Friday, April 3, 2015

Sepia Saturday: Skirting the Issue

Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.


This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt with women in long dresses riding bicycles made me think about some of the beautiful fashions in the photos that have been passed down to me. 

Friend of Helen Killeen Parker Portsmouth, VA  http://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Friend of Helen Killeen Parker


This young woman’s identity is a mystery. She is one of many friends featured in the album of my grandaunt Helen Killeen Parker. What is your guess for the date of this photo? I will say 1917. The skirt seems long to be from the flapper era, but that hat is surely moving in the direction.








Lillie Killeen 1919 http://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Helen's sister Lillie Killeen 1919










Isn’t this white dress the essence of summer? It is beautiful. I wonder if it was Easter. 









Finally, this photo always makes me laugh. So typically Helen – no names, just a wise-crack for a caption. 

Helen Killeen Parker and unknowns  http://jollettetc.blogspot.com
"Only a plaid skirt"
Helen is second from the left.
The others are unknown.
But this time I have to admit Helen got it right:  you hardly notice the people for that big plaid skirt. It would have made a good picnic tablecloth, methinks.

Hike up your skirt and pedal over to Sepia Saturday for all the news that’s fit to print.


© 2015, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved

23 comments:

  1. Not only the plaid skirt, but the photographer cut off half their heads! Maybe close-ups were a bit harder to do with the cameras of the day? You may be right on track with your comment about the first picture - not only because of the hat, but the skirt is not quite fully long. You can see her ankles. Oh my!

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    1. Whoever took the pic must have been blinded by the skirt!

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  2. I like your title! The dresses tell us so much about the times.

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    1. Thanks -- sometimes my titles are good but other times, oh well.

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  3. Maybe it was the tablecloth! See the unusual fold on the lower right? It looks like a square corner...odd for a skirt...

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    1. Darn -- I didn't notice that, but yes, now I see.

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  4. I'm with Jacqi -- NOT a skirt (and we should all be thankful for that, I think); what's the thing sticking out from under the non-skirt? Looks like a table leg or something. I'm not sure what's up in this photo, but everybody's having a fine time, and that's what matters!

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    1. I think - and I say this with great confidence - that's her leg.

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  5. Helen looks dressed for travel or business in the first photo, and Lillie's dress would be appropriate for a graduation. As for the last one, I does look like a picnic snap taken with a box camera that has a very small mirror viewfinder.

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    1. A travel costume -- that makes sense.

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  6. I have a picture of my grandmother in a white dress like the second one. I agree with those who say the plaid was, in fact a table cloth.

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    1. I have several other photos of women in white dresses. I wonder what the fabric was.

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  7. Yes I’ll ago with the tablecloth idea too. I wonder what she was really wearing that she had to pull the picnic table right up to her and hide behind it :)

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    1. I have no thoughts, as I clearly thought it was a skirt. Helen has several photos of plaid and striped skirts, so I need to go look at those again.

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  8. Wonderful photos Wendy, and all of them quite appropriate for Easter, I must say.

    You ponder about the date of the first photo. I believe that's a cloche hat, and from what I can tell, those were in fashion from about 1923 till 1930, so your suspicion about the skirt being from the flapper era is probably correct.

    A note about the third photograph too: it was taken from such a low viewpoint that, even with the normal handheld Brownie or folding camera pose, I believe it was either taken by a child or set on a table and used with a self timer. Both options would explain why the shot was poorly framed.

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    1. The photos that are dated in this album range from 1918 to 1921. I appreciate the observations about the poor framing. Helen had 3 younger sisters, and I see one child in the photo, so maybe a child did take it.

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  9. I do like that "essence of summer" picture. Little Killeen looks very sweet and romantically inclined.

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    1. She was a tiny woman in her old age, and yes, she does seem very sweet.

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  10. I was going to say the same thing about it not being a skirt. Maybe a blanket to keep her legs warm?

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    1. How did everyone see that and not me? I can now see that one straight edge that says "not a skirt" but it still looks cinched at the waist.

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  11. They are fun photos. My mom would have been the one to wear the plaid skirt. Pictures of her of the past show here in colored striped socks with dresses and skirts, all in bold unmatching patterns.

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  12. I was going to write 1924 for the first photo, then I see that Brett beat me to it with his 1923-30 estimate. It just occurred to me how few photos I have from 1914-18 that were not directly connected with the services and WW1, and I wonder if it was considered inappropriate any not in the spirit of austerity.

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  13. Okay, I'm guessing it was a table cloth which the woman was using to hide her dainties that had gotten wet during a fall into a pond while on a picnic.

    The other shots look like cloths from Downton.

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