Photo Friday: a 19th century photographic journey (photo 3)

This Friday’s photo features a young couple who are having their portrait taken. Do you know who they are? Can you provide us with a caption and some thoughts? Your comments can be posted here on our blog or to our Facebook page. [You can also enlarge the picture to get a better look at the details by clicking on it.]

Last week’s photograph of young children wearing wedding outfits depicts a Tom Thumb Wedding. This fad became popular after Tom Thumb, a dwarf in P.T. Barnum’s circus, married another little person named Lavinia Warren in 1863. Their union became quite well-known and was considered “The Greatest Little Wedding” by the public. Shortly after their marriage, people began performing their own miniature weddings as plays. These mock weddings were performed either to raise money or just for fun, and assigned young children the roles of bride, groom, minister, and attendants. The children wore elaborate costumes to portray their characters, and sometimes even went as far as wearing fake mustaches and beards, as can be seen in the photograph.

Tom Thumb, Wife, & Child

The children pictured in the above photo from left to right are Top Row: Laddie (lives with Dr. Scudder), Helen Sutton, Bill Newton, Chorlista Ean, Palmer (with beard), John Folette (pictured as the minister and becomes one later in life), Lewis Snyder (groom), Benjamin Ean, ?, ?, Second Row: Gertrude Schultz, Helen Harp, Lillian Elmore, ?, Grace Palmer (bride), Delia Harp, Gertrude Sutton, Seated on Floor: Kenneth Snyder, ? Palmer.

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2 Responses to Photo Friday: a 19th century photographic journey (photo 3)

  1. Sue Garvin says:

    These formal portraits were so popular back in victorian times. Wonder if it is an engagement photo? If so, I don’t give much hope to communication in the marriage, what with his back to her.

  2. hamletta says:

    Apparently, Tom Thumb weddings were a big fad in the 1920s. I work at a Lutheran church that’s been around since 1859, but we have a set of photos from a Tom Thumb wedding that was held in the 1920s.

    The faddishness is attested to by one of our elderly members, who played the minister in one of these things — in another state and another denomination.

    Apparently, it was a popular children’s pageant/fundraiser sort of thing.

    I can see why it’s a forgotten aspect of history: The pictures are really weird, and no one wants to admit they put their children through it.

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