr, also suggesting a well off, educated family.

The 1910s: Raguet Farm Family (Unkown northern state)

Here was have a rural family, the George Raguet family although the writing on the back is indistunct. Thy look toi be a farm family. Notice the overalls. The United States began wityh only a few small citiu, more like towns. Urbanization steadinly increased duing the 19th century, espcially after the Civil War (1861-65). It was not until the 1920s, however, that the majority of Americans lived in urban areas. The postcard-back photograph here is undated, but we know it was taken in the 1910s, in part because of the AZO stamp box (four tringles up) as well as the clothing styles. Notice the all metal wagon, one of an American boy's prized possessions. And we see a great Jack Russel dog. You can imagine the fun that the boys got up with the pooch. The Norfolk knickers suit and flat cap were a classic. Overalls were widely worn by boys throuhut America beginning in the late-1900s decade. The girls wear white dresses.

1918: Oscar Setter Family (Wisconsin)

This photo was taken in Polk County, Wisconsin in 1918. It shows Oscar Setter, his wife Anne Martha Svendsen and the first 19 of their 20 children. The last daughter, Anita, was born in 1919. Oscar and Anne Martha emigrated from Norway. Many Europeans emigrated to American in the late-19th and early-20th century. Many sought industrial jobs in the expanding cities of the Mid-West. Large numbers of Scandinavians (Norwegians and Swedes) , however, migrated to the upper Midwest (especially Minnesota and Wisconsin) where they established farms. The Setter family looks to be one of these immigrant farm families. Large families were an advantage for farming as there were so many jobs that needed to be done. We are sure, however, just when Setter entered the United States.

Late-1910s: Unidentified Small Town Family (Unknown state)

This family snapshot shows the five children of an unidentified family. The background looks to us like a small-town, perhaps in the Midwest. The children look to be about 6-18 years old. The snapshot is undated, but we would guess it was taken in the 1910s. The early-20s is possible but the hair bows, cap, long stockings, and high-top footwear suggest to us the 1910s is the more likely. The fact that the belt is the only Norfolk element suggests the late-1910s to us. We can only clearly see the clothes that the children in front or wearing. The boy wears a flat cap, a lapel jacket with a Norfolk belt, necktie, black long stockings and high-top shoes. His younger sisters are dressed alike with hair bows, very plain white dresses, white long stockings, and high-top shoes.

1918: Sisson Family (New York)

Here we see three siblings of the prominent Sisson family, Potsdam, New York (St.Lawrence County) photographed professionally by Bachraily (?) in 1918. From left to right the children are Barbara King Sisson (8 years old), Francis T. E. Sisson Jr. (5 1/2 years old), and Margaret Thompson Sisson (12 years old). Frank (as Francis was known) later graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and worked for the family firm, the Raquette River Paper Company. He also sold insurance. He was a member of the Potsdam Hospital Board of Trustees for 24 years and president for 10 years. He was also a member of the St. Lawrence County National Bank Board of Directors. Frank wears a fashionable white sailor suit with black scarf and long white, finely ribbed long stockings held in place by supporters (undoubtedly attached by safety pins to an underwaist). The girls wear white dresses with lace trimming and also, very probably, long white stockings.

1918/19: Unidentified Front Porch (Unknown western state)

This family on their front porch (from about 1918 or 1919) is unidentified. It is a wonderful image because it shows the front porch. This was a very important part of America in the early 20th century. I think it was probably taken somewhere in the American west (note the father's wide-brimmed hat). The child in white is, I think, a boy, although it is hard to tell whether he/she is wearing a white dress or knee pants with white stockings. The haircut makes me think that the child is a boy, but the fullness around the child's lap looks a bit more like a dress than trousers. While this is difficult tp assess, it is a wonderful period image. Particullarly impressive is mom. I am guessing that the children here toed the line.

About 1918/20: Country Outing (New York)

I think this is an interesting photo, probably taken around 1918-20, showing a boy, who looks about 12 years old, with either his mother or his big sister. (we tend toi think mther because such heavy girls were un common at the time. There is a clear family resemblance. At first we thought this must be from the 1920s but the length of the woman's dress makes us incline to the earlier date. They are out in the country with their collie dog, perhaps on a berry-picking expedition since the boy is carrying an empty white enamleled bucket, perhpas for collection of berries. The Model-T made such expeditions possible. The boy is wearing a warm jacket like a sweater with knit collar and a string closure at the neck. He seems to have a white shirt on underneath. He wears above-the-knee knickers with the customary long black stockings, not very tautly gartered. The looseness of the black stockings may indicate long underwear underneath since this was common practice, but we are just guessing here. The woman beside him looks quite young and may be the boy's big sister rather than his mother. The picture is a snapshot found in a shop in upper New York state, which may be a clue to the region.

1919: Farm Family (Vermont)

A HBC reader tells us, "I was looking through some of mu old family pictures and found this one of my grand parents with my father sitting on my grandpa's lap. Father is wearing a dress and my grandmother and aunt are to the right. Gad is now in 2003 87 years old and he looks to be about 5 years old in the picture. I thought you should have it for HBC as pictures of boys in dresses are rare, especially after World War I."

1919: Farm Family (Arkansas)

The 1910s were a prosperous era for rural America. The War in Europe created a strong demand for farm products. As a result, prices were relatively high. This Arkansas farm looks quiteprosperous. They look to be on an family outing in a relatively new car. Notice the older brother wearing a fedora hat and a white shirt with bib-front overalls. His little brother wears a sailor suit with knickers and long stockings. Another brother at the right wears a flat cap. After the War the farm economy crashed in the 1920s well before The problems in rural America grew even woese when poor agricultural methods and drought created the Dust Bowl in the mid20s. Then things became even worse when the Wall Street crash set off the Great Depression (1929). Will Rogers was to say, "America was the only country ever to gp to the poor house in an automobile.

1918-19: Affluent Family (Unknon state)

This is an interesting family image. Notice how proud the two women are of the boys all smartly dressed up. And dad is not absent. Notice the shadow, he is taing the photograph. A nice family image I think. The two boys, surely brothers, are wearing fashionable, identical white or light-colored Norfolk knicker suits with black long stockings. The boys are presumably brothers. They look about 9-11 years old. They are with two women, one of which must be their mother. They look to be waring shirts with sports collars, but with neck ties. Unfortunately the collars are a little indestinct. The portrait is undated, but we suspect was taken in the early 1920s. They look to be from an affluent family. Notice the black long stockings. Wearing them with white suits demonstrates just how popular these black long stockings were in the early 20th century. One helpful clue un dateing this snapshot is the women's long skirts. We know these skirts disappeared in the early 20th century, but we are not yet sure precisely when. Here the big mail order catalogs will provide some helpful clues. A HBC Canadia reader estimated the date as 1922-23. After some discussion, he writes, "Yes, I can see how you might think it could be the late 1910s--possibly 1918-19--and I might revise my opinion slightly since I notice these long skirts throughout the 1910s in the Eaton's catalogues.

1919: City Family (Pennsylvania)

Here we have a wonderful photograph of a Pittsburgh family in 1919. An interesting front porch scene in 1919 in Piitsburgh showing the Wymard family with their three children. The boy sitting on the railing wears a knee pants suit (or is it an above-the-knee-knicker suit?) with long black stockings. He seems to be about 10 or 11 years old. The younger brother sitting on the steps wears a knee pants suit with matching trousers and dark shirt and long white (or possibly beige) stockings. The younger boy seems to be about 6 years old. This is very much a lower-income middle-class family, apparently.

1919: George Vance Family (California)

This is the George Vance family wuth the family pooch. They look to be a prosperous middle-class family. We see Mr. Vance with his wife and son. We do not know the boy's name. They lived in Long Beach, California. Notce the palm trees. The snapshot was taken in 1919. As it is Califonia, we are not sure about the season. Father wears a single-breasted suit. Mother's blouse and long skirt were very common at the time. The boy looks to be about 13 years old. He wears a suit and tie. The suit is a norfolk knickers suit worn with long stockings. Black long stockings were very common at the time. These seem to ba a color to match the suit. We would guess brown. Knicekrs were virtually univerasl for American boys in the 1910s.

1919: Unidentified Family (Unknown state)

Here we have a studio portrait of two American brothers and a cousin taken in 1919. Unfortunatelywe do not know the famoly name. We also don't know the location other than it was somewhere in the United States. The oldest brother, whose name is Clair, seems to be about 8 or 9 years old. Notice that he wears knickers that buckle rather loosely below his knees and dark long stockings. He wears a collar with rounded points almost like a small Eton collar with a necktie and tie clip. Interestingly he has his sleeves partly rolled up to just below his elbows. Clair's younger brother, about 5 years old, sits on the window sill of a half open casement window. We don't know his name, but he wears knee pants that button on to a white, short-sleeved shirtwaist with large collar. Notice the exposed rubber button of his hose supporter, worn to hold up his white long stockings, and the double-strap black shoes. The boy in the center, who seems to be about 4 years old is called Roy and is a cousin of the other two boys. It is not very coomon for cousins to be dressed identically. Roy wears the same kind of button-on knee pants and shirtwaist as his cousin, but seems to have white long stockings and single-strap shoes.

Undated Family (Unknown state)

This portrait came to us without any information. It looks like a family portrait, but we don't see the parents. We see children and young adults in front a wooden house. We are almost positive that the portrait was taken in the 1910s. One factor here is the hats. The boys and men are wearing hats that I think would be called homburgs. Perhaps a reader will know more anout the hats. These hats and the way the brims are done are characteristic of the 1910s. Also the facts tjhat the boys are wering knickers suggests the 1910s rather than the 1900s. It could be the early 20s, but the 10s seem more likely. The girls wear white summer dresses.


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Created: 2:48 AM 3/10/2005
Last edited: 4:08 AM 4/18/2023