Little Girl Schmidt


    Traditionally nineteenth century artists painted clouds below the bust of a subject to indicate the portrait was painted after death. At one time it was assumed that this was the portrait of a young child who was deceased. For a long time it has been said that the portrait is that of Margaret Hedwig Schmidt, known as "Maggie." However, in the book The Descendants of Augustine and Hedwig Schmidt of Demopolis, Alabama, it states that Maggie was born in 1864. There are records that indicate Maggie was baptized and confirmed in 1881, and that she was married in 1886 to Paul Augustus Floyd. Before she died she moved back to Tuscaloosa to live with her daughter Hettie and her husband. She died in 1959.

The portrait is dated 1864. Obviously the child in the painting is not an infant but probably a child of at least two years of age. So, is it really Maggie? Perhaps the Schmidts had another child of at least two years of age, born between 1860 and 1864, whose brief life went unrecorded except for this portrait.