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Winners of ...

The Challenge 

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Year After Year  

Seeing the larger version is a must, to appreciate the work.

 

2011

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Wow! No Great Challenges Since 2011! 

 

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2005

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Photo Dating Children Fashions by Decade

1840 - 1910, Infants and Toddlers

1840 Through 1940, Older Kids 

1840 - 1910 Infants (12months) and toddlers.

Dating infants is best achieved by dating the photographic process, we stress this enough. See "History of Photographic Processes". The image can be on copper, glass, tin, or paper. The shape, color, size and information on them can also give clue as to the decade. The background or any object visible can be researched. 

If you can't determine the physical properties it was made of then you have to try to scrutinize the clothes. In all decades it was the custom to add elements of the current clothing trends of adults to children's clothes including the white gown on infants. The collar may be wide like the 1890's or sleeves off the shoulder like in the  1840s and 50s, the scalloped hems in 1870s. All infants boys and girls wore long dresses like these until they could walk. As they got older and began to crawl they would get shorter. 

I like to quote a Godey's book that explains trending fashions overlapping decades," Fashions creep into vogue and out again with such stealth that the center of popularity can only be approximated. This chronology consequently, is variable and by no means all-inclusive."

By repeating what we see in each photograph you will develop a sense of what to look for. You will start to recognize what is the same and the differences of each decade as they overlap and drop off completely. 

 

1840 to 1850 would be a daguerreotype or ambrotype. 

This toddler has off the shoulder sleeves tied with bows and pleats and a full skirt.

Photographer hand painted a touch of color

They are called "case images" and can be made of copper in the case of the Daguerreotype, glass such as the Ambrotype and later in around 1860's, thin iron called Tintypes.

See "History of Photographic Processes".

 

 

 

 

1840 to 1850 daguerreotype or ambrotype

This infant has off the shoulder dress, seen better in the tintype below. The detail in infant clothing is usually lost due to being white, luckily the mother gives away the decade.

Photographer hand painted a touch of color

 

 

 

 

 

1860s case image, is possibly a Daguerreotype, Ambrotype and in this case Tintype. 

Photographer hand painted a touch of color

Popular custom of photographing children with a parent hiding.

Bare shoulders

Scalloped edge hem.

Plane background

 

 

 

 

 

1868 card de visit in several pastel colors and in this case, pale blue mount became very popular with photographers.

Square corners of mount and square photo

Curtain is used to hide the person holding the baby up.

No writing on front mount.

Photographer stamp can also help determine the decade. 

  "History of Photographic Processes".

 

 

 

 

1865

This is not an infant but if you see this little paper frame you have a tintype in a "cartouche".

Tintypes never needed to be in a case because they are really iron and called tin because tinning shears were used to cut them, it was just tradition to put photos in a case. Soon the custom was to put them out of bulky box into envelops called a cartouche, this one is about 1861. When the civil war began the "cartouche" was easier to mail and began to show patriotic symbols. Read more "History of Photographic Processes".

 

The following images are called Albumen photographs made of very thin paper that needed to be mounted or they would curl up. Dating the mount by photography physical property trends are the clue to dating these images. 

 

 

 

1870 card de visit,

narrow long sleeves

scalloped hem

 

 

 

 

 

1880s cabinet card, albumen print

double gold lines

 

 

 

 

1890s 1910

Albumen print on generous mount

Sleeve caps and ruffles

 

  "History of Photographic Processes".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1840 through 1940 older kids

 

Breeching (boys) - Custom of dressing boys in dresses until they are potty trained about the age  from  2-8 years of age. The term came from the name of breeches. The practice came to an end after WWI (1918).

 

 

1840 - 1850

case image out of it's case

plain background

covered ears

middle part

barrel curls

bare shoulders

fingerless gloves

 

 

 

 

 

1840 - 1850

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Dating Notes:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1848

 

Photo Dating Notes:

case image daguerreotype

ringlets/barrel curls

middle part

small white lace collar

off the shoulder seams

pleated bodice

wide sleeves

plain background

 

 

 

1850

Photo Dating Notes:

off the shoulder seams

fan pleated bodice

wide sleeves

coral necklace

short hair, middle part

ears showing, head band

squared toe shoes

holding chair for support

support stand seen behind feet

full body shot

 

 

 

 

 

 

1850 

 

Photo Dating Notes:

Case image, Daguerreotype

bare shoulders

fan pleated bodice

ears showing short hair, middle part

locket

coral necklace

plain background

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Dating Notes:

1850

Case image

bare shoulders

center part in hair

ringlets/barrel curls

cartridge pleads on skirt

plain background

table cloth 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1850

Photo Dating Notes:

Bonnet off the face

large wide bow tie

wide sleeves

wide collar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1850

Photo Dating Notes:

Case image, Daguerreotype

pin curls flat to face

center part in hair

bare shoulders

plain background

 

 

 

1850

 

Photo Dating Notes:

Case image, Daguerreotype

bare shoulders

center part in hair

flat pin curls

cartridge pleads on skirt

plain background

paisley table cloth 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1860 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1860

 

Photo Dating Notes:

case image

fan pleated bodice

wide hem

ringlets/barrel curls

white stockings

coral necklace

plain background

full body shot

 

 

 

 

 

 

1860

Photo Dating Notes:

ringlets/barrel curls, middle parts

bare shoulders

stabilizing stand present behind feet

plain background

pattern floor

full body shot

 

 

 

 

 

 

1860

Photo Dating Notes:

 

Mathew Brady photo

boy with side part

square bow tie

scalloped edge souave jacket

side button boots

plain background

sitting and full body shot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1860

Photo Dating Notes:

short narrow lapels

only top button used

full sleeves

high waist coat

fringe chair

plain backdrop

curtain

light mound with square corners

square photo corners

sitting position

 

 

 

 

 

 

1860

Photo Dating Notes:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1865 

Photo Dating Notes:

Daguerreotype

wide bow tie

turn down collar

wide brim hat

plain background

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1865

Photo Dating Notes:

Souave jacket

of the shoulder seams

pointed bodice

full skirt

full sleeve

fringed chair

plain backdrop

light card stock with single gold line

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1868

 

Photo Dating Notes:

card de visit, albumen print

card stock double gold line trending at this time.

Souave jacket, curl ontop of boys' head.

ringlets on little girl

around this time, dress going out of style.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1868

Photo Dating Notes:

Scotch tartans were at the height of popularity

fringe chair

light color mount

double gold line and square corners on mount

square corners on photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

1868

Photo Dating Notes:

bow tie

full sleeves

double gold line

square corners on photo

sitting position

shoe string shoes with contrast tips

 

 

 

1870

 

 

 

Card de Viste, albumen print

1870 early bustle period pleats were the trend and is reflected in childrens clothing, shown here.

 

 

 

 

 

1870

Photo Dating Notes:

single gold line on mount

light mount

square corners on mount and photo

short narrow lapels

single breast 4 button jacket

pillar backdrop

turn down collar

short hair

square toe shoe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1870

Photo Dating Notes:

tintype

pleated skirt

large lace collars

side button boots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1870

Photo Dating Notes:

double gold line on mount

Lord Fauntleroy suit, large collar with large bow, knee length pants, dark stockings

fur throw rug

no stabilizing tools

standing position

foliage backdrop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1880

 Photo Dating Notes:

1888 James Joyce, author, age six

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Dating Notes:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Lord Fauntlroy

Published in 1886 "Little Lord Fauntlroy" was written by Francis Hodgson Burnett who popularized this style of dress for boys after a character in her book, who was really her own son.  The style appears to be similar to Buster Brown a shoe trademark created in 1902 by Richard Fenton Outcault, "Buster" and his dog, Tiger.  They were as famous in their time as Charlie Brown is today.  The Buster Brown collar is wide, flat, round and sometimes with or without a ruffle, usually worn with a floppy bow tie, characteristic of boys' shirts from 1880-1920.

 

Buster Brown was comic strip created in 1902.  It was a suit; knickers with a short jacket and a huge bow and a matching flat round hat.

There was a book by Frances Hodgson Burnett in 1885 that mentioned this suit that became a fad. Knickers (knickerbockers) were worn by young boys,  The knee pants were full, closed at the knee with buckles, buttons or simply cut off at the knee. The age of boys wearing knee pants gradually increased in the late 1880.

 

 By 1900 even older teenagers, boys of 18 and 19 years of age were commonly wearing knee pants. The pants worn by boys in the 20th Century have varied widely by decade and country. American boys commonly wore knickers in the 1920s and 30s, but in the 1940s increasingly wore long pants. English and European boys commonly wore short pants, but long pants became more common beginning in the 1960s. Since the 1970s American and European boys have begun wearing very similar styles of clothes, both for dress suits as well as casual wear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1910

Photo Dating Notes:

 

a white variation of the lord Fauntleroy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1910

 

Photo Dating Notes:

haircut

wide collar sometimes called "Peter Pan"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Dating Notes:

Norfolk suit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1890

 

 

1890

Photo Dating Notes:

wide white collar

tartan dress

sitting position

light photo mount

square corners on mount and photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1890

Photo Dating Notes:

short hair

bowler

narrow pants

narrow short lapels

turn down collar

bowtie

no stabilizing tools

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1890

Photo Dating Notes:

 

wicker furniture

fur throw rug

side button shoes

short straight bangs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1890

Photo Dating Notes:

 

outdoor scenery backdrop

tartan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1890

Photo Dating Notes:

5x7 Cabinet Card

scalloped edge mount

light color mount

lord fauntleroy collar, bow tie, knee pants, side button shoes

curly bangs

pie crust collar

outdoor scenery backdrop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1890

Photo Dating Notes:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1890

Photo Dating Notes:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1900

 

 

 

 

1900

Photo Dating Notes:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sailor suit in 1910 or was one of the most popular outfits for German boys. Germany was at the time, building the Imperial German Navy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Children's Fashions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Last Update

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 Rev. 06/23/2017

 

 

 

 

 

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