Saturday, January 3, 2015

Tintype Photo: Wedding of Joseph William Selker & Frances Philomena Guth (1890)

This individual portrait is a tintype photograph and is one of the oldest photographs in the photo collection. It is simply remarkable this photograph survived and that it is approximately 125 years old. It was previously believed there were few photographs available from this side of the family. This tintype and several others were located earlier this year in the photo collection of Frances Philomena Selker. To view the other tintype photographs visit the blog post Tintype Photo: Guth Family Portrait (1884 - 1886) and Tintype Photo: Portrait of a Child (1870's).

After locating the tintypes I engaged Gary Clark from to assist me. Gary is an expert in dating old photographs - tintypes being one of his specialties. He is estimated that the photograph was likely taken between 1886 and 1890. It was unusual for a formal portrait to appear on a tintype in the late 1880's or early 1890's. This indicated the photograph was likely taken in a rural location.  The clothing also points to pre-1890. The lady in the back has tighter sleeves and rounded shoulders on her dress. The shirts the men are wearing have upturned collars. 
Michelle M. Murosky: The Selker Collection &emdash; Wedding of Frances Philomena Guth & Joseph William Selker
Formal Portrait Likely featuring the
Wedding of Joseph William Selker and Frances Philomena Guth. 
This tintype is likely a photograph celebrating the wedding of Frances Philomena Guth and Joseph William Selker in November of 1890. While the clothing styles point to pre-1890 it is possible that in a rural city like Clarion, Clarion County, Pennsylvania that people were not wearing the most up to date fashions featured in larger cities. It was also becoming uncommon for a tintype to be used to capture a formal portrait in the 1890's as the Cabinet Card was becoming more popular. The fact that this group portrait was taken as a tintype photograph also indicates that the photograph was likely taken in a more rural area.

Only a few of the individuals in the photograph are currently known. Frances Philomena Guth (back left) and Joseph William Selker (back right).  Other older portraits exist of Frances Philomena Guth and Joseph William Selker. The man on the back right is clearly a younger Joseph William. There is also a resemblance to Frances as well. Frances Philomena Guth would have been 27 in this photograph. Joseph William Selker would have been 25 in this photograph.

The three people in the front of the photograph, a woman, younger man and older man (far right). Are unknown. The other individuals are likely relatives of Frances Philomena Guth. Joseph William Selker was an immigrant and had no other family in the United States at the time of his wedding. The man on the far right bears a similar resemblance to other photographs of Frances Philomena Guth's brothers.

Frances was the daughter of Leopold Guth and Theresa Loll. The family was one of the prominent families in Clarion, Clarion County, Pennsylvania in the late 1800’s. Leopold Guth owned his own jewelry and watch making business. He handed his trade down to his son Anthony Charles Guth. Frances is wearing a large broach on the neckline of her dress which may have been made by her father or brother.
Michelle M. Murosky: The Guth Collection &emdash; Wedding of Frances Philomena Guth & Joseph William Selker
Close up of Frances Philomena Guth
Note the large broach at her neck.
Michelle M. Murosky: The Guth Collection &emdash; Wedding of Frances Philomena Guth & Joseph William Selker
Close up of Joseph William Selker
A closer look at the photograph also shows that Joseph William Selker is wearing a pocket watch and his suit jacket is made from a striped material.  

Tintype photographs have a unique mirror-like finish. This particular tintype has a black and white like appearance and does not contain any tinting. The surface of the original contains many scratches. Especially on the bottom section of the photograph making the details of the ladies dress difficult to see. This photograph was likely originally in a case as original also has trimmed corners and sections where the original mirror finish is damaged. 

Michelle M. Murosky: The Guth Collection &emdash; Wedding of Frances Philomena Guth & Joseph William Selker
Original Tintype before restoration. 

Some of the damage was able to be removed during the digital restoration process. Due the amount of damage some of the scratches were unable to be corrected and can be observed in the whitish looking appearance on the photograph.

This tin type and several others were included in the Frances Philomena Selker Collection. Frances Philomena Guth appears to have ended up with these photographs. She passed the photographs down to her daughter Frances Philomena Selker. Frances' daughter Mary Eugina McDonald ended up with her mother's photo collections which is time were handed down to me. Photographer Unknown. Editing and digital restoration by Michelle M. Murosky.

Joseph William Selker and Frances Philomena Guth are my 2nd great-grandparents. Their line extends through their daughter Frances Philomena Selker to my paternal grandmother Mary Eugenia McDonald. 

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