Edwardian Street Fashion and Victorian Outlaw Style - Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid

It comes as no surprise that I find Victorian and Edwardian fashion, jewelry, design and technology endlessly fascinating, particularly as represented early photography.  Perhaps it is the very availability of photography and the ability to see faces of the past that is so compelling.  We are reminded that we are descended from actual people, like these ladies caught in a candid street style photos by Edward Linley Sanbourne.

You might enjoy the fashion and photo collections I've compiled on Pinterest on Victorian Fashion and Jewelry and Edwardian Fashion. However, it's all too common for photos to appear without context and origin.  The Reddit HistoryPorn subreddit is a great selection of historical photos with comments and sources. I came across this photo of Butch Cassidy and found myself utterly charmed by his style.

This 1900 photograph taken in Forth Worth, Texas, shows Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch. Notice how sharp these outlaw cowboys look - all spiffed up for their official portrait. Called the "Fort Worth Five," This photo features Harry A. Longabaugh, aka the Sundance Kid, Ben Kilpatrick, aka the Tall Texan, Robert Leroy Parker, aka Butch Cassidy; Standing: Will Carver & Harvey Logan, aka Kid Curry; Fort Worth, Texas, 1900. Each has their pocket watch chain outfitted with a decorative fob. 

Until about 1850, pocket watches required keys to keep them wound, which were attached at the end of the watch chain. Once "keyless wind" watches were introduced - some of the first to Queen Victoria at the 1851 Great Exhibition, decorative fobs increasingly came into fashion as an expression of personal style - lockets, cameos, monograms, signets and seals, coins and other keepsakes, most of which are represented by the gents in Cassidy's crew.

This most fabulous studio portrait of the Sundance Kid and his sweetheart, known as Ethel or Etta Place, is nothing short of spectacular. Harry Alonzo Longabough, was a known as the Sundance Kid, a name he got during the 18 months he did for stealing a horse, saddle and a gun in Sundance, Wyoming. Much of historical record available on this crew is from the scattered notes of the Pinkerton Detectives, who recorded that Etta and Harry purchased a lapel watch and stickpin (she's wearing them in the photo). This portrait, taken at a studio in Union Square on Broadway was taken just before they fled to Buenos Aires, Argentina on the British ship Herminius.

After ranching in South America for about 5 years, both Butch Cassidy and Longaborough were alleged to have been killed after a robbery in Bolivia on November 6, 1908, there are lots of delightful stories about post-1908 sightings of both he and Butch Cassidy long after 1908, including testimony from family members and exhumed gravesites! You can listen to a radio story from Radio New Zealand here.

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