Category Archives: 1920s

Colors for the Mature Woman, 1920s

This small pamphlet comes from the Women’s Institute, a correspondent school for sewing, millinery, and cooking, run by the famous Mary Brooks Picken.  Thanks to Lizzie Bramlett for sending it on from her large collection.  On one side it offers … Continue reading

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Half Sizes Part 5: The Record in Montgomery Ward Catalogs

I’ve long been fascinated by the category of “half-sizes,” a term now associated with clothing for shorter and wider women.  But until the US government issued standardized sizing guidelines in the 1950s, the term “half size” could mean just about … Continue reading

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Pants for Women in Montgomery Ward Catalogs, 1907-1924

When did Montgomery Ward begin offering pants designed for women?  The first mention I found (and I could have easily missed some) had to do with horseback riding.  In 1907, you could buy a custom made divided skirt “for cross … Continue reading

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Gertrude Atherton’s Fountain of Youth

What lengths would you go to in order to stay young?  In 1922, the then famous California novelist Gertrude Atherton (1857-1948) underwent an experimental x-ray treatment to her ovaries that was believed to stimulate estrogen production.  She pronounced the process … 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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Edith Wharton in Knits, 1920s

If you have read any of Edith Wharton’s novels, you know that she was extremely interested in clothes.  Lily Bart’s decline in House of Mirth is indicated when she can no longer afford to keep up with fashion.  In The … Continue reading

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New Archives to Explore—Textile Records at Cornell University

Not everyone gets excited when they hear the word “archive,” but I do.  And combine “archive” with “textiles” and my blood really starts rushing. Recently, the history librarian at my university sent me news that Cornell University Library has acquired … Continue reading

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A Woman in a Feathered Boa, 1920s

Feathered boas go in and out of style.  Searching on the wonderful home economics site Hearth, I found instructions on how to clean them in a housekeeping guide from 1908. You shake them out and then dip them in gasoline! … Continue reading

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Myrtle Bell Moten and Friends, 1929

I didn’t want to let black history month slip by without a post.  These women aren’t old, but I liked their outfits so much I wanted to include them.  The snapshot comes from the collection of the Moten family, prosperous … Continue reading

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Fur and the Older Woman in the 1920s

As I learned during a winter in Moscow with a borrowed muskrat coat, the primary reason to wear fur is to keep warm.  But in advice literature aimed at older women, fur was said to possess additional magic features.  Its … Continue reading

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