Wednesday, 10 December 2014
Mary Motley Reading, ca.1860
As you can see above, written in pencil across the top of the old matte for this photo is “Mary Motley” (left image); on the bottom verso is “a Hall, I’ll bet. not [sure] photo of.” (right image) I take it that Hall is a family name, suggesting this is Mary Motley, née Hall.
I have dated the photo to ca.1860, i.e., the Civil War era, based on the fact that Mary is sitting in a formal pose, with her her hair pulled back tightly, covering her ears; the fitted silk-taffeta dress with a row of buttons down the front is somewhat similar to the one seen here (final photo), dated to 1861. There is no photographer’s name on the verso, as is often the case with these early photos.