1/28/2011

Immigrant woman

Woman from Genoa, Nebraska
Date: 1890's
Photographer: Cody - probably the photographer's last name
Sitter: Unknown
Provenience: Genoa, Nebraska, USA

At the end of the 19th century thousands of men, women and children left their homes in Europe in search for a new life in the US. Quite a few of them came from Sweden - some of them made it over there, some of them did not, and quite a few of them sent photos home to family and friends they had left behind. This is an example of that. It comes from a family photo-album, which once belonged to my great-grandfather who had relatives who went over and sent photos home to him and his family. But the name of the woman in the photo is lost.

This photo is quite typical of the ones people took to show how well they did in their new world. It is much bigger than your typical CDV (the usual format for portrait photos from this time), over twice the size actually, and the woman shown in full figure is wearing a very elegant dress - especially if you keep in mind that she came from rather humble surroundings in her old homeland where a dress like this would have been reserved for higher classes than hers. Also the hair is made with great care. It is actually made with so much care that the poser chose to take her hat off and keep it on the chair next to her, and not on her head (which would have hidden her carefully arranged curls). And at the same time it is important to show the hat too - something she most likely would never had owned back home, women of the lower classes most often wore shawls and not hats.

Compare her with the woman on this photo from the same album - who is a typical example of what the women back home looked like, and how she herself would have been dressed had she stayed in her old country.

2 comments:

Anna said...

Vackert! Och du har gjort om bloggen, riktigt snyggt!

Wendy Wolfe Rodrigue said...

What a fabulous photo. She certainly looks uncomfortable! Thank you for sharing-