Category Archives: 1920s

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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Minnesota Reunion, 1921

How I love people who annotate their photographs!  This one shows a family reunion in Nevis, Minnesota, in the northern part of the state. There is a long list of names on the back, including the Hayworths, Babbs, Ballards, Smiths, … Continue reading

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A Uniform for the Old–A Lace Collar on a Black Dress

Last week’s photo reminded me that the black dress with a lace collar served as a kind of uniform for the old in the first half of the twentieth century.  The outfit combines two elements deemed necessary in any older … Continue reading

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The Ebell Club of Los Angeles, 1927

The Ebell Club of Los Angeles, founded in 1894 and still going strong, was part of a network of women’s institutions devoted to women’s education and philanthropy. As we can see in this photo, the members were mainly the well … Continue reading

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Elsie de Wolfe, Older Icon from the 1920s

Elsie de Wolfe, the famed interior designer, lied about her age.  According to the birth date on her passport, which many questioned, she was at least 57 years old when she was featured in a Ladies Home Journal fashion spread … Continue reading

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The Sporting Life, 1923

According to fashion historians, women’s participation in sports was perhaps the biggest engine driving the change to ever more casual clothing in the twentieth century.  Serious sportswomen wanted more range of movement than conventional clothing allowed.  Skirts got shorter, fabric … Continue reading

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Miss Preckle of Denver 1923

As much as I love the spontaneity of family snap shots, the quality of professional work can really be astounding.  This luminous photograph comes from the estate of a Denver studio photographer.  You can almost count each sequin on her … Continue reading

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Criss Cross–Age and the Surplice Neckline

My friend Sally recently gave me a small snapshot album from 1924 containing fourteen photos.  Many are so faded that it is hard to see what is going on, but there are lots of young women having fun.  Only in … Continue reading

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My Grandmother’s Quilt

My grandmother Madge had exquisite sewing skills. She made clothing for herself, her children, and eventually her grandchildren.  That must have added up to a lot of scraps, but quilting was not high on her list.  As far as I … Continue reading

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Who Is Who?

“My mother, my sister-in-law and myself,” it reads on the back of this photo.  But who is who?  I am guessing from the shape of the noses that the stylishly dressed daughter is on the left, the mother in middle, … Continue reading

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