Thoroughly Trivial Tuesday!

Today, allow me to show you a treasured family heirloom. It is a photograph of my great-grandmother and great-grandfather on their wedding day, and I think, when you see it, you will understand why it is so dear to me:
Wedding Picture
The bride is Verena Michel, originally of Weisen, Switzerland. The man she is marrying is Carl Yahnke. It is November 21st, 1904, and obviously an occasion of great pomp and ceremo—huh.
Wait a minute.
Is that…?
Is her dress open?
I have seen hundreds of staged turn-of-the-century photographs, at garage sales and antique stores. But I have never seen one quite like this, which is what makes it so delightful.
You have to wonder what they were up to just before the picture was taken.


  1. Kate says:

    Ha ha! That made me LOL. I think they totally have that “We weren’t doin’ nuthing” look to them. Boy, wouldn’t you love to know the truth?

  2. Lila says:

    I guess her outfit consisted of diffrent parts, and the brighter front part was a so-called “chemisettchen”, i.e., a little chemise. One could button it off easily and button on something else instead.

    In order to change your outfit and give the striking impression of a woman blessed with many different dresses, all you had to do was invest in some chemisettchen… of course, if you leave some buttons open, the illusion is destroyed and the imagination of your great-grandchildren fired…

    The picture is lovely. They do look a bit terrified.

  3. Oh my! Do you think something popped under strain?! My own right boob is rather larger than the left and does tend to make a bid for freedom on its own occasionally.

    Such a pretty lady! But there’s something vaguely suggestive of ‘What HAVE I DONE?’ about your G-Grandfather’s wide-eyed stare.

    How will you explain the peculiar blouse incident to Simone?!

  4. Flicka says:


    It’s a lovely picture despite the boobage. I can see a bit of your cheeks and mouth in your great-grandmother. Or vice-versa. You know what I mean.

  5. Brenda says:

    LOL! Is it just me or does the left side of his face look a little swollen? It’s probably just the fuzziness from the photograph, but still I wonder if she had other feelings about “getting to know each other better” just before the photograph was taken?!?

  6. Jill says:

    They’re not telling, are they? In fact, there’s not the slightest trace of a smirk on either of their lips and nary a twinkle to be seen in their eyes.
    Which makes me suspect one of two scenarios: (1) It was deliberate. In the town where they lived, at the time they were wed, “flashing” was a fad among young adults. Points were given for where the exposure took place (in the harness-maker’s shop and waiting in line at the bakery were two popular spots.) The most daring of all the young Swedish flashers chose to be photographed, straight-faced, in the act. Everybody got a huge laugh out of it afterwards.
    Scenario 2: it was inadvertent. She spilled some coffee on her shirtwaist just before the picture was to be taken. The photographer offered to lend her a replacement from his array of costumes and in her haste to button the unfamiliar garment, she missed a few buttonholes.
    Photography was expensive in those days and they WERE Swedes, after all, so what was the big deal about a nipple showing? They didn’t bother to have the photograph re-done. In fact, it took a place of honor in the parlor and everybody had a lot of laughs out of it.

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