Spring Sisters

Cabinet card of two white-clad young women (found by Kathy Wieland).

This cabinet card from the Mumbrauer studio in Hermann, Missouri depicts two young women clad in flowing white. The girls wear what appear to be real flowers at the waist and throat. Their intimate pose, the older girl’s arm reaching protectively toward the younger, suggests they might be closely related.

The fluid, natural style of their loose, flowing gowns, without bustle or corset, marks a decided break with 19th century fashion. Their hair style is, however, quite old-fashioned: bangs of frizzed curls, hair pulled back and pinned low on the head behind that had been popular from the 1880s on.

Mumbrauer uses a relatively subdued, tasteful painted background, and eschews the gimmicky props of the past decades. The only vestigial trace of 1880s faux rusticity is the fake grass on the floor.

The photo definitely has an air of occasion about it. Could it have been taken as a part of one of Hermann’s annual Maifest celebrations?


Published in: on March 23, 2011 at 4:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Berger Priest and Nun by Charles Mumbrauer

Charles Mumbrauer took over his father’s photographic studio in Hermann after Robert C. Mumbrauer’s death in 1917. Charles ran the studio off and on until his death in 1935.

This portrait of an unidentified nun and a Franciscan priest is the first photograph I’ve acquired that is marked “C. Mumbrauer.” It was found with two early 1900s photographs of Berger, Missouri churches:  Immanuel Methodist Church of Senate Grove in New Haven and St. Paul Roman Catholic Church, Berger.

St. Paul was served by the Order of St. Francis, and the priest certainly appears to be Franciscan. He may have belonged to the same order that served St. George Catholic Church in Hermann, the Order of the Sacred Heart.

The photograph is mounted in an oversize, tri-fold presentation folder–one of a long series of mount innovations by photographic studios as they attempted to stimulate interest in portrait photography.