Dating old photos by clothes

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Look particularly at the drapery styles and room accessories present in the photograph.There are a number of distinct items in a photograph that can supply a date.However, don't rely completely on this information, as it could have been erroneously written on the back by later relatives who thought they knew the date.Just as national and international news items appear in family images through our ancestors' participation in them, local events usually figure prominently in turn-of-the-century collections.Find the working dates for them by consulting city directories, local historical societies or published directories of photographers.

Internal details are the little things that we take for granted in most pictures -- the objects in the image.

It made me think of our feature on postcards in our Christmas issue written by photo dating expert Jayne Shrimpton that included a Christmas postcard from her collection.

This card, sent from the Sudan in 1941, features a photograph of a soldier inserted into a festive mount.

In order to accurately date a photograph based on clothing, it is important to compare your photograph with others taken around the same time.

Consulting pictorial histories of the period can help you do that.

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