Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Lizzie's Dress

10th ed. Smile for the Camera "Costume"

Lizzie Schofield (Elizabeth Lyon Schofield) was my 2nd great grand aunt. Her brother Joseph was one of my 2nd great grandfathers. This photo of her in this dress comes to me from the kindness of Joe Bott at with the photo of her brother Joseph and probably was taken at the Schofield Photography Studio in Westerly, RI. which was owned by family members. [Blog Post of Digital Story]

Elizabeth's ancestors came from England and opened the first woolen textile mill in America. [Blog Post: Wild and Wooley] I expect she was fond of dresses.

I pulled out Maureen Taylor's book, More Dating Old Photographs 1840-1929, to see if I could inexpertly (that's guess) figure out if this dress was of Civil War era or a bit later. She is wearing hoops and a cameo pin. The sleeves are quite different and the trim seems like velvet so it looks about this period. Lizzie is not smiling. She displays the same dark circles under her eyes as her brother and her brother's daughter my great-grandmother Nellie.

Lizzie was the wife of Charles L. Mann and her gravestone is on my list to locate next spring. She is buried with her husband and her son. When I find these gravestones, I plan to blog more about them as I found out quite a lot in just a few hours.

For now, Elizabeth is just a lovely example of family photos and as there are no descendants to remember her, she's mine to keep. I am glad I don't have to wear hoops, aren't you?


Velda said...

Actually, I'd love to live in there era for just a few days (or more if I could handle it) --- what a gorgeous dress....thank you for sharing this photo :)

Bob Franks said...

A really nice photo Midge. I too, would say it is Civil War era. Several years back I came across an old family letter written by my gg grandmother to her daughter Charity Truett Sheffield(my g grandmother.)Her daughter Charity had left south Alabama for Mississippi with her husband. The old letter from Alabama was a typical gossipy family letter telling what was going on in the old neighborhood in south Alabama. But one unique thing about the letter is my gg grandmother had enclosed two swatches of cloth showing her daughter the material she had bought for making two new dresses. It was a unique experience holding those two little pieces of cloth knowing my ancestor had sewn two dresses from this material during the Civil War.

Diane Wright said...

Love this story. I am glad I don't wear hoops. Jeans and Tshirts is the best I can do. Beside how could I crawl under cemetery fences with a hoop on?

Judith Richards Shubert said...

Thanks for the lovely insight to this photo, Midge. I like the many horizontal pleats on the dress and the fact she has her hand resting on what appears to be a piece of tapestry.

And Bob, what a treasure you have in that letter and those two tiny pieces of Civil War era cloth.

Brett Payne said...

I'd say that this photograph was probably taken in the mid- to late 1860s, as most of the subject's ears are showing. Those women in portraits from the early 1860s tend to have their ears completely covered by their hair. If it was taken from during the Civil War years the mount would originally have had a revenue stamp affixed to the reverse, although this may have been removed.

Regards, Brett