Category Archives: 1920s

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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Treasure and Trash on Pinterest

I have given up on Pinterest many times.  After getting recommendations from friends and sewing teachers, I’ve tried to assemble various “collections” of things that inspire me.  Each time I have delved into that chaotic bundle of images, I have … Continue reading

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Ida B. Wells–A Giant among Women

Here is a short list of Ida B. Wells’s accomplishments: school teacher, journalist, newspaper owner, anti-lynching crusader, mother of four, civil rights leader, and black women’s suffrage advocate.  She filled her life (1862-1931) with more achievements than tens of other … Continue reading

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And Your Little Dog, Too

Was the photographer who took this photo used to having dogs in the studio?  Perhaps the woman insisted, since this little dog was clearly important to her.  Did it help her through hard times, like pets are doing for millions … Continue reading

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Dressing for the Great Migration

As a historian, I find comfort in considering how earlier generations have dealt with times of great upheaval. The most obvious parallel to today is the flu epidemic of 1918, but the First World War and its aftermath caused massive … Continue reading

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Those Twenties Textiles

A rule of thumb with sewing is to choose a simple pattern when you have a complex textile.  Simple lines will make the fabric shine, while a complicated design might not even show up well. Might this be why the … Continue reading

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Harriet Strong, the Pampas Woman

When you drive around Southern California, you often see big stands of pampas grass, the tall billowing plant in the background of the photo above. It grows like a weed. Native to South America, the plant was brought here in … Continue reading

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The Arroyo Family of Los Angeles, ca. 1927

This photo comes from a project sponsored by the Los Angeles Public Library called “Shades of LA.” In order to capture the ethnic and racial diversity of the city, the library solicited a wide range of local families to contribute … Continue reading

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On the Road

When ordinary Americans began buying cars in large numbers, car camping became a popular pastime. The first club devoted to this leisure time activity was formed in 1919.  As we can see above, it was not just for the young.  … Continue reading

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Elsie de Wolfe Recommends…

Perhaps you don’t know the name Elsie de Wolfe (ca 1859-1950).  However, if you like Cole Porter maybe you have heard her other name, Lady Mendl.  In the 1934 song “Anything Goes,” her athletic skills make a brief appearance: “When … Continue reading

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