Tag Archives: Illinois

Sewing Classes in Chicago, ca. 1960

September is National Sewing Month, and I’m happily turning my attention away from our fraught political climate to find photos of older women practicing this craft.  The American Sewing Guild, of which I’m a member, calls sewing “an art and … Continue reading

Posted in 1950s, 1960s | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

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

Posted in 1920s | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Rookwoods, 1907

Sometimes you find astonishing information on the back of old snapshots.  This one turned out to be a treasure.  It reads: “1907–Miss Helen Culver and Miss French at their home Rookwoods, Lake Forest, Ill.  Back entrance.”  Imagine my delight when … Continue reading

Posted in 1900s | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Turbans and the Older Woman

Do you associate certain kinds of hats with certain age groups?  At the beginning of the twenty century, the bonnet tied under the chin was linked to older women.  For me, it is the turban that I associate with this … Continue reading

Posted in 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990 | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Bessie McHugh from her Thirties to her Sixties

“On a steamer going to Catalina, June 25, 1934. That was the way we celebrated Our Anniversary.” So reads the message on the back of this romantic photo.  It depicts John McHugh, born in Ireland in 1889, and his wife … Continue reading

Posted in 1950s | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

On a Treasure Hunt at the Chicago History Museum

Working in an archive is like looking for vintage treasures in an overstuffed warehouse.  You might have some idea of what you want to find, but you need to keep an open mind.  Since my daughter lives in Chicago, I … Continue reading

Posted in 1920s | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

More on Madge, ca. 1951

On a recent visit to my aunt’s house, I started exploring her huge stash of family photos. Why had I never thought to do this while my uncle was still alive to share his stories? But better late than never. … Continue reading

Posted in 1940s, 1950s | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Trying on Hats in Bronzeville, 1941

This evocative photo, captioned “Buying hats in a ten cent store which caters to Negroes,” is included in the volume Bronzeville: Black Chicago in Pictures, 1941-43 (2003). The book matches photos taken by photographers working for the federal government with … Continue reading

Posted in 1940s | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

My Grandmother Madge

My maternal grandmother Madge had couture level sewing skills.  When I asked where she got them, my aunt told me she took classes in downtown Chicago.  She never rested on her laurels. I am thinking of her a lot, since … Continue reading

Posted in 1960s | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Finding Vivian Maier

The enigmatic photographer Vivian Maier (1926-2009), whose work was discovered after she died, is the subject of this documentary by John Maloof. He is one of the two men who are working to bring her vast legacy to the public. … Continue reading

Posted in 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, General | Tagged , , | 5 Comments