I think this portrait may have been taken at the beginning of a school year considering that the girl is holding her chalkboard and schoolbooks in the picture. She doesn't look quite young enough to be starting first grade, though, so it's probably not just before her first day of school.
I don't know what it is, but this is one of my favorites. I work at a store that buys out estates and sells the items from them and I bought this straight out of some new inventory. It was the only photo in the group, mixed in with a bunch of postcards from the 50's and 60's.
The top and bottom of it are cut off and it looks like it was torn off of something made of cloth as there are a couple of cloth remnants stuck to the back of it. The name of the photographer's studio is illegible as much of it is torn off, but it was taken in Selena, Alabama. I would place it somewhere in the 1880's based on the clothing and the condition of it.