Studying Period Pictures from the 19th Century – Lily Absinthe’s Recommendation


Continuing with yesterday’s theme of what real people looked like during the 19th Century in America, we would like to recommend the following book: Dressed for the Photographer: Ordinary Americans & Fashions 1840 – 1900. Consisting of 303 pages, this book presents a photographic survey of Americans during the years 1840 through 1900. One of the most useful aspects of this book is that it focuses on ordinary people, i.e., “real people” and it is an invaluable resource to anyone researching fashion history in America. Even better, Joan Severa, a fashion historian, provides a commentary about each photograph that explains the clothing in each picture and especially those subtle details that are easy to overlook.

This book has been one of our “go to” books in our library for many years and it never grows old- we are constantly making new discoveries that in turn have helped to refine our designs. The history of costume in the American West is really the history of costume in the United States- what people wore did not magically change when they left the “States” and entered the West. To be sure, adaptations were made but the general outlines remain the same.

This book is available from Amazon for $54 and we can not recommend it highly enough.

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