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Pince-nez glasses (French for “pinch nose”) reached their peak popularity during the late Victorian era, approximately 1880 to 1900. Pince-nez glasses were not secured to the face by going over the ears, but rather by pinching the nose. U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt famously sported this style of glasses. Due to their being secured by the nose, it was common for pince-nez glasses to be attached to a chain – note the small loop on the right side of the glasses in our collection.
This particular pair somehow made its way to Fernandina from New York. The leather case bears the name and address of a New York optometrist: "Dr. S. Mermelstein, 392 Grand St., New York—rd."
An advertisement for Dr. Mermelstein’s practice in a 1921 edition of the New York Justice newspaper features a pair of pince-nezes.