A fantastic photographic document- rows of hundreds of young women have coordinated their clothing and posed on a grandstand to create a Human American Flag. WOW!
Mole and Thomas were perhaps the most renowned practitioners of this type of photograph, taking weeks sometimes to lay out their elaborately produced images which often incorporated thousands of people. But they were most certainly not the only ones with these 'big' ideas. The event documented here was truly an incredible undertaking. The women in the rows of the white stripes wore white capes and dark (red) hats which blended into the dark (red) capes of the dark (red) row above, and the women in the dark (red) rows wore dark (red) capes and white hats- makes me dizzy just thinking about organizing it, there are over 800 people creating this flag, can you imagine? The planning and sewing must have taken weeks.
I would assume from the subject and the band assembled on a bandstand below, that this is a Fourth of July celebration. But there have been other times in our history when patriotic fervor and the spirit of nationalism have been intense, and the fact that these participants all appear to be young women suggests that this might possibly be a school picture of some sort. Looks like a great party in any case.
I've counted the stars and think there are between 38 and 42, which would date this piece to somewhere between 1877 and 1912. But it's really difficult to say if some white spots are stars or white hats. However, the dresses and hats on the women standing with the band below suggest to me that this photograph was created right around the turn of the 19th C into the 20th C, give or take a few years.
CONDITION is excellent on this antique silver gelatin print with only the most minor fading. There is a water stain at the top right corner edge of the mat only. The frame is oak and original, and the mat bears the name and address of a Jersey City, NJ studio named "Scheers." Measures 13 3/4" x 15 3/4" overall, with the size of the visible photograph being 7 3/8" x 9 1/2".
An marvelous piece of Americana. Enjoy!