Tag Archives: hats/headcoverings

On the Ferry, 1943

On a recent visit to relatives in the San Francisco Bay area, I went to the Oakland Museum’s exhibit, Dorothea Lange–The Politics of Seeing.  The museum is the depository of Lange’s archive, so it was a chance to see some … Continue reading

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Does this Hat Make my Head Look Big?

Staring in 1900, almost every Montgomery Ward catalog I paged through offered hats designed specifically for older women.  At first I noticed only the random hat, when words like “mature” or “elderly” caught my eye.  But by the 1910s catalogs … Continue reading

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Elderly, Matronly, or Mature? Montgomery Ward Experiments with Names

In 1912, the Montgomery Ward catalog went through a major revision that favored women clothing buyers.  Before that year, women’s clothing was scattered throughout the catalog; you had to look through the index to find everything offered to female consumers.  … Continue reading

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For the Love of Circles, 1939

I’ve just returned from a trip to Laramie Wyoming, where I spent a week looking through Montgomery Ward catalogs at the American Heritage Center.  Not everyone would call that a fun vacation, but I do!  You will see results from … Continue reading

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Exercise Classes at Century Village, 1973

In the 1970s, the Environmental Protection Agency of US government sponsored a photo documentation project inspired in part by the efforts by the Farm Security Administration (FSA) during the Great Depression. Called Docuamerica, the project lasted from 1972 to 1978 … Continue reading

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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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Trackwomen, 1943

During the Second World War, women took on all kinds of jobs traditionally held by men. One was the position of “trackman,” someone who maintained railroad tracks.  The job still exists. This photo from the Women’s Bureau at the National … 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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Mother’s Day in Milwaukee, 1963

  I love geometrics—give me a stripe over a flower any day. Mother’s Day is a flowery holiday, and the grandmother’s and granddaughter’s head gear give nod in this direction. However, the clothes in this three generation composition have the … Continue reading

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The Spring Suit, 1940s

I remember knitted suits from my childhood, and they evoke a kind of musty feeling for me, perhaps because they were the favorite outfit of my least favorite high school teacher.  This particular photograph comes from the very late thirties … Continue reading

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