Mollie Hineman

Thanks to some of our very intelligent and well-informed readers, I can now answer that question about what Mollie is holding! 

In her right hand she holds a head rest. You can see a more complete picture on the page with Leonard Hineman's photo.

These were used by early photographers to help the subject hold his or her head still during the relatively long exposure time as the photograph was being made. 

Mollie's left hand holds an iron, but it's a very small one. I originally thought it might be a toy iron, but a reader suggested that it was a shirt collar iron. That makes sense, especially in a photographer's studio, where one might need to make a quick touch-up to one's wrinkled collar.

Thanks to everyone who wrote to me about this! I will add a link to a wonderful web site with illustrations of early photographers' head rests, provided the owner of the website gives me permission to link to the page.  Stay tuned...

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