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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • CARNIVAL OF THE ARTS, 1937

Picnic at Marshall Hall: 1893

Picnic at Marshall Hall: 1893

Picnic at Marshall Hall, Maryland, 1893. View full size. Photograph by William Cruikshank. View even larger. Across the Potomac River from Mount Vernon, Marshall Hall was a Colonial era estate whose grounds were used for picnics, concerts and camping. The house burned down in 1981. [Note fingerless gloves worn by ladies on the right, and loud suspenders of man on the left. - Dave]

 

Color

Something about this photo makes it easy to imagine it in color.

Marshall Hall 1950's

Marshall Hall was still in existence until the late 1950's or early 60's. I remember taking a ferry to the park. I don't remember much about the rides, but I do recall that I was fascinated by the nickel slot machines.

It looks to me

As if it's a mother and her children. No sign of Dad as perhaps that's why she's in mourning. Look at the child to her left. Looks a lot like her.

Later Stage Mourning

From my experience in studying mourning fashion, the woman in black is in weeds, perhaps in a later stage.

If it was a more recent death, she might not appear in public at all, and if she was with family, they'd be in mourning too. But the family would not wear mourning dress for years as a wife was expected to.

The shorter veil might indicate a later stage of mourning, and she might have simply adopted black dress as the status quo for the rest of her life (As Queen Victoria did of course...)

Of course, this adherence to mourning customs is more Victorian than Edwardian or after....

People did not smile in early pictures because of the time involved in processing the pictures, there are pictures of people smiling in plenty of rather old photographs.

Consider that perhaps in the days of um, non-modern dentistry, people did not WANT to show their teeth!

The woman in the black is

The woman in the black is simply wearing the more Victorian fashion. There was a time when most women wore all black and anything colorful was either your wedding dress or your Sunday best. The younger girls are in the fashionable Edwardian clothing of the time which would be appropriate for young girls.

Also, people didn't smile deliberately in pictures back then except for racy / risque photographs. Sign of the times I guess...

[Our resident authority on Victoriana tells us the lady is wearing a mourning veil. - Dave]

the sun

Probably the same thing the hats were for- too keep the sun from burning and tanning their skin. It was very unfashionable to be tanned.

Hates Picnics

They look so unhappy :-(
Bad picnic food? Too many ants?

Two Ladies on right

There's a previous picture of the 2 ladies on the right side of picture both wearing hats and dressed in white. The lady second in from right looks very much like the actress that plays the Vulcan female in the Star Trek Enterprize TV show along with Captain Archer. She has the same looking face as the actrss does. Kinda funny, I wonder if she could be any relation?

gloves?

What were the 'fingerglass' gloves for?

[Um, "fingerless," not "fingerglass." - Dave]

mourning

is the woman leaning up against the tree in a state of mourning? she's radically different than the other girls picnic outfits

[I agree. Looks like widow's weeds to me. - Dave]

Picnic

So fresh an beauty (and I mean the men also), so gone and old. Pity and nostalgia.

 
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