Young woman in Greenfield, Massachusetts

By: usermattw

May 06 2013

Tags: , ,

Category: Women


Click here to view it larger.

What it is:

Cabinet card measuring 4.25 x 6.5 inches.

What I know about it:

Photographer is C. Dunklee of Greenfield, Massachusetts.  Otherwise undated and unidentified.


One of the movies I watched this weekend was Cimarron, which I had been curious to see since it was one of the earliest movies to win the Oscar for Best Picture.  Unfortunately, I wouldn’t say it aged especially well, and it reaffirmed my vaguely held sense than I’m not a huge Edna Ferber fan.  But it was interesting on some levels anyway.  It was set in Osage, Oklahoma, a fictional boom town that sprung up after the not-fictional Oklahoma Land Rush.  The film’s production spared no expense in recreating this town in the middle of some California ranch, and I’ve read that it was noted for its historical authenticity.  But I suppose that’s not such a huge stretch.  While it may seem like distant history to us, the movie was only made about forty years after the event, much like making a movie today set in the early 1970s.  So given that it was a fictional Hollywood epic, it was still interesting to watch it for the depiction of a way of life from a different era.  One small moment from the film that relates to today’s photo was when the heroine (played by Irene Dunne), in a scene set in 1893, wore a dress with balloon sleeves.  Other characters remarked that, as the town’s leading lady of fashion, she would naturally be the first in town to have them, and that they are apparently all the rage at the Chicago World’s Fair.  The heroine herself remarked, “Cousin Bella writes they’ll be even fuller by autumn.”  What I find so interesting about this is the way fashion traveled in an age before the mass media we have today.  I suppose somebody living in the middle of a remote territory might very well have relied on a photo like this sent from a relative to get a sense of what was being worn in more fashionable places.

2 comments on “Young woman in Greenfield, Massachusetts”

  1. Funny–I always thought “Cimarron” was set in some exotic locale, just from the sound of the title.

    • Maybe you’re thinking of Tolkien’s “Silmarillion”? I knew the movie was a western, but I didn’t realize “Cimarron” was an old name for what is now the Oklahoma Panhandle.

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