An Alabama album: Big sis and her doll (part 1 of 2)

A few months ago a photo dealer in Arkansas listed the contents of a small 19th century album on eBay.  The original owners of the album weren’t identified, but some of the portraits had the names and addresses of photographers printed on them.  The studios were located in Mobile and Talladega, Alabama.

Some of the portraits had a dark red border around them, and one of those had lettering at the bottom which identified it as having been made at the studio of Reed & Wallace in Mobile.  Other portraits had the same red border but no lettering on them.  I’m assuming that those–including the one at the top of this page–were also made by Reed & Wallace in Mobile.

It was common in the nineteenth century and into the twentieth for young children of either gender to be posed with toys or stuffed animals.  Little girls were frequently posed with their dolls.  In the CDV above and just below, the girl is also holding a branch resembling staghorn sumac, which would indicate late summer or fall.  Could it have other significance?

Nanny and kids in Mobile 4


The following CDV appears to contain the same girl, maybe a bit younger.  In this one I think she’s posing with her little sister, whom we’ll see more of in the next post.

Nanny and kids in Mobile 6


11 thoughts on “An Alabama album: Big sis and her doll (part 1 of 2)

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  1. The top photo with the sumac specimen is superb, Brad. Is the foliage to her right also sumac? The most notable thing about the photo for me is the doll with those creepy, wide staring eyes. I’m surprised the child wasn’t terrified of it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know what the foliage on the right side is. Yes, the doll is a little creepy! What strikes me most about the photo is how impassive the girl’s face is. She doesn’t look annoyed or even bored, just calm and self-contained. Thank you for your kind words!

      Liked by 1 person

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