March is known as Women’s History Month. It’s a good time to celebrate our female ancestors. Did your ancestral mother’s work outside the home either before or after marriage? Many did.
Michael Albrecht sent in series of family photos. In the pile were two very interesting images of a tailor shop in Baltimore, Md. He labeled the images with the name of the tailor: Boleslaw Cwalina.
Before you think “what an uncommon name,” try searching for men named Boleslaw in Baltimore. There are a lot of them.
Look closely at this image. The clues are in the fashion plates hung over the head of the clerk.
The fashions in these plates suggest a date of late 1910s to circa 1920. Those large feathers in the women’s hats and the narrow skirts are clues.
The second image shows women at work.
It’s not very often that you see a picture with an exact date stamped into it’s surface. This one says “Feb. 15, 1935. Model Coat Makers. Baltimore, Md.”
So the women in this photo appear to be making coats for customers to try on. I’m hoping that Michael knows the story behind these two photos. I’d love to know who’s behind the counter in the first one and if any of the women in the second are his relatives working in the family business.
To learn more about the occupations of the women in your family:
- Look at the category that states a woman’s work in a census, then see if the name of the company that employed her appears on the same line.
- City directories sometimes list unmarried working women separately with the place of employment. Married women are generally mentioned in parentheses next to their husbands.
Do you have an image of a woman in your family at work? I’d love to see it.
Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor: