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Is This Plantation Lady Actually Smiling in This Photo?

Discussion in 'Period Civil War Photos & Examinations' started by Belle Montgomery, Jul 10, 2018.

  1. Belle Montgomery

    Belle Montgomery First Sergeant

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    smiling Bell.jpg
    Came across this photo and was jarred by what I perceive to be a huge smile on the lady in the foreground. If it's not it looks like she has a mustache under her nose instead of her upper lip. I don't recall too many smiling in photos back then. I also find it interesting because it portrays a departure from the normal setting including possible slave children in it with them? I love how it captures a home with the shutters closed to possibly blocking out the sun's heat. Has anyone seen this before and do you know anything about it or the subject matter? What do you think?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 12, 2018

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  3. WJC

    WJC Moderator Moderator

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    Thanks for posting this great period photo!
    My understanding is that many subjects in early photos did not smile because of the condition- or lack of- teeth.
     
  4. John Winn

    John Winn Captain

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    Very interesting image. The woman in the center is, indeed, smiling and the man to her left, I believe, is sporting a little grin. No idea who they are but I'm sure the children are indeed slaves. It was fairly common for slaves to be in family photos like this. I hope you can find out more about those folks.

    Scan0001.jpg
     
  5. AUG

    AUG Captain Forum Host

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    Sometimes you see smiles in outdoor photos, not usually in studio portraits though. People may only have one photograph taken their entire lives, so they wanted to look serious and reserved. Smiling might be seen as silly, childish - at least in a portrait setting.
     
  6. Belle Montgomery

    Belle Montgomery First Sergeant

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    I also just read that "people weren't used to having their pictures taken -- the expense and seriousness of the occasion (getting quite possibly the only photograph you'd ever have of yourself) led people to adopt a serious pose." So @AUG351 you're correct!
    Obviously this lady had more because of either status and/or perhaps due to the casual nature of the photo (standing there randomly and not sitting together and posing on front porch etc.) maybe the photographer was a relative or friend and they had no problem getting more. Hmmmm
     
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  7. Belle Montgomery

    Belle Montgomery First Sergeant

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    Some still do! :bounce:
     
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  8. chubachus

    chubachus First Sergeant

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    "Photograph shows a group of men and women standing on the road in front of John Joyner Smith's cotton plantation in Port Royal, South Carolina. Four African American children stand in the field behind them. From November 1862 to January 1863, the house was used as Union Camp Saxton, and was the location of Emancipation Day activities on January 1, 1863." Source.
     
  9. Belle Montgomery

    Belle Montgomery First Sergeant

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    AMAZING! THANK YOU!
     
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  10. Belle Montgomery

    Belle Montgomery First Sergeant

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    View attachment 195804 stereotype.jpg
    The one I had posted had obviously been cropped for a close up! I like both views! Thank you @chubachus
    photo back.jpg
    Looks like the other couple's last name is Viery?
    It appears that this house is the "restored smaller house at the back of the property, with its hand-hewn beams, is believed to be the original barn or carriage house" they're talking about.
    This describes the other house on the plantation:
    "Originally built circa 1813 in the Federal style for John Joyner Smith, a Beaufort plantation owner, this house was entered from its Bay Street facade. A Greek Revival era remodeling relocated the entrance to its present location along Wilmington Street and resulted in modifications to the interior plan. During the Civil War, General Stevens, the Federal Military Commander, occupied the house with his staff. His aide, William Thompson Lusk, wrote his mother, “we are now pleasantly living in Beaufort with all sorts of comforts at our disposal. The house occupied by General Stevens is the one belonging to Mr. Smith and is an extremely elegant one. The portrait of Bishop Elliott looks down benignly from the mantel while I write. Personally, I wish the owners were back in their homes.” The charmingly restored smaller house at the back of the property, with its hand-hewn beams, is believed to be the original barn or carriage house."
    source -Beaufort online Joyner.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
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  11. Mrs. V

    Mrs. V First Sergeant

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    If she is smiling then does that mean we can smile when we re-enact too? Lol!
     
  12. Patrick H

    Patrick H Major

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    Maybe she's grimacing. Just kidding. It's a big smile.
     
  13. Belle Montgomery

    Belle Montgomery First Sergeant

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    No wonder she's smiling...not a care with all these slaves on Smith Planation in 1862 Smith plantation-slaves.jpg
     
  14. Belle Montgomery

    Belle Montgomery First Sergeant

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  15. Belle Montgomery

    Belle Montgomery First Sergeant

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    Maybe that is the same "elegant" house but from the back or side? The top photo sure doesn't look like a barn! Hmmm :thumbsdown:
     
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  16. connecticut yankee

    connecticut yankee Sergeant

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    Wow!....that's great detective work @chubachus. I'm truly impressed.
    upload_2018-7-10_17-51-44.jpeg
     
  17. Belle Montgomery

    Belle Montgomery First Sergeant

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  18. Mike Serpa

    Mike Serpa Major

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    Five Generations on Smith's Plantation, Beaufort, South Carolina - LOC
    00057v.jpg
     
  19. Mike Serpa

    Mike Serpa Major

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    Port Royal Island, S.C. African Americans preparing cotton for the gin on Smith's plantation - LOC
    00747v.jpg
    What are the little horizontal doors?
     
  20. Henry Brown

    Henry Brown Retired User

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    i found this pic on a book cover.
    [​IMG]
    i thought it was Kate Stone.
    [​IMG]
    but i finally found a book jacket cover reference to the photo.
    it is , in fact, Smith's "Old Fort" plantation near Beaufort S.C.

    the images didn't seem to match in other pics i saw of Smith's plantation. this image seems to fit though. it could be the front of the house on the book cover. he evidently also had a house in town.
    [​IMG]
    Croquet Party, Old Fort Plantation, Port Royal Island, South Carolina.

    the barn at smith's ?
    [​IMG]
     
  21. Belle Montgomery

    Belle Montgomery First Sergeant

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    WOW! Thank You!
     
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