Dream Girls

 My weekend adventure-mysterious airport layovers aside-celebrated my daughter’s graduation from college. And no, this certainly is not her photograph, for it most likely depicts a younger high school graduate instead, wearing a circa 1895 garment that is a true work of diplomatic fashion—incomparable to the disposable, one-zipper frock my daughter wore for her modern ceremony of pomp and circumstance.


james-lawrence-breese-woman-graduate-holding-diplomaJames Lawrence Breese: United States: vintage lantern slide ca. 1895-1905: "Woman graduate holding Diploma": support glass: 3.25 x 4.0": window opening: 6.4 x 5.2 cm: from: PhotoSeed Archive


For those in the know, the journey of higher education is never easy or predictable, for student or parent. But to those students everywhere earning the right to walk with their class on graduation day, the commencement is rightful icing on the cake and a glorious stepping stone to the next chapter. In the case of this late 19th century lantern slide portrait seen here, the fact that women in the United States had not yet earned the legal right to vote does not diminish this graduate’s pride in her accomplishment, as evidenced by her strong comportment.


The ceremony I attended featured all the usual bullet points, with the comic relief of microphone malfunction segueing to the esteemed retired professor remarking on how the school’s newly inaugurated football prowess in the late 1940’s trumped the fact it had previously been known as an institution of higher learning for women only. Applause all around of course, but I rather like the fact the school has foundational women bones.


With my own parents supporting my dream of becoming a photographer long ago, my now fatherly advice to an alumni daughter stressed the practical, but also advised exploring the road less traveled with the idea of embracing failure in order to learn.


This entry was posted on Thursday, August 16th, 2012 at 11:07am and is filed under New Additions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

  1. Mark Sink

    on November 6th, 2012 - 12:12pm Mark Sink said:

    My first thought right off is no ..it is not Frances Breese. Doesn't look like her.. but i could be wrong, her at a young age and cameras lie often. I looked through her files and the three "Tanty" books she wrote about her life. None have that image. I think she would have included a important photo like that. I forwarded the image to her grandson Tim Breese Miller to see what he thinks. He doesnt think it Frances ether. "No, I don't think it is grandmother in the picture. Probably a society girl. I don't recognize her right off the bat." JLB photographed many many woman. The Eastman House has over 250 unidentified portraits of women by him. I have several hundred in my collection. I will keep it in mind.

  2. Timothy Breese Miller

    on November 5th, 2012 - 11:57am Timothy Breese Miller said:

    No, this is not Frances Breese (my grandmother). It may have been a model or a society girl.

  3. Pasvorn Boonmark

    on November 4th, 2012 - 10:43am Pasvorn Boonmark said:

    Interesting picture. Do you know who she is?
    I believe this is Frances Breese, just FYI.

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