This is a blog about music, photography, history, and culture.
These are photographs from my collection that tell a story about lost time and forgotten music.

Mike Brubaker
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Fashions for Young Violinists

11 June 2022


It's curious that in most vintage photos of young violinists,
boys are often dressed in fanciful sailor suits,
while girls wear stylish white dresses.



Sometimes the fabric might have a color,
but generally white is preferred for girls,
embellished with fancy lace, embroidery, and stitchwork.


It's a flattering fashion that follows the same trends
as for the non-musical children,
giving the
portraits of the young violinists
a delightful angelic quality.
Today I feature three photos
of young girl violinists
whose musical charm
was accentuated
by their elegant attire.


The first girl posed with her violin
outdoors by the steps of a shingled house.
Her white dress practically glows with lace and satin.
I judge her age at about nine or ten.
Her instrument is held under her chin ready to play
but her fingers are in a slightly awkward position
which suggests she is just a beginner.
The postcard has no marks to indicate time or place,
but the picket fence and siding shingles look American
and the girl's bobbed haircut are a style
fashionable during the 1910-20s decade.


The second girl is older,
perhaps 12 to 13 years old,
and she holds her violin in a very confident manner.
Her dress is a dark color,
maybe red to match the color of her hair,
but it's partly covered by a white apron and bodice.
Her pale countenance gives her a sallow, almost wan expression.
I think she is a professional entertainer,
perhaps a member of a family band.
The photo is an unmarked carte de viste
that dates roughly from 1875 to 1890.
I've seen variations of this photo
and hope one day to identify her.

 There is no problem identifying the third child
as her postcard has a printed caption.

Regina Franzesko
jugenl. Vuiolin und Xylophon-Spielerin

Regina wears a beautiful white dress
decorated by fine stitchwork.
She sits on a wooden dining chair,
feet resting on a cushion,
with her violin cradled in her lap.
I think she is about 8 to 10 years old,
and like the previous girl, she holds herself
with an assurance and poise that marks a professional musician.

The postcard has postmark dated 13 April 1914
from Muenchen or München, Bavaria.
I have yet to find a postcard of Regina Franzesko
with her xylophone but I feel certain that there must be one.
The question is will she be wearing a white dress like this
or a Tyrolean folk costume?


I can't resist a reprise
of two photos of similarly dressed young ladies
that I featured previously here on my blog.

This is Helene Rossler, age 11 years, from Fort Worth, Texas.
Her cabinet card photo was taken sometime around 1904-1905.
Her story, Portrait of a Young Violinist, appeared in October 2021


 And lastly one of my favorite photographs in my collection,
Miss L. A. Garrison from Dixon, Illinois.
Her cabinet photo, along with those of several more young women,
was featured in A Medley of Violins from February 2018.

This is my contribution for Sepia Saturday
where everyone shops only at the best places.


Barbara Rogers said...

How nice to see the well dressed young violinist girls. They probably hadn't any concept of fashion, unless they had big sisters who did! And as performers, those girls would have demands on their dress which would be somewhat ruled by that the theatre goers would think them keeping up with the times...if performers were expected to do that. Actually there may well be a theatrical performer fashion quite separate from the fashion which dictated the gorgeous gowns worn by the audience who attended the performances.

smkelly8 said...

I like these elegant outfits.

Monica T. said...

Somehow Regina is the one looking most at ease with the situation!

La Nightingail said...

And of course, because they were young girls, their dresses were short. I've never quite understood why fashions of the times (1800s) dictated young girls until the age of 12 should wear skirts to the knee. From there to age 17, their skirts might reached their ankles. From 18 on, then, they could wear floor-length gowns. And from there, the hems began to rise and fall and rise and fall again until we're currently at a point where "Anything Goes"! :)

kathy said...

I can see why that last photo is one of your favorites. There is something intriguing about her. Of the others, Regina looks relaxed and content. I hope you find her with a xylophone!

ScotSue said...

You. manage so well to find a link between musicians and every prompt and this post does it brilliantly. Beautiful portraits.


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