This Cabinet Card is an image of 18 year-old Mary Earhart. The reverse of the card has pencil writing with her identification as well as the information that she was 5 foot and 3 inches, and weighed 137 1/2 pounds. It is unusual to find these statistics on the reverse of a cabinet card.. This image  is also unique because it appears that it shows the young woman’s ample bust in too much detail. Risque Cabinet Cards that emphasized  a woman’s breasts or cleavage seems to have been typically reserved for women who were prostitutes or actresses; and of course many people did not believe there was a difference between the two occupations. Perhaps this image was saved rather than destroyed by Ms Earhart but kept in a private place. The photographer was Fritz of the Superior Gallery in McMinnville, Oregon.

Published in: on January 13, 2010 at 12:01 am  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I truly enjoy your site! I think in an email I mentioned I am using old photos like cabinet cards to do a book on American fashions. I am finding that these little “wardrobe malfunctions” are more common than we might think they are. I am noticing them with photos of pregnant women.

    The ones I find are going in a chapter on fashion disasters.

    The Pink Flamingo

  2. I would also categorize this as “wardrobe malfunction” and probably not bad enough to be kept private. I haven’t found much evidence that the female nipple was eroticized in the late 19th century. Neither were the breasts a focus, at least not nearly as much as the lower leg, hips, pale skin, etc.

    The wardrobe malfunction in question looks to be a result of poor dressmaking (the darts extend too high) and an ill-fitting corset.

  3. I must agree with Alaina. What you see in the photo are not nipple points, but the ends of dressmaking darts. Most women were tightly packed into corsets that covered the bust point/nipple.


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