“I’m Proud to Admit I’m a Grandmother,” 1947

Harper's Bazaar, 1947

Harper’s Bazaar, 1947

Most advertisements containing grandmothers refer to their homey, family loving qualities. This is the earliest I’ve seen that praises her as a glamorous figure. It’s worth noting that this stylish grandmother appears over half a year before the birth of Mrs. Exeter in Vogue in June 1948. Maybe there was something in the post World War Two atmosphere that made people see older women as a new consumer market.

I discovered this ad in the reference room of the main library in Denver. My sister and I happily spent the better part of an afternoon thumbing  through their complete collection of Harper’s Bazaar magazines. She was looking for interesting textiles; I was on the hunt for older women.

Iphone in hand, I chose issues from 1935 (height of the Depression), 1947 (the start of the New Look), and 1960 (a fashion era I like.) I learned a lot. First of all, it’s hard to take photos of bound volumes, since the pages are apt to be curved. Any advice on how to solve this problem? Second, my record keeping techniques need work. I believe this image is from November 1947, but I cannot swear to it. Getting references wrong is akin to grand theft for a professional historian, so I need to up my game.

These days, you can stumble over piles of anti-aging creams in every supermarket. In 1947, Charles of the Ritz was in the vanguard of this beauty trend. The company no longer exists, sold first to Squibb, then to Yves St. Laurent, then to Revlon. It is mourned by many. Read through the comments on this blog post. And for the adventurous, you might want to try a new version of this cream, My Essence Moisturizer, an attempt to recreate a classic.

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4 Responses to “I’m Proud to Admit I’m a Grandmother,” 1947

  1. There really is not a good way to take photos of a thick bound book, but I usually hold the thinner side at a 90* angle which helps eliminate the rolling of the paper. When I’m taking photos like this away from home I always take a snap of the cover or the title page, followed by the photos of the interior. That way I don’t have to stop and write everything down, and I don’t forget!

    • Jen O says:

      A library collection of Harper’s Bazaar? That’s a fun idea. I second both of Lizzie’s suggestions. Even single volume magazines often need the 90 degree angle trick, with the magazine facing your light source so that upright page doesn’t cast a shadow.

    • Lynn says:

      Thanks for the tips, Lizzie!

  2. Get the jotnot app. It’s not perfect but it ‘straightens’ stuff by letting you select usable bits. It also combines everything into a pdf and lets you email it to yourself/any email.
    Best of luck!

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