Spoiler…I’ve since found proof that this is not Sarah (Thomas) Selleck but I’m leaving this post as it was originally written. Click here to see a photo of the true Sarah.
This cased ambrotype was picked up by a fellow collector in Connecticut. I loved the subject’s expression and pose and decided to add it to my collection. Written in pencil on the case’s paper lining, I discovered the following inscription; “Sarah A. Thomas Glens Falls Warren Co. N.Y.”
We can only speculate that the woman in the image is the woman identified in the writing. It’s possible this ambrotype might not be original to the case it is now housed in. Think about how many hands it likely passed through over the last 155 years.
That being said, let’s look at the clues. Based on the sitter’s clothing this image was captured sometime during the early 1860s. Since not everyone had the financial means to wear the latest fashion we can also look at the sitter’s hairstyle. She wore her hair pulled back, close to the head, and covering the top of her ears. This style fits with an approximate date of 1862-1865.
Sarah A. Thomas of Glens Falls was born in March 1845, daughter of a farmer named Elnathan Thomas and his wife Mary (Wilbur). In August 1865 Sarah married Fayette Selleck. Could our sitter be in her early twenties or a bit younger? Let me know what you think in the comments.
Samuel Thomas, Sarah’s only sibling, died at the young age of twenty-eight. At the time of his death Sarah had already grieved the loss of her only two children, Elmer in 1867 and Samuel in 1869, who both passed before the age of two.
Sarah lived to be seventy-nine and is buried in Glens Falls Cemetery with her husband and sons.