Mrs. Spaulding and child in San Francisco

Click here to see it larger.


What it is:

Carte de Visite (CDV) measuring 2.5 x 4 inches.


What I know about it:

Photographer is William Shew of San Francisco.  Written on the back in pencil is: Love of Mrs C A Spaulding to Cousin Addie.



I know it was the fashion, and I’ve posted other pictures of it before, but my modern sensibilities can’t help looking at the bare shoulders on this girl and thinking she’s dressed to look like a courtesan, like her mother (assuming that is her mother) is about to set her to work on San Francisco’s Barbary Coast.  But the intention was just the opposite, and the display of her beauty was considered innocent because children were considered inherently innocent.  How attitudes have changed!  On another note, it’s fun for me to see vintage images from San Francisco, where I live.  This photographer’s address, 423 Montgomery, would have been one block from where I currently work.  (The address, on Montgomery between California and Sacramento Streets, no longer exists.)  The photographer, William Shew, apparently had more than one location in San Francisco over the years (including for a while a mobile studio in a sort of wagon carriage).  A brief biography of him can be found here, which makes his life sound rather colorful.


2 comments on “Mrs. Spaulding and child in San Francisco”

  1. So close to where you now work, but yet so far. I like your analysis of the image Matt.

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