Category Archives: 1920s

Maggie Walker and the St. Luke’s Penny Saving Bank

Maggie Lena Walker (1864-1934) is not a household name, but she made a huge difference in the lives of African Americans in the Richmond, Virginia area.  In 1903, she was the first woman of any race to found a bank.  … Continue reading

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The Black Women of Appalachia, 1920s

If you are looking for dignified portraits of older American women, sooner or later you will come across the work of Doris Ulmann (1882-1934). She started out as a celebrity photographer, but in the 1920s her life took a turn.  … Continue reading

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Filipino and American Styles, 1922

The two women standing face to face above had one thing in common–they were both passionate advocates of women’s suffrage. On the right is Sofia de Veyra (1876-1953), renowned advocate of Philippine independence. On the left is First Lady Florence … Continue reading

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Gold Star Mothers on Memorial Day, 1924

With all the talk of road trips and crowded airports, Memorial Day is mainly known as the official start of the vacation season in the United States.  However, its original purpose was to honor war dead.  Read this fascinating articles … Continue reading

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Tanaka Designing and Tailoring School, 1925

Although the banner in the background mentions ladies and gents, I see only women and children here. I suppose the students were making both women’s and men’s clothing. The photo possibly depicts some kind of open house or graduation ceremony.  … Continue reading

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A Fabulous House Dress, Early 1920s

What an amazing outfit—but where did it come from?  I turned to the experts at the Vintage Fashion Guild for help.  Jonathan Walford, noted fashion historian and head of the Fashion History Museum in Canada, came back with the most … Continue reading

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The Flapper’s Mother…and Grandmother

I have always thought there was something sad about flapper-style clothing on older women. The dresses were designed to fall in an unbroken line from the shoulders, but that only worked if there weren’t a lot of curves below.  To … Continue reading

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Strange Fur Pieces from the 1920s

The undated photo above shows New York governor Al Smith and his wife Catherine in around 1925, judging by the length of her skirt.  That would make Catherine, born in 1875, just about fifty here. This photo makes me reassess … Continue reading

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Mary B. Talbert, Feminist Icon

Why isn’t Mary B. Talbert (1866-1923) better known?  I discovered her through a feature on black women suffragists at the Digital Public Library of America.  However, suffrage was just one of her causes.  She was involved in the anti lynching … Continue reading

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My Great Great Grandmother, Mary Wade

It’s not often you get such a clear picture of an old relative.  My aunt discovered this photo when she was moving.  In my grandmother’s handwriting on the back it says “My grandmother Wade.”  Given all the online sleuthing tools … Continue reading

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