MVHS display features noteworthy bridal photos

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The Mahoning Valley Historical Society has a unique display at the Arms Family Museum in Youngstown called “Blushing Brides: Bridal Portrait Photography.”

Jessica Trickett of the Mahoning Valley Historical Society said they started the exhibit as the summer wedding season was approaching in June and organizers hoped some modern-day brides would get some inspiration from the historical photos of brides and what they wore in the past.

Most of the photos are more than 100 years old, with the 18-photo display covering the 1870s through the 1940s. Trickett said there was no specific trend among the photos other than that the wedding dresses reflected the styles worn at the time.

Among the photos on display are Marion Struthers Thomas, a descendant of John Struthers, from 1923. She said wealthier brides would sometimes pose for photos in their home by having a professional photographer come to the house.

Trickett said white wedding dresses were not very popular until after Queen Victoria in 1840.

Another photo features Leah M. Brownlee, who married George M. McKelvey, founder of McKelvey’s Department Store, in 1876.

A newer photo from 1939 features Mary Cafaro, sister of William Cafaro. Another, from 1906, features Helen Arms.

The majority of the photos feature brides in poses because still photography was very common in the 19th century. Trickett said candid photos and amateur photography did not become popular until the 1930s.

The display continues until Nov. 17 at the Arms Family Museum.



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