The Green Velvet Album Starring Elvira Deyo

By Catherine Rubino

For this week’s object, we have a photograph album dated 1892. The album has a worn green velvet covering with a large bell imprinted on the front. The album has brass ornamentation on the top right corner of the cover, which consists of decorative trimming, a bumblebee, a bumblebee on a ladder, and an owl. There is also a brass latch on the side. The album containing several pictures of Elvira Deyo belonged to her daughter Katherine Deyo Cookingham.1

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All of the photographs that feature Elvira Deyo are cabinet cards. They originated in the 1860s and were mostly used to capture Victorian-era portraits of individuals.2 Their height of popularity lasted from the 1870s into the 1890s. The cabinet cards usually measured 4in x 6in and were mounted on stiff cardstock similar to cardboard.

In one photograph, Elvira is seen standing in a floor length dress with a black corset worn over it and a decorative pin worn at the collar. In another photograph, Elvira is seen in her wedding dress adorned with long sleeves and an extended collar. In her hair, Elvira pinned a floor length veil and an array of flowers.

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Elvira married Miles Harris Cookingham on December 14th in 1892.3 She was the second oldest child of eight siblings born to Matthew Deyo and Julia Etta DuBois. Gertrude Deyo, the oldest, married Abraham Deyo Broadhead in 1890. Gertrude and Abraham lived in the original Deyo stone house and remodeled it into the Victorian house it is today.  In one photo, we see three sisters, Petronella, Gertrude, and Elvira, in which Elvira’s simple and classic look of pulled back hair and a black dress really stands out amongst her sisters.

The photos of Elvira illustrate how family memories have been preserved in the past. Next time you’re looking through family photos, try comparing yours to Katherine’s family photos. See the differences you find and notice how the family album has developed over a hundred years!

1 “Elvira B. Deyo.” Hudson River Valley Heritage. Web. 16 Mar 2016.

2 “Cabinet Cards.” Collectors Weekly. Web. 16 Mar 2016.

3 Hasbrouck, Kenneth E., and Heidgerd, Ruth P. The Deyo (Deyoe) Family. New Paltz: Deyo Family Association. 2003. Print.

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