Category Archives: 1930s

When did you get that hat? My guess—ca. 1938

If ever there was a time for wild hats, it was the late 1930s.  Life magazine even did a special spread on hat madness in late 1937 called “Anything Goes as a Hat for a Woman.” It featured gloves, huge … Continue reading

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The Height of Chic—Sewing Patterns for Older Women, 1938

While leafing through the 16 page brochure, Butterick Fashion News from April 1938, I knew right away that this page was dedicated to patterns for older women.  What were the clues? First of all, the drawings were different.  While other … Continue reading

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Mary Colter–Architect of the Southwest

You don’t have to spend much time at the south rim of the Grand Canyon to hear the name Mary Colter (1869-1958).  She designed Bright Angel Lodge, the Hopi House, and the Lookout Studio, which fits into the walls of … Continue reading

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Migrant Grandmother, 1938

Dorothea Lange’s most famous photo is of the migrant mother, a young Oklahoma woman and her children in a farm laborer camp in California.  The migrant mother has become the iconic expression of hardship during the Great Depression.  But it … Continue reading

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The World of Beatrice F. Auerbach

Beatrice Fox Auerbach (1887-1968) was not raised to become a woman of business. Born into the family that owned the G. Fox & Co. department store in Hartford Connecticut, she received the kind of finishing school education her parents believed … Continue reading

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A Georgia Grandmother in Pants, ca. 1934

What we call pants today were once known by many other names—bloomers, knickers, knickerbockers, trousers, and even pajamas.  I was reminded of the latter name by a 1931 Vogue article “Pyjamas—When Are They Worn?” The article uses the term pyjamas  … Continue reading

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Lou Hoover at the Sewing Machine, 1932

A sucker for anything sewing related, I snatched up this ebay photo of Lou Hoover (1874-1944), wife of Herbert Hoover. I had never given Herbert Hoover’s wife any thought, but just a little research on the First Ladies website reveals … Continue reading

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Power Dressing at the Telephone Switchboard, 1930s

This photo shows a stark contrast in dress between the apparent supervisor, standing up with her hands behind her back, and the women working the switchboard.  In a dark skirt topped by a white shirt with cuffs, the supervisor looks … Continue reading

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Older Women in Jeans, 1939

These days well-fitting jeans are on style lists for all women, regardless of their ages.  When did they start to be part of older women’s clothing choices? The 1939 movie The Women featured an older woman in jeans, the much … Continue reading

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Pants Party, 1934

This picture needs its own short story, or maybe its own novel. At the center is a young man with some sort of hanging logo for the radio station KTRB. He is surrounded by women young and old, many wearing … Continue reading

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