A scissor-wielding seamstress prepares to cut a length of string attached to a pair of trousers. A second pair of scissors lay open on the base of her dress. A cardboard box of color-tinted ribbons sits perched on a studio couch or covered stool. The pants, made of heavy, dark material and lined, resemble a pair of private purchase officer’s trousers.
The women is identified on the back as “Friend of Mother: Mrs. Cynthia Bower.” According to the 1860 federal census for Milton, Pa., the location of the photographer’s studio, and surrounding Northumberland County, the record lists 55 individuals with the Bower surname. None are named Cynthia.