Old-Time Baby Pictures

By Maureen A. Taylor

Social media today is full of pictures of children and grandchildren, but posting historical, black-and-white baby pictures hasn’t really caught on yet.

Babies born 100 years ago are just as cute as the darlings posted today. Take this image for instance: Maria Baker submitted it and wants to know more about it.

She found it in her grandmother’s things. Maria owns pictures of her grandmother (b. 1901) as a baby, and she knows this isn’t her.

In the late 1890s, it was common to pose children on animal skins like the one depicted here. The wide yoke on the dress suggests that it was taken circa 1900 (either a few years earlier or later). This child is likely belted around the waist to hold him or her in the wicker posing chair.

The gender of the child isn’t clear. Boys wore dresses until they started to become mobile. If this isn’t Maria’s grandmother, could it be one of her siblings or a picture of her husband?

If you look at an image taken overseas, the same basic information of photographer’s name and location appears on the card photographs just like the ones taken in the United States. Wien stands for Vienna. Maria knows that her grandmother’s family lived in that area. Etzelsdorfer is the name of the photographer.

I hope having a date for the image helps her identify this adorable baby. I’d estimate the child is between 6 months to 1 year old. From the warm hat on its head to the expression on the baby’s face, this picture is a treasure.

Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now