Unidentified Photographer (U.S.)

Three Little Maids

Tintype, circa 1885

Approximately 3.5 x 2.25 inches

 

There can be little doubt about the inspiration for this unusual pose: it must have been "Three Little Maids from School," the catchy trio from Gilbert & Sullivan's The Mikado, which begins:

Three little maids from school are we,

Pert as a school-girl well can be,

Filled to the brim with girlish glee,

Three little maids from school!

The Mikado premiered in London in 1885. Within months, there were performances (both authorized and unauthorized) in the United States.

Unidentified artist

Advertising Card for the Tricora Corset

Chromolithograph, circa 1885

Here the three little maids (Yum-Yum, Peep-Bo, and Pitti-Sing) are attempting to sell a particular brand of corset.

Perhaps this approach proved too subtle, for in another version of this card the fans held by the women have been removed... and the "maids" are instead holding girdles!

 

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Thanks to Prof. Jan Schimmelman for Research Help
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