Category Archives: 1930s

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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Sewing for the Works Progress Administration, 1936

In the US, most of us have probably come across a bridge or a trail that was built by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the Depression Era government sponsored employment agency.  Not only did the program build bridges and sponsor … Continue reading

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Sewing Baseballs, 1938

Of course I know that baseball covers have stitches, but until I saw this photo I didn’t realize that the covers were stitched together by hand.  Even today most covers are hand stitched, although the process is done in a … Continue reading

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The Fourth of July in South Carolina, 1939

The Library of Congress has a series of photographs of an African American Fourth of July celebration on St. Helena Island off of South Carolina in 1939.  They were taken by Marian Post Wolcott, a photographer working for the Farm … Continue reading

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Cat Lady with Sandals, 1930s

These days, wearing socks and sandals is often considered a fashion faux pas for women, but this wasn’t always the case.  The older woman above is happily wearing the combination while playing with (or torturing?) her cat.  Using the wisdom … Continue reading

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On the Go, 1938

What trips have you given up this summer?  I had two planned, one to see my daughter in the Boston area and another to visit an old friend in England.  As a financially stable woman nearing 70, I am in … Continue reading

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Cassie and Jennie, 1932

A handwritten message on the back of this photo gives me names and dates, and I know that it comes from my stepfather’s family.  Unfortunately, there is no one left to tell me who Cassie and Jennie were. I do … Continue reading

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Summer Outfit, Mid 1930s

When I found this photo on eBay, I originally thought the pattern was dots—and I was about to launch into an essay on the love of dotted fabric in the 1930s.  However, once I enlarged it the pattern looked more … Continue reading

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Pola Stout in Pola Stout

Since Lizzie Bramlett of the blog The Vintage Traveler has been covering the fascinating work of Hollywood designer Adrian, I remembered an old post I wrote about one of his main textile designers, Pola Stout. I accidentally eliminated it some … Continue reading

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Medicalizing Menopause in the 1930s and 1940s

Is menopause a medical condition that needs to be cured? That was certainly the message conveyed in a series of ads from Parke, Davis & Co. published in mainstream publications from the late 1930s through the 1940s. Just a bit … Continue reading

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