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Samuel F. B. Morse (1791-1872)
Mrs. Juliet Kahlenkamp, ca. 1829
Oil on canvas
Harriet Russell Stanley Fund - 1947.23

This particular portrait is something of an enigma to the costume historian. The costume would have been fashionable between the late 1820s and mid-1830s when the size of the sleeve greatly expanded. However, since older American women clung to previous styles, it is difficult to place an exact date on her costume. The finely woven but unadorned mull fichu would be an appropriate accessory for an older, conservative woman not given to ostentatious displays of wealth. American women usually wore caps indoors: Mrs. Kahlenkamp's lace-trimmed cap is similar to those depicted in any number of American portraits from the first half of the nineteenth century. It covers her entire head and ties under her chin with a satin ribbon.