Young and Old in Seattle, 1900s


Although you can barely see it in this scan, a stamp in the bottom corner of this photo shows that it was made at the Bradley Studio on Third Street in Seattle.  I love these small clues of origin.  Judging by the puffed sleeves of the jackets, this photo was made in the early 1900s.  The broad brimmed hats, here piled with flowers, are typical as well.  They are not as wide or elaborate as hats would become after the 1907 craze of the “Merry Widow Hat,” another sign that this photo comes from early in the decade.

This looks like one of my favorite kinds of photos, a mother/daughter pairing. It gives a good opportunity to contrast the clothing choices of young and old.  The cut of their jackets is similar, although the younger woman has on a double breasted style.  The big difference is in the color.  The younger woman has chosen a light colored coat; the older one sticks to black, the most common choice of older women for decades to come.  Their hats follow the same color coding. 

Another big difference is in the length of their skirts.  The older woman’s skims the ground, while you can see all of the younger woman’s shoe—and even a bit of her ankle.  Was she so young that she was still wearing short skirts? Or was she showing her fashion forward adherence to the “rainy-daisy” style, where some women of the era tried to make clothing easier to wear? Maybe. There is a lot of rain in Seattle.

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