When fashion offers a clue

Mary Magdalene McSherry? This woman could well be my great-great-grandmother.
Mary Magdalene McSherry? This woman could well be my great-great-grandmother.

Clothing styles can offer clues in historic photos. In sorting through my Josephine (Josie) Jones and Alice McSherry family images, I have an awareness of style in the Joneses’ Quaker circles, and even as it moved away from traditional Plainness, it continued to contrast with the fashions of wider society, which would have included the McSherrys.

One portrait, in particular, diverges sharply from Josie’s collection, and since Alice’s parents owned a jewelry and millinery store, the subject’s relatively extravagant dress of the late Victorian era leads me to tentatively identify her as Alice’s mother, Mary Magdalene (Bahill/Bayhill) McSherry. The little I can make out from the photo of Alice’s parents as they posed in front of their store supports this assumption. And from that, I’m looking at another portrait that runs along the same lines.

What do you think?

Is this an earlier portrait of the woman in the photo above? Or is she a daughter? Or someone entirely different?
Is this an earlier portrait of the woman in the photo above? Or is she a daughter? Or someone entirely different?
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