During the nineteenth centurya time of great technical and cultural changefashion was a cultivating force in the development of American society, influenced by one’s social status, geographic location, and economic standing.
My Likeness Taken is a collection of daguerreotype portraits of men, women, and children taken between 1840 and 1860. Selected from the top collections in the United States, each image is analyzed to clarify datable clothing and fashion components. With subjects from among the best-dressed members of society, these portraitsreproduced in full colorreflect the latest fashion developments, trends, and influences.
For students of photographic and costume history, this is extraordinary material. Many of these images have never before been published, and Severa’s keen analysis adds immeasurably to our understanding of the importance of dress in American society. Photo archivists and collectors, costume curators, social historians, material culturalists, and theater designers will find My Likeness Taken an invaluable resource.
|Publisher:||Kent State University Press|
|Product dimensions:||8.75(w) x 11.25(h) x (d)|
About the Author
Joan L. Severa, age 89, passed away on March 5, 2015. She was born on August 7, 1925, in Spring Green, Wisconsin. Her career started at the Wisconsin State Historical Society in 1958, and by 1979 she had worked her way up to Curator of Costume and Textiles, which included Decorative Arts. During her tenure, Joan published many articles on historic costume for living history centers and created the Patterns of History. Among her many achievements is her book, Dressed for the Photographer 1840-1900. The book won the CSA Millia Davenport Award in 1996, and prizes from the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, the Victorian Society in America, Wisconsin Library Association and the Golden Pen Writing Award from the United States Institute for Theater Technicians. She followed up with another book, My Likeness Taken.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Severa examines daguereotypes of American women and some children and men for what can be learned about American fashion in the 1840s and '50s. Severa is a former curator of costume at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. That she examines over 250 and has something different to point out about American fashion with each one attests to the variety and bountifulness of the fashion during the short period of the two decades--which is what the author wanted to demonstrate by the daguerreotypes. Women in the earlier 1800s had more fashion choices than they did in the middle and latter nineteenth century. 'In the 1840s the visible model [for women's fashion] was taken, as it had been for centuries, from royalty.' Designers in Paris and other fashion centers quickly picked up on the fashions displayed by queens, princesses, and duchesses in their marriage ceremonies, crownings, and other public appearances. And these trend-setting fashions were quickly picked up by American women in turn. Most of the women in the daguerreotypes are well-to-do, able to keep up with the latest and the finest fashion of the era. In addition to noting and naming parts of the fashions visible in the numerous daguerreotypes, Severa makes comments on such points as materials and unseen features cut off by the frames which most readers would not be aware of. 'The dress is of rich silk, with fitted sleeves, fan front bodice, and full bouffant skirt' is part of her description of the dress of one young woman. The author's enthusiasm for the subject and succinct, informative annotations along with the pictures of actual historical persons make this an especially enjoyable survey of this short but exceptionally rich period of American fashion.