Victorian Death (and Afterlife) Photography

The Victorians preoccupation with death and their enthusiasm for the paranormal puzzle us today. Perhaps earlier eras were focused on survival and had little leisure to be widely interested in things like séances, ectoplasms, and spirit photography. Later generations were certainly too skeptical. But at the turn of the century, everything seemed possible. If people could ride […]

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Serendipity in Sepia

Victorians rarely smiled in pictures, so they look stiff and starched to modern eyes. The staid images staring out at us seem like they never laughed or wasted time or thought about anything interesting. When photography was young, getting your picture made was a major event that required that required Solemnity and Poise. Subjects had to sit absolutely […]

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The Glorious Age of the Hat

At the turn of the century, hats were quite the fashion statement. Men often wore fedoras, which could be year-round attire. These hats, which came into fashion in the late 19th century and never went back out of style, have been a favorite of gangsters, Orthodox Jews, and Prince Edward.  In later years, women wore fedoras too […]

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