Figure 1.--This white border snapshot shows Carl who looks to be about 5 years old. We do not know what his last name was or where he was from. It looks to be somewhere in the Borth--notice th snow. The photograph is undated but was probably taken about 1910. Mother has written on the back, "This is Carl when he still wore curls, wasn't he nice?" The snapshot shows Carl's home which suggest to us that it was working-class or lower-middle class family. Click on the image for a closer look.

Ringlet Curls: Social Class Connotations--Workingclass

Clealy ringlet curls were not a style for a mother who had to work or take in jobs like laundry or sewing. Likewise it was not practical for boys who had to work and quite young boys from poor families were still being employed in the late-19th and early-20th Century. Working peopl did not have the time or money for such afivolus fashion. And they were less likely to have studio portraits taken. Thus we have next to no mages of working-class boys with ringlet curls. It is of course not possible to aassess social class with any certaintly from a portrait, but is is possible to make some bassic assumptions. And with the advent of the snapshot at the turn-of-the 20th cebtury, assessing social class become easier. Another issue is country differences. The second half of the 19th century saw the rise of a new industrial power--the United Atates. By the end of the century, the United States had bcome the world's leading industrial power, exceeding the production of either Britain or Germany. And not only did American output exceed tht of the European industrial powers, but wages paid American industrial workers and living standards exceeded that of European workers. This set in motion a the massive Europen emigration to the United States. Thus more American workers could afford photographic potrait, more thn was th case of European workers. And this we have images showing American boys from either working-class or lower middle-class with ringlet curls.


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Created: 5:03 AM 7/8/2017
Last edited: 5:03 AM 7/8/2017