1These are three silver gelatin photograph, each measuring 9 x 6 3/4 inches. I have a total of five photos: three different images, two are repeats. In two of the images, the subject is posing with a woman in a dress. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

I am a cataloguer at an auction house and would like to accurately describe the time period and uniform in the photo. I am also intrigued by the idea that the person in the photograph may have been assigned the female gender at birth but was living a different lifestyle and perhaps passing as a cis gender man to serve in the army, although I am aware that the photos may have just been taken for fun.

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  • 5
    Is it my imagination, or does the face appear female? Unlikely, but...?
    – TheHonRose
    Jun 9, 2021 at 12:13
  • 3
    Perhaps this is is theatrical costume? Jun 9, 2021 at 15:10
  • 6
    I do believe that the subject is female @TheHonRose
    – devonista
    Jun 9, 2021 at 15:31
  • 1
    I was wondering whether she might have been in the medical corps, and whether a woman would have been allowed to serve in any branch of the Italian military in this period
    – devonista
    Jun 9, 2021 at 15:32
  • 5
    @T.E.D With respect, I believe it is relevant, given the general, if not universal, historical ban on women serving in most military forces, until very recently. This is PC gone mad!
    – TheHonRose
    Jun 11, 2021 at 8:50

1 Answer 1


It's a world war one era "Regio Esercito" (Italian army) uniform like the ones you can see here.

the ranks on the cuff confirm the WW1 era (by design) and indicate the rank of Major, confirming this we have the jacket with pockets that was supplied only to the officers as the troops were without them. Rank of WW1 Italian Army (In Italian)

The uniform worn is the gray-green model of 1909 the standard for the troops of the time.

enter image description here

Unfortunately, without seeing the color on the collar, it is impossible to determine exactly which regiment it belonged to.

  • 1
    Thank you very much for your thorough reply. I am assuming that such a rank would not be available to women at this time. Can you confirm this for me?
    – devonista
    Jun 10, 2021 at 14:54
  • 6
    @devonista women can only join the Italian army since 1999 so during WW1 was impossible for a woman to have a combat role, the only women you could find near the trenches were nurses from the red cross who had their own separate ranks it.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    – Viralk
    Jun 10, 2021 at 15:14
  • 1
    The uniform in the original picture looks pristine too. As if is hasn't seen much, if any, use prior to the picture being taken. However, it does look well-fitted to the wearer, not like she's(?) wearing some other guy's uniform.
    – T.E.D.
    Jun 11, 2021 at 13:31
  • 4
    Well-fitted it does not look to me. The belt does a lot what the cut doesn't do. Also: notice the unbuttoned pockets! Jun 12, 2021 at 11:13
  • 3
    @LangLangC - I agree, the 'Sam Brown' belt is cinched very tightly!
    – TheHonRose
    Jun 12, 2021 at 17:03

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