1870s Ledger Art Drawing of a Girl

In the 1870s, the Sedalia Savings Bank in Sedalia, Missouri, provided custimers with deposit slips that reflected the nature of those deposits: gold or silver coins and checks. On the back side of one of those unused slips  dated 187__, an unknown artist put pencil to paper and drew a charmingly naive portrait of a wide-eyed young woman.

As the drawing depicts, the 1870s were a decade when girls and women wore their hair in cascading ringlets; wore bodicies trimmed in lace; carried round tasseled handbags; and dressed in layers of skirt made of sumptuous fabric — indicted by the use of colored pencil, the only color in the piece.

The identify of the artist and his subjects is a mystery because whatever is written on the front side of the deposit slip is too old and faded to decipher. But the drawing itself — 130-something years old — is in very good condition. A contemporary alligator patterned frame measuring 12” x 14” is the perfect compliment.


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