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lindqm2



Joined: 12 Jan 2020
Replies: 57

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Post Posted: Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:53 pm      Post subject: Traditional Dress?
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This is a picture of my great grandmother Janina Kozlowski. She was born in Lisiec Wielki in 1904 and she came over to the US in 1911. This is a picture of her with her two younger sisters who were born in the US. I'm guessing this photo is from 1915.

My question is: Does anyone know anything about the outfit my great grandmother is wearing? I think her dress is absolutely beautiful! However, my mother thinks it must be a "Halloween" costume or that she was in a play. Could this be her Easter dress? Any thoughts are appreciated! Thank you!



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Sophia



Joined: 05 Oct 2014
Replies: 546

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Post Posted: Sun Aug 02, 2020 6:34 am      Post subject: Re: Traditional Dress?
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lindqm2 wrote:
This is a picture of my great grandmother Janina Kozlowski. She was born in Lisiec Wielki in 1904 and she came over to the US in 1911. This is a picture of her with her two younger sisters who were born in the US. I'm guessing this photo is from 1915.

My question is: Does anyone know anything about the outfit my great grandmother is wearing? I think her dress is absolutely beautiful! However, my mother thinks it must be a "Halloween" costume or that she was in a play. Could this be her Easter dress? Any thoughts are appreciated! Thank you!


Beautiful, indeed! Now, let me introduce you to the great Polish artist, Jan Matejko. One of the things he did was to capture the different types of clothing used by different levels of Polish society, through time. Someone has put it together here in a very useful format:
https://lamus-dworski.tumblr.com/post/88839671077/clothing-in-poland-between-the-years-1333-1434
Now, if you go to that page, you will see a series of pictures representing the timeframe 1333-1434. Scroll down and you will see what each picture represents -- kings, nobility, peasants, etc. And beneath that, you see additional timeframes that you can click on, for additional sets of pictures. They acknowledge that all of this comes from a publication of Matejko's drawings, and they provide the link for you, which will lead you to the Jagiellonian Digital Library. There, you will find even more of his drawings, but I personally found it a little more cumbersome to scroll through the pictures there so I recommend starting with the link that I gave above.
I did not study the drawings too hard (that's for you to do!) so I did not come across your great-grandmother's costume specifically. Her costume has several features that are very distinct: the hat, the puffy sleeves of her blouse, the very interesting shape of the lower hem of her blouse, and I'm not sure but what appears to be a skirt may actually be pantaloons. Her sisters are also dressed quite fashionably, with an abundance of lace which is not an inexpensive feature. I think this photograph would really have been prized by the girls.
As to the occasion, Halloween or Easter it is not (in my opinion). I think that these are costumes from a play. I would suggest that the parents were most interested in having their children know their Polish history, and so Polish schools and Polish societies and Polish churches all had quite strong traditions of having plays, concerts etc. It would be fascinating, if you can find local newspapers of the time period in which you think the photo was taken, to see if there is any announcement of such productions. I would add here that someone (in the family?) was a seriously talented seamstress.
I would also like to comment on the photo itself. It appears to me to be a colorized photo, that is, a black-and-white photo was taken, then color was added by an artist. Many portraits were done in this way, around 1915. I had the chance to see the back of such a picture and found "notes" there (eyes blue, hair brown, necktie red, that sort of thing) so that the artist would know what colors to use. Have you ever seen the back of your photo?
I wish you luck in figuring out exactly who Janina represents!
Sophia
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lindqm2



Joined: 12 Jan 2020
Replies: 57

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Post Posted: Sun Aug 02, 2020 10:54 am      Post subject:
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I love all those drawings of period clothing by Jan Matejko. The photo is in a frame and I have not seen the back of it, but I may have to try to convince my mother to see it. I will also see if I can find any newspaper archives. I know this was taken in Evanston, IL.
Thank you again for your background knowledge and expertise! It's greatly appreciated!
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