Woman from Malvern, Pennsylvania

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What it is:

Cabinet card measuring 4.25 x 6.25 inches.

What I know about it:

Photographer is Schafer of Malvern, Pennsylvania.  Written on the back is 1896.


I’m guessing the “1896” written on the back is the year.  I’ve learned to be skeptical of things written on the backs of photos (Did someone write that who has actual knowledge of the photo, or somebody years later taking a guess?  Is that a year, or, say, the negative’s serial number? etc.), but this seems about right.  I’m sure she was displaying the height of feminine style for her day, but to me her linebacker shoulders, her tiara-like comb, and her take-no-prisoners gaze make her look downright mighty.  I’m intrigued by her glasses.  Such a graceful design, not to mention the fact that she’s wearing them for her portrait in the first place.  And there appears to be some sort of very thin cord or chain looping behind her head, as if her glasses are attached to something in her hair.  Is that what others are seeing?

10 comments on “Woman from Malvern, Pennsylvania”

  1. The glasses probably have a little earpiece that hooks over the back of the ear. It does look like *something* is looping down from her hair. I have no knowledge of women dangling their pince nez from their hair but I have seen it from their ear.

    • Thank you, I was thinking along the same lines. I was guessing it was probably a chain for her glasses, but I had never seen it attached to the hair.

  2. I’m guessing that this gal is a redhead. So, with your shoulder pads, facial expression, and the glasses, she must have been someone not to mess with.

  3. if those shoulders were all real, she could have invented women’s football 😉

    • If those were real shoulders, this would be one of the “circus freak” portraits of the day, or at least an Olympic athlete, in which case we’d probably be seeing more of her impressive body. 🙂

  4. Definitely a school marm with complete control over her classroom!

  5. I do believe the chain is actually part of the hair comb.

    and I really want her glasses, and to have that noted for the historical record.

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