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A Civil War Passion for Fashion

Fashionable Kittery girl Civil War era from Portsmouth Athenaeum Presents  
Historic Portsmouth #416

Sometimes a forgotten photograph just jumps out of the ancient archive and begs to be seen by modern eyes. Case in point, this richly detailed image of four women dressed to the hilt around the time of the Civil War. (Continued below)


It comes from the Gerrish Collection at the Portsmouth Athenaeum and the name “Lizzie Gerrish” is written on the back. Is Lizzie in the photo? Another colorized version is also in the collection. The photograph is attributed to Albert Gregory who made early portraits of a number of local residents. His name is also listed as the photographer on a well known image of “Old Ironsides” being repaired at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in the mid-1850s, one of the earliest photos in the US Naval Archives. Perhaps these four well-dressed girls reappeared this week to remind readers of the Herald to visit the city’s two summer fashion exhibits. Do not miss “Threads” currently running at Strawbery Banke Museum and the “Passion for Fashion Gala” with Project Runway star Austin Scarlett on June 30. And be sure to check out the wonderful (and free) display of Portsmouth fashions at the Portsmouth Athenaeum in Market Square. “The Height of Propriety” exhibit there is open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday afternoons 1-4pm through September 15. (Photo courtesy of Portsmouth Athenaeum)

Four girls in Civil War fashions including Lizzie Gerrish (c) Portsmouth athenaeum as seen on


Detail of Civil War girls

Civil War girl posing detail from New Hampshire / Kittery studio

Photos (c) Portsmouth Athenaeum
as seen on, All rights reserved.



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Wednesday, February 21, 2018 
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