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Mystery Photograph from the Archives

April 24, 2013
Wedding photo circa 1917

Wedding photo circa 1917

This image, which maintains no identifying information, was recently found by Archivist Jamie Weber among alumni records in the basement of Seaver House. Can anyone help us identify the wedding party or the date?

Professor Sherry Linnell, the costume expert in Pomona’s theatre department, has suggested that the attire here indicates that it dates to 1917 or possibly a bit later. Fashion in the decade 1910-20 changed dramatically from a richness and exoticism in the early years to a far more restrained practicality after the onset of World War I. Specifically, skirts became shorter, rising from the floor to well above the ankle; bobbed hairstyles came into fashion; and hats tended to be worn low on the forehead. Changes such as these reflected a period of increasing austerity along with a growing recognition of women’s rights and assertion on the part of women no longer content to be hobbled by long skirts and complicated coiffures.

General shifts in fashion such as these are, however, notoriously difficult to apply to specific images such as this one. Although one might assume that most women wish to appear fashionable at their weddings, without knowing more about this couple and their attendants—where they lived, their age and financial status, their level of sophistication—it is impossible to be more precise.

 If anyone has an idea of the identity of this happy group, quite possibly Pomona alumni/ae, we would be very grateful!

 

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