Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: Mystery Bride

Wedding Wednesday is a daily prompt at Geneabloggers that asks family historians to create a post in which the main focus is wedding photos, announcements, and invitations.


Unknown Bride about 1920



Isn’t this bride lovely?  My dad was given this photo many years ago because he was especially close to his maternal grandmother.  So we’ve always thought this was Mary Theresa Sheehan Killeen Walsh’s wedding portrait.

But that can’t be.

Mary Theresa married her first husband John Joseph Killeen in 1893.  He died in 1905.  Brides in 1893 would have dressed like this:


Image from Wikimedia Commons
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AStateLibQld_1_89108_Double_wedding_ca._1893.jpg


She married her second husband John Fleming Walsh (my great grandfather) in 1906.  He died in 1918. A bride in 1906 would have dressed like this:


Image from Wikimedia Commons
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AStateLibQld_1_182067_Bob_and_Nell_White.jpg

However, this beautiful bridal gown, veil, and opulent bouquet reflect the fashion of the 1920s. 

So who was this bride? 

The most obvious guess would be one of Mary Theresa’s daughters.  As I study the young faces of my grandaunts, I see no resemblance to this bride. 

Left to right:  Helen, Mae, Margee

What do you think?




© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

17 comments:

  1. I see your dilemma in tracing who the bride actually is. She is a gorgeous looking bride, I love the headdress and her shoes - sling-backs and showing a bit of leg - how daring - it must be 1920's or early 1930's?

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  2. A fascinating post with lovely photographs to illustrate your dilemma. I liked the way you showed typical wedding dresses of the period when Maria Theresa married her two husbands as evidence that she could not be the bride. . . What struck me about your original photographs was that it looked more like an artist's portrait - or was I deceived by the studio backcloth? Also the pose was so different from the usual formal wedding photographs of the 1920's that we see. Good luck with your search to identify who she is. . . . .

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    1. It does have that portrait look about it, now that you mention it.

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  3. Hmm...I can see a little resemblance with the bride to the girls. But the angle is so different it's hard to tell!

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    1. I keep looking for the signs of something familiar. The mouth??

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  4. What a beautiful photo! The bride's nose does look different from your grandaunts. Perhaps the bride was a good friend of the family and that's why the photo was kept. I've found photos of friends of my grandparents in their photo album.

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    1. Oh, duh me -- I hadn't even considered that it could be a good friend or even a cousin. The search continues!!

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  5. She is a beautiful bride - I hope you're able to figure out who she is!

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  6. I'm thinking possibly someone very dear to his grandmother? She certainly was stunning, and so lavish a style for a bride too, don't you think? I really enjoyed the other brides as well. It is true, they so often all followed the style of the period, for the most part.

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    1. "Lavish" -- yes. That's how I see it. I always thought my aunts Helen and Mae exuded the air of fine social standing and means. But this bride doesn't look at all like the Helen of her scrapbook. Mae's younger self is here and there in the scrapbook, but no wedding photos of anybody. So maybe it is a friend or cousin.

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  7. The minute I saw that photo, Wendy, it seemed to shout, "1920s!" I wouldn't be so quick to eliminate Mary Theresa's daughters, though. I agree with Heather: the angle makes this a difficult comparison. Then, the typical '20s style hairdo masks the eyebrows and even the outer edge of the shape of the eyes. All that's left to go by are relative proportions of nose, lips and chin.

    Are there any other relatives that would be possibilities, based on the estimated date of the wedding?

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    1. The daughters by Mary Theresa's second husband are out. One is my grandmother, and I know that's not her. The other two married much later than this portrait would indicate. But I'm taking another look at Mae, based on that mouth. I spied a picture of her as an older woman in the 1970s and there's something about that mouth. Not to mention those ankles and long, narrow feet -- they look like the same feet I remember, even the positioning.

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  8. When did those high heels come into fashion?

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    1. Hey Peter -- I was so busy concentrating on the fact that the dress was short that I hadn't even thought about the shoes. Good eye!

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