Snow Portraits

We at the Bay Village Historical Society would like to wish you and yours a happy New Year in 2024.

Many thanks to all who have helped to make a difference in preserving and sharing the history of our town in 2023, whether through attending our events, volunteering at our historical buildings or giving us your monetary support. We thank you so much! Your support made it possible to continue cataloging and making our collections of objects, papers and photographs more accessible to the public. It helped to create a working model grist mill to demonstrate early industry and engineering of our earliest settlers. It has contributed to making our events, such as Cahoon Christmas, more entertaining every year. For this and so much more, we thank you!

The photos that accompany these good wishes are of two women wearing winter clothing which would be of the style seen in the 1880s. They appear to be braving the snowy winter weather outside in their cozy fur collars and muffs. Could such a perfect portrait be possible in such conditions? A quick search online for such photographs from this time period leads to many examples of subjects posing in fake winter scenes in photography studios. Some even have white “snow” on their clothing, hats and boots. Some have wintry backgrounds with painted trees and mountains, covered with snow. Others have “snowflakes” all around the person pictured. This effect was added to the negative after the photograph was taken. One description of the process to create this can be found here.

It does make for a beautiful portrait through which to show off one’s beautiful winter fashions!

Unidentified woman’s snow portrait (about 1886) 1996.P.04.008.

Unidentified woman poses for a winter portrait, circa the 1880s, 1999.P.04.011.

Please be aware that the Bay Village Historical Society’s Rose Hill Museum, Osborn Learning Center and Replica 1810 Cabin are all closed to the public for the winter season. They will be reopening in April 2024. Until then, please explore our updated website with new features to explore, including a variety of photos, articles and learning activities about the past at

Posted in Blog, Glimpse of the Past, Winter.