A 1900s lesbian couple?

1900 lesbian couple

I’m not sure quite what’s going on in this photo. Are they a lesbian couple (which I’m guessing would have been pretty scandalous at this time), or is the woman dressing as a man because her husband wasn’t around and a lady couldn’t sit on an ‘actual’ man’s lap without losing her reputation…?

There’s no information with the original photo, it’s just titled ‘Young couple seated in garden, c. 1900’ so no clues there. What do you think?

There’s something very similar about their profiles, so I wonder whether they’re actually sisters…

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5 thoughts on “A 1900s lesbian couple?

  1. Morgan Edelman

    Hello! I’m a historian currently researching Boston Marriages in the 19th an 20th century! These unions, in which two women lived together, engaging in their own marriage, usually under the guise of friendship in order to have social and educational freedom, were fairly common, and even encouraged in some cases. It was not uncommon for one of the participants to dress as a man, as these marriages closely mimicked heterosexual marriages.


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