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How to date photographs by fashion

One of the most effective ways to date a photograph is also one of the simplest: look at what the subjects are wearing. These contacts and resources may also be helpful.

Useful contacts

If you contact any of the people listed below, they will need a copy of the front and back of the photograph to be dated. If it has been enlarged please let them know the size of the original: a stamped, self-addressed envelope will ensure a more prompt reply. Do not send the original. We do not advise the original photograph be photocopied directly. We would recommend that photocopies be made from a copy photograph of the original to send those people you wish to contact for an opinion.

The Fashion Research Centre | 4 Circus, Bath BA1 2EW | 01225 477 752 | Website
Able to help date photographs by mail – but enquirers should provide a stamped, self-addressed envelope to ensure a reply.

Gallery of English Costume | Platt Hall, Rusholme, Manchester M14 5LL | 0161 224 5217
Does not offer a formal photograph-dating service, but may be able to offer some advice.

Jean Debney | 8 Huckleberry Close, Purley-on-Thames, Reading RG8 8EH
An independent freelance genealogist who provides a photograph-dating service, using fashion as the key, for a reasonable fee but only by post.

Museum of Costume & Textiles | 51 Castle Gate, Nottingham NG1 6AF | 0115 948 3504

Shambellie House Museum of Costume | New Abbey, Dumfries DG2 8HQ | 01387 850 375

Useful rEsources

  • Anne Buck, Victorian Costume (Bedford: Ruth Bean Pubs., 1984)
  • Madeleine Ginsburg, Victorian Dress in Photographs (London: Batsford, 1982)
  • Miles Lambert, Fashion in Photographs 1860-1880 (London: Batsford, 1991)
  • Sarah Levitt, Fashion in Photographs 1880-1900 (London: Batsford, 1991)
  • Audrey Linkman, The Victorians: Photographic Portraits (London: I.B. Tauris, 1993)
  • Halvor Moorshead and Jeff Chapman (eds.), Dating Old Photographs 1840-1929 (Niagra Falls, New York: Moorshead Magazines Ltd, 2000)
  • Elizabeth Owen, Fashion in Photographs 1920-1940 (London: Batsford, 1993)
  • Robert Pols, Dating Old Photographs (Genealogy) (Newbury: Countryside Books 1983)
  • Robert Pols, Looking at Old Photographs: Their Dating and Interpretation (Birmingham: Federation of Family History Societies, 1998)
  • Katrina Rolley, Fashion in Photographs 1900-1920 (London: Batsford, 1992)

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