Tight corsets, outrageous bustles, picnics, hiking & tea. The Real Housewives of Camden, Maine : 1898-1900.
These rare and interesting vintage photographs by Charles Wilkes Babb (1863-1956) the treasurer at Knox Mill in Camden, Maine, present us with a rare, crystal clear window into the informal life and lifestyle of people who lived a hundred and twenty years ago.
Camden in the mid-1800s was a prosperous, bustling town, one of the most picturesque coastal villages in midcoast Maine. Its mills were well fed by the the Megunticook River’s strong current and every year shipyards along its harbor launched up to a dozen ships.
By the turn of the 19th century, Camden was a summer resort destination of choice for wealthy families who flocked there from cities as far away as Chicago and Washington. The “summer people” built large, sprawling vacation homes around the town and called them their “cottages”.
Babb’s photography focusses on his wife Theresa (1868-1948), her family and her friends from the late 19th century enjoying everyday Camden pursuits; hiking to the summit of Mt. Battie and boating on Lake Megunticook, picnicking on its rugged shoreline.