A Summer Idyll, ca. 1909

This beautiful photo, an eBay find, is the front of a postcard. A little research revealed that it is what is called a “real photo postcard.” Although such cards had long been in use, the Kodak company developed special paper to make such creations available to hobby photographers in 1902. The printing on the back shows that this card was made on a Kodak paper sometime between 1904 and 1918. A professional might have posed this couple, but it also could have been a friend or family member. I cropped it and made it darker here. The original had quite a bit more vine on top and it had faded to a pale sepia.

Just when between 1904 to 1918 was the photo taken? With older women, it can be hard to tell because they often wear their clothes for a long time. Her collar is high, so she certainly had not taken to (or heard of) the v-neck styles that came into style around World War One. Her skirt is off the ground, so most likely later than around 1904 when most women’s dresses were still quite long. Her sleeves have a little puff and are slightly off the shoulder, a style I have seen in fashions around 1909. So I’m guessing that the dress, if not the photo, was from sometime around that date.

Advertisement from 1909, from As Seen in Vogue by Daniel Delis Hill

Lets assume they are a married couple, but are they happily married? The husband certainly looks so. He has the pride of place, sitting comfortably in a chair. His wife, behind him in the supporting role, looks less satisfied. Of course photos only capture a moment. And perhaps the man is joyful because he has just rolled his pant legs up and is getting ready to work in the garden.

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2 Responses to A Summer Idyll, ca. 1909

  1. JS says:

    Interesting history about the “real photo postcard.”

    One of my many sewing fantasies is to make the kind of white Edwardian dress featured in the ad.

  2. Bob Moeller says:

    I’ll go for happily married, she just looks like she doesn’t like to have her picture taken.

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