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Revealing contrasts are found as well in the daguerreotypes of the cosmopolitan Deering sisters of Portland and their “country cousins”, the Judkins sisters of Palmyra. Members of one of the city’s most prominent families, the five Deering sisters are fashionably dressed and artistically posed around their mother, Anna Margaret Holwell Deering. The daughter of Major John Z. Holwell, Anna Margaret married Nathaniel Deering, a noted attorney, editor composer, and dramatist.

More conventionally posed are Elizabeth P. Judkins, wife of farmer Benjamin Judkins, and her four daughters, all modestly attired in contrast to the Deerings. With her hand to her cheek, Mrs. Judkins stares pensively into the camera, setting a serious tone reflected in the expressions of her girls. These are faces hardened by the experience of life in pre-Civil War rural Maine.

Appearances can be deceiving. A glance at the finely dressed Weeks family belies the fact that father and son made their living by their hands. John Weeks worked as a joiner in Portland from 1837 to 1887, and his son William assisted him in the trade of finish carpentry for houses and buildings from 1856 to 1871. The Weeks family resided on such Munjoy Hill streets as Beckett, Merrill, and Vesper.