Dating family photographs
Fashion Columbia Study Collection Columbia College in Chicago has a great collection of women’s clothing which document historic styles, revival fashions and period details of what was in vogue during the 20th century.
Victoria and Albert Museum The London’s museum’s helpful section on dating clothes and photographs uses items from the V&A’s collection to illustrate the dominant trends of the decades between 18, and is helpful even when investigating photos taken outside Great Britain.
For instance, the portraits at right were labeled, so I know them to be my grandmother’s two grandmothers — and the photo albums they came from suggested that the photographs were taken in the 1880s or 1890s.
Despite the womens’ different cultural backgrounds and individual tastes in fashion, the similar type of high, standing collars suggest that they’re on the earlier end of that time frame, most likely the mid-1880s.
When cleaning out a relative’s home, you find a long-forgotten shoebox full of photographs stuffed in the back of a closet. If you know the time period a photograph was taken, you can narrow down possible candidates on your family tree.
The type of photograph can place your photograph in a specific time period.
It’s as true now as it was 150 years ago: the fashions people wear are indicators of their times.
So, the first step in narrowing the possible date for your old photograph is to be able to identify 19th century photographs to determine what type you have.
CLICK ON EACH type to see detailed characteristics.
Kwik Tip research guides give you a convenient and fact-filled tool to help you determine dates for your 19th century photographs pictures.
You may now see our list and photos of women who are in your area and meet your preferences.
Again, please keep their identity a secret Click on the "Continue" button search with your zip/postal code.