We're two sisters who are craft book publishers and found ourselves in the midst of an avocado grove. We bought this house where we planned to conduct our publishing business and in the deal got 4 acres of avocado trees thrown in. Now we're not only publishers but ranchers as well! This blog is all about avocados and anything else that strikes my fancy.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Sepia Saturday #147 Military Uniforms

This week's Sepia Saturday is about the military. I looked through my collection of vintage photos and found some nice examples of uniforms. Unfortunately I know nothing about the men, their country of origin or anything else. None of these photos are marked in any way. But they're all interesting in their own way.

Wow, I wonder how many birds were killed to make this gentleman's hat. I like the background effect of this photo. It's painted so naively. Is it a scene of some sort? Hard to tell. But this is certainly a handsome man that seems awfully proud in his fancy uniform.

This is a much humbler uniform. It appears to be American, WWI. He also seems proud but his uniform doesn't even compare to Mr. Featherhat above. There's no decoration to his hat at all, no feathers. And no sword.

He's an all American Marine. This is a gorgeous uniform. I love the braid and the frog closures. It looks almost Chinese. Ouch - that stiff white collar. I'll bet that caused a few boils. But isn't he handsome?

I'm not sure about this trio. Those don't look like real military uniforms. In fact, they look a little shoddy. Maybe they're some kind of vigilantes. One has a gun, the other a rifle. They're up to no good, that's for sure.

This appears to be some sort of European officer. He certainly looks official. Seems like it would be difficult to button up that jacket and then drape those braids across it. But he's done it quite nicely, he probably had a valet to attend to those details.

This uniform isn't too remarkable. But the thing I like about this photograph is that it seems to include the original frame. I can picture that it sat in someone's parlour waiting for their loved one to come home. Hope he did.

That's all the military photos I have. Wish I had more information about them. But they're very interesting to look at and compare.

For other military uniforms, stories etc. click on Sepia Saturday.


  1. Regarding the soldier in the second last image, the photographer is from Chicago, and I believe the uniform is standard U.S. military formal dress from around or shortly after the turn of the century. I have a portrait of a young man dressed in a very similar uniform - minus the medals - which I was informed was "full dress dark blue uniform with light blue trim," or "US Army dress uniform of about 1905-1917."

    The braid is apparently termed an aigulette.

    It's a pity that the cap badge is out of focus, because the "crossed rifles" suggests an infantry regiment, but I can't quite make out either the number of the regiment (above) or the letter of the company (below).

  2. I believe the last image must be a soldier who served in the Spanish-American War. Compare it with this image of a soldier from that campaign, whose pension files make interesting reading. The cape and belt in yours are additional, but otherwise the portrait has a very similar feel to it, even down to the painted studio backdrop. It also reminds me of the numerous images I've seen of Teddy Roosevelt and his "Rough Riders."

    1. I'm not so sure about the frame. I can't make up my mind whether it's contemporary or not.

  3. I suspect man in the first image is wearing the uniform of some kind of fraternal order, or perhaps an officer of some civic organisation.

    The ostrich feathers became a huge fashion accessory in the 19th Century, most being supplied from ostrich farms in South Africa, which I have visited (years ago).

  4. The 3 amigos in #4 - the guy in the middle could shoot his foot off! In the last photo, I'd go with Spanish-American War also because the wide belt looks like the belt my ancestor is wearing in my Sepia Saturday contribution.

  5. There is very little I can contribute to further elucidate these pictures but it is a great collection!

  6. Ha, Wendy took the words right out of my mouth - "Three Amigos"!

    Mr. Featherhat takes the cake!

    I like your remark, "Hope he did."


  7. I have a photo of one of my great-uncles dressed like the trio in the fourth photo. He was in the US Army -- went south to do battle with Pancho Villa; perhaps these fellows were part of that?

  8. It is interesting to see all the different kinds of uniforms. Mr. Featherhat may not be military (per Brett), but I have seen a lot of funny looking and impractical military hats.

  9. My favorite is the Marine. Most of these uniforms look incredibly uncomfortable...I wonder if that was factored in. The more uncomfortable, the more short-tempered and inclined to be war-like? I know if I had to wear that feathered number and dunk under every doorway, after a day or two I'd probably want to rip somebody's head off.

  10. A wonderful selection Nancy and I have to agree with you about the third one, terribly handsome - if little starchy, due to the collar!

  11. The post I didn't finish had me looking into American Civil War uniforms and now my interest is piqued regarding all the variations of military uniform. Enjoyed all of these!

  12. I totally enjoyed this, everyone was completely unknown to me. Quite a collection and it's always a pleasure to learn about our past!

  13. What a great group of photos. Interesting variety of uniforms. The image of the handsome marine in the braided uniform is my favorite.

  14. For some reason or another I thought the first one might be Japanese but I have nothing that backs this up. If it hadn't been for the revolver the group of three could have been hunters, certainly Teddy Roosevelt came to mind. Good collection, Nancy

  15. All these pictures of men in uniform had me running to Amazon to see if there was an authoritative guide. I knew there was a great deal of variety in the U.S. Civil War but appears that until modern times (probably mass production) uniforms varied greatly in all conflicts.

    Nancy's wonderful collection has me wondering ... Did fashion follow the uniforms or did uniforms follow fashion? I have some photographs of relatives wearing trousers like those depicted in the 2nd photo.

  16. Perhaps the three are Texas Rangers. I have nothing to back that up. Just popped into my mind.

  17. Great collection of photos! Mr. Featherhat's hat reminds me of a marching band hat.

  18. A fine collection,
    that got other Sepians speculating a lot here.
    I will not but will only admire these outfits.
    My preference goes to the "all-american marine".