Category Archives: 1950s

Domestic Scene, 1954

This snapshot evokes happy childhood memories for me.  Some of my fondest recollections of my grandmother are when she was at her sewing machine.  One Easter she made matching dresses for me, my sister, and my four cousins.  For an … Continue reading

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What to Wear to a Cold War Summit, 1959

During the late 1950s, when Nikita Khrushchev came to power in the Soviet Union, there was a brief thaw in the Cold War between that country and the United States.  One sign of the shift was a big exhibit of … Continue reading

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A Stylish Stout Woman at the Beach, 1953

In the 1920s, makers of plus size clothing, what was then called “stoutwear,” invented different names and sizes for different kinds of larger bodies.  A big breasted figure with a relatively small waist was named a “stylish stout.”  It was … Continue reading

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A Navajo Fourth of July, 1953

Whatever you wore for the Fourth of July celebration, it was probably not nearly as beautiful as this Navajo woman’s outfit.  The shirt is most likely velvet, the traditional fabric for Navajo women’s festive clothing.  It is adorned with silver … Continue reading

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Window Shopping in Mobile, Alabama, 1956

If the Facebook page “Mid Century in Color” is any indication, most amateur photographers using color film in the US in the mid twentieth century were white—and they created an image of an all-white America.  Luckily, professional photographers of color … Continue reading

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Learning from the Facebook Group “Mid Century in Color”

Sometimes I wonder just who Facebook thinks I am, sending me links to sites about farms and baby animals.  But recently the mysterious algorithm provided something I treasure—a link to the wonderful resource Mid Century in Color: Amateur Photographic Slides … Continue reading

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Maree’s Fashion Cycle

Many sociologists who study fashion try to determine when and for what reason people buy clothes. For a long time, the assumption was that older people tended to slow down consumption as they aged. Why? Often they have a smaller … Continue reading

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Summer at Martha’s Vineyard, 1950s

It is the wrong season for this picture, but I couldn’t resist since it contains some of my favorite elements—the many kinds of pants and shorts worn in the 1950s and a stark generational contrast between the old and young. … Continue reading

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Mae Reeves, Queen of Hats

You might know the names of famous black fashion designers—Ann Lowe is having a moment on sewing sites right now.  But how about black milliners?  One the biggest names in that field is Mae Reeves (1912-2016), who ran an extremely … Continue reading

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Portrait of a Woman with Butterfly

In honor of Black History Month, I’ve been searching for collections of photographs of African Americans that might include older women.  One rich source I discovered is the private collection of Mike Cochran, given to the Portal of Texas History.  … Continue reading

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