I am trying to ascertain the date of the photo below.

enter image description here

The photograph is a cabinet card, taken in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, by photographer FM Turner. There are no markings on the back of the card.

Dimensions: 6.5" x 4.25"
Cardstock is smooth on front and back
Lettering is gold
Border is embossed

According to wikipedia, Cabinet cards were most popular in the 1880s.

My research shows the photographer, FM Turner, in Tuscaloosa in the 1880 Census.

I'm hoping someone can help narrow down the timeframe based on the clothing, hair, or some other detail. Some details that might mean something to someone: ruffled collar, bow at neck in different fabric, pin at neck, style or placement of bow in hair.

I have looked through Joan Severa's Dressed for the Photographer, but have seen no examples with this style of ruffled collar.

I'm hoping that the photograph is of Amanda H Davis, who was born in 1861. Understanding the date of the photograph will help rule her in or rule her out.

  • Is this photo connected in any way with a Duncan Davis Photo? See the Genform posting: genforum.genealogy.com/al/fayette/messages/648.html Dec 22, 2012 at 1:15
  • Yes. That was my post about Duncan Davis over a year and a half ago. I have made no progress on that photo. The Duncan Davis photo is by the same photographer (FM Turner), but has no embossed border and the photographer's marks are only embossed, not "gold". Dec 22, 2012 at 6:18
  • 1
    Since posting this photograph, I have identified the photo as Della May Poe, born 1880, married 1907. Jun 15, 2013 at 18:33

3 Answers 3


Judging by the fact that the borders are embossed, I would hazard a guess at late 1880s to early 1890's.

It was a particular trend around that point in time to emboss the edges.

I cant quite see from the screen, but if the photographers name and studio are embossed as well as the inking on them, then that would be a strong pointer for the 1890's from my understanding.

  • The photographer's marks are very slightly embossed. You have to run your finger over it to feel the indentation. Dec 22, 2012 at 6:16
  • Thanks for the additional info. I would be reasonably confidant in saying that this was printed in the early 1890s in that case.
    – AvieRose
    Dec 22, 2012 at 14:22

Later 1890s, say 1896 or 1897.

The puffy leg of mutton sleeves are beginning to droop a little, characteristic of this period, and the characteristics of the mount and typography fit this period as well.

Turner worked in Tuscaloosa from 1880 until at least 1904 when he did the photographs for the U AL yearbook.

The collar is a handmade/homemade version of the bertha collar, wildly popular in the late 1880s and 1890s.

  • 1
    Welcome to G&FH.SE! If you would like to add to your answer at any time -- for instance, if you discover more information about Turner, or would like to link to references about the time period Turner worked or the clothing details, you can use the 'edit' link below your answer.
    – Jan Murphy
    May 17, 2015 at 19:16

Not an answer, but ...

There are mentions of Frank M Turner in Tuscaloosa in the book Shot in Alabama: A History of Photography, 1839–1941, and a List of Photographers as late as 1904.

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