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  • 1.  Portrait Identification

    Posted 11-17-2022 02:29 PM
    Edited by Cherish Thomas 11-17-2022 02:34 PM
    Hi all, 

    This is a long shot, but I'm posting with the hopes that someone might be able to identify the woman in this portrait (or perhaps provide clues that will lead to her identification). 
    The portrait was found in our collection in 2017 with no supporting documentation, and no one on staff has been able to provide me with an additional information.

    Since I have no solid leads to pursue and wish to avoid unframing it, this is what I'm working with:

    • Based on her attire, I believe the photo to be dated late 1800's
    • Since the portrait is in our collection, I presume that the woman had some significant social standing within South Carolina (specifically Pee Dee or Lowcountry), or perhaps be a relative of someone who did.

    Any help is appreciated!

    Cherish Thomas Danne
    Florence County Museum
    Florence, South Carolina
    All views and opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer

  • 2.  RE: Portrait Identification

    Posted 11-18-2022 08:53 AM
    I would use it as an opportunity to reach out to your community for identification. Someone might recognize her as a family member. I did this at a former museum where I worked. We were trying to identify the Black craftsmen who built the museum and ended up with a "Hidden Histories" program. I was fortunate to end up meeting with many descendants who shared lots of family photos with me. It was very moving.

    Lauren T. Furey
    Director of Visitor Services

  • 3.  RE: Portrait Identification

    Posted 11-21-2022 11:00 AM
    As a fashion historian I would agree with a date of date the last quarter of the 19th century, but you could hone in on a closer date by looking at books like Joan Severa's, Dressed for the Photographer: Ordinary Americans & Fashion, 1840-1900.  I would focus on the pin on her shoulder as I wonder if it is a membership pin that was significant for your community.  I don't know how much you can make out about that area of the photo.  In the larger image is there decoration on the shoulder or is the sleeve smooth at the top?  I thought there was some decoration on her right shoulder, but that might be from the person taking the picture.  I agree that talking with churches and other leaders in the black community would be helpful.

    Marian Ann Montgomery PhD
    Curator of Clothing and Textiles
    Museum of Texas Tech University
    Lubbock TX