Category Archives: vintage photographs

Sleeveless (and Almost Sleeveless) in 1924

“New in New York:” Sleeveless dresses, May 1924. Delineator, p. 23.

“The sleeveless styles are to be much worn for country dresses and frocks for restaurant use…. For out of town these dresses are made of the fine cotton materials in white and delicate colors.”

Caption for “New in New York” article by Evelyn Dodge, Delineator, May 1924.

What makes this worth notice is that most contemporary fashion advice until 1924 emphasized that evening dresses were sleeveless; day dresses for city wear were not.

This dress is definitely “sleeveless,” and the parasol tells us that it is not being worn as an evening dress, but an afternoon dress. May 1924.

Although the dress in this illustration does not look short to me, editorial advice in April declared: “Dresses remain decidedly short except for evening. For day dresses sleeves can be long or short [;] evening dresses are sleeveless.” Nevertheless, the rules were obviously changing in 1924, as this drawing of a casino shows:

From an advertisement for Butterick in Delineator, January, 1924. “On the Riviera, in Paris, wherever fashionable society meets….” Dresses with long and short sleeves, as well as sleeveless dresses, are worn at this gaming table, blurring the distinction between day and evening clothes.

Often, nineteen-twenties’ lace, silk, or chiffon afternoon dresses used the same pattern as an evening dress — but the evening version was sleeveless and usually had much lower-cut armholes:

This evening dress for Misses has deep armholes. Butterick 5255, Delineator, June 1924.

Paris showed some very deep armholes in 1924 …

Soulie’s sketch of a Paris evening gown by Doucet, Delineator, June 1924.

Paris couture by Georgette, left, and Lenief, right; March 1924. Delineator.

Description of evening gown by Lenief, March, 1924. Delineator. “For more formal evening use the decolletage is deeper and the bodice is entirely sleeveless.”

Butterick evening gowns from April 1924: No. 5126, in yellow, has armholes that reach the waist. It is a robe de style in the mode of Jeanne Lanvin. No.  5110, in pink, is more conservatively sleeveless.

Sometimes the underarm opening was very revealing; it could be charming when a lace or chiffon under-dress was revealed, as in this advertisement:

Very low-cut armholes reveal the under-garment in this 1924 ad for Vivaudou talcum powder.

Not all evening gowns had extremely deep arm openings:

Not all evening armholes were cut extremely low. Sleeveless Butterick 5064 from April 1924.

However, the “sleeveless” look that caught my attention as distinctly a fashion of 1924 is this one:

A closer look at the “New in New York;” the dress on the right of the illustration of “sleeveless” dresses has an unusual armhole, cut very deep and finished with a band of fabric. Delineator, May 1924.

Several versions were offered as Butterick patterns.

Right, a different illustration of the dress in the editorial illustration: Butterick 5199, shown here in yellow, is a deep-armholed dress is made of sheer chiffon.  May 1924. Notice how far below the top of the slip is the bottom of the armhole.

Butterick 5259 appeared in April, 1924. Anyone looking at her side with the arm raised would have seen inside the dress. It could also be made with long sleeves.

For vintage dealers and historians, here’s an interesting fact: Butterick 5259 used elastic in a casing at the sides of the low waist.

In June, a similar style was illustrated as a dress for Misses:

Butterick 5253 was similar to 5259, but the dress is not printed with stripes; those are graduated tucks which get bigger near the hem.

This blurry photo of a dress by Paul Poiret shows a similar deep armhole with a wide, straight binding:

Photo of a dress by Paul Poiret, from Delineator, July 1924.

“Sleeveless Styles;” detail of Butterick dresses 5350 and 5360, July 1924, Delineator. No. 5360 was available up to size 52.

These are not “sleeveless” by today’s standards; other, more typical 1920’s styles might have a sort of cap sleeve, often cut in one with the shoulder of the dress:

Typical twenties’ dresses with short sleeves, sometimes cut-in-one with the body of the dress. These are not described as sleeveless. All from 1924, Delineator. Butterick 5375, 5368, and 5221

However, I haven’t yet found a specific word for the low, bound arm openings like this one, simply described as “bindings” or “sleeve bands” :

Butterick 5267, from June 1924.

Pattern information an alternate view for Butterick 5267, June 1924. This view (far right) has long sleeves.

These wide, band-bound armholes were also seen a blouse:

Butterick blouse pattern 5575, as shown in November (left) and October, 1924. (Yes, Butterick also sold patterns for cloche hats. See more hat patterns from 1924 here.)

Of course, sleeveless fashions helped to sell certain grooming aids in 1924:

Ads for Zip hair remover, both from Delineator, 1924.  “Those embarrassing moments… those critical looks….” Superfluous hair is “off because it’s out.”

Removal of underarm hair was not a new idea — evening gowns of the 1910’s were also revealing.

This Neet depilatory ad from 1924 suggests that “Perhaps because of an old-fashioned scruple you have hesitated to rid yourself of the disfigurement of underarm hair….Are your arms constantly pinned to your sides? …The swing of convention … is carrying America back to the old Greek ideal of womanly beauty — the unhampered, active, supple body.” It was also a body with underarms as hairless as a marble statue.

Ad for Neet hair remover/depilatory. Delineator, Oct. 1924, p. 25. “…Rid yourself from the disfigurement of underarm hair.”

Ad for Neet dipilatory, Nov. 1924. Delineator, p. 99. (That’s some party!)

In 1925, the peculiar “sleeveless sleeve” I’ve been showing was still around — this time, on a nightgown. I love the striped pajamas, too.

Nightgown 5936 and pajamas 5948; Butterick patterns in  Delineator, April 1925.





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Filed under 1920s, Accessory Patterns, Nightclothes and Robes, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Sportswear, vintage photographs

A Mother’s Day Meditation on My Mother’s Hair (and Maternity,) 1940s

An evening hairstyle from a Vogue fashion flyer, May, 1939.

My mother’s friends joked about her vanity, calling her “glamourpuss,” but she stayed with this 1939 hairstyle for at least ten years.

My mother’s hair, worn in two rolls over her forehead from the late 1930s until about 1950.

I’ll admit, it suited her. In this picture, she’s dressed for the Fourth of July, always a big occasion in our town, with a parade and rodeo.

Her hair, without a hat.

If you’re interested in World War II era hairstyles, I can tell you  how she did hers:  she parted it down the center from forehead to nape, then sectioned off the front. In back, her very long hair was braided into two braids, each long enough to wrap over the top of her head, or around the base, from ear to ear and back, where the ends were tucked neatly under the wide part of the braid. The braids were kept in place with both bobby pins and hairpins, as needed. The rolls were curled in toward the center and secured with pins.  Oddly, I never saw hairspray until the 1950s. She didn’t use it.

The style worked well with hats, and, until I came along, she worked as a secretary for a tobacco company in San Francisco, so she wore a hat to work every day, commuting by train.

My mother in a wide hat, during World War II

Although she had been one of the first girls in town to bob her hair in the early 1920s, she didn’t adopt a short 1950’s Toni perm until a radical mastectomy made it impossible for her to raise both arms over her head.  She couldn’t manage this braided hairstyle any more. Although she hated to cut her long hair, in fact the perm made her look much more youthful because it wasn’t an outdated style, but the latest thing. But that’s not why I’m writing this for Mother’s Day.

While looking through old photos for examples of this hairstyle — which I was stunned to actually find illustrated in that Vogue fashion flyer…

My mother wore her hair in the style illustrated with this 1930’s evening gown pattern from Vogue.

… I was equally surprised to find this photograph of my mother (and me.) I’ve been writing about maternity fashions of the twenties, thirties, and forties. And here is my mother wearing a smock, a few months before I was born:

Maternity wear, 1945. Before motherhood, her hair was a long pageboy in back. Once she had a baby to take care of, she grew long braids and pinned them up.

The fact that this photo exists surprises me. I remember overhearing her bragging that out-of-town friends who came to visit her when she was six months pregnant didn’t realize that she was expecting a baby. (My cynical adult self wonders if they were too polite to mention her weight gain.) On the other hand, no one expected her to have her first child at the age of forty. Also, this was a period when fashion magazines still advised pregnant women to be “inconspicuous” — it wasn’t until Lucille Ball wore maternity clothes on America’s most popular TV show in 1952 that the media stopped being embarrassed by visible pregnancy. The Post-War baby boom ushered in attractive maternity clothing — clothing that celebrated instead of concealing. But that’s a topic I mentioned in my last post.

Probably because my existence put a new financial strain on the household, I don’t think my mother — now that she didn’t have an office job in The City — allowed herself many fashion extravagances. Nevertheless, here we are around 1946. She still looks good in a hat:

My mother, a proud parent at age 41. Her hat has a veil, her knee-length coordinating dress is decorated with metal studs, her figure is back to normal, and her love of pretty new clothing seems to be directed at her offspring’s outfit. 1946 or 1947.

To everyone who makes those willing sacrifices — Happy Mother’s Day.



Filed under 1930s-1940s, 1940s-1950s, Hairstyles, Hats, Maternity clothes, Musings, vintage photographs

100 Year Old Kodak Camera Ads from World War I

“The Parting Gift — A Vest Pocket Kodak.” Ad in Ladies’ Home Journal, August 1917.

We take small, portable cameras for granted. But one hundred years ago, Kodak was putting pocket sized cameras into the hands of people who never had them before — including the men and boys who volunteered to fight in World War I.

Kodak Vest Pocket camera ad, Ladies’ Home Journal, August 1917, p. 51. “It is monotony, not bullets, that our soldiers dread…. In the training camps and during the days of forced inaction there are going to be some tedious, home-sick days — days the Kodak can make more cheerful…. There’s room for a little Vest Pocket Kodak in every soldiers’ and sailor’s kit.”

When the United States entered the war in April of 1917, training camps were still being built — including Camp Fremont, in what is now Menlo Park, California. For teen-aged girls like my mother’s older sister and her friends, it was both a patriotic duty and a pleasure to meet homesick young men from all over the country. And, judging from the photos I inherited from my aunt, “the boys” did enjoy sending pictures of their daily activities to family and friends.

My aunt, in her school uniform, with Walter van Alyne. The back of the photo says, “aged 20 years,” and it was apparently mailed to her when Walter was “Somewhere in Fra …. chelles.” [writing not legible]

Here she is with Wentworth Prescott  Gann, in 1918:

Wentworth Prescott Gann and my aunt, 1918.

Pictures reassured soldiers’ families, and were also a pretext for corresponding with new friends. (“I’d love a copy of that photo with you….” or “Here’s a copy of that picture we took at the beach….”)

Wentworth Prescott Gann, posing with artillery and a friendly dog, 1918.

Three soldiers posing for a picture to send home — or to sweethearts. The one on the left is Gaston Popescul; “Columbus (?) GA”

Clarence Turpening, probably at Camp Fremont, 1918. Sitting on two garbage cans, he is the picture of military camp tedium.

Because Camp Fremont was still under construction in 1917,  many of the soldiers who trained there did not get sent overseas. However, some unfortunate members of the 8th Division were sent to Siberia after the Russian Revolution of 1917. They were on active duty for months after World War I came to an end.

This photo of a luckier group was made into a postcard — probably everyone in it sent a copy home. I believe it is a group of bakers, with my uncle Holt (the soldier my aunt eventually married) leaning against a post in the center. I’m sure a picture like this would reassure worried families that their menfolk were safe and well. And perhaps, a bit bored….

A group of Army bakers or cooks, military camp in U.S.A., World War I photo.

“Snap-shots from Home” enhance morale for soldiers in World War I. Kodak ad, Ladies’ Home Journal, September 1917, p. 91.

Text of “Snap-shots from Home” ad, Kodak, Sept. 1917. Ladies’ HOme Journal.

Even schoolgirls like my aunt took (and sometimes printed) their own photos.

This typical photo from 1917-1918 fits easily in my hand. It’s about three inches high. The soldier’s name is Philip Wilson.

I was always puzzled by how tiny (about 2″ by 3″) many of these old photos are.  Finally, I found a full page ad in the Ladies Home Journal that gave me a hint: to save money, many people used their contact prints — made directly from the negative — but never bought enlargements. (In my aunt’s case, she made her own duplicate contact prints for friends.)

[Not Actual Size] Top of a full-page ad for Kodak, showing Vest Pocket photos in two sizes. July 1917, LHJ, page 79.

The contact prints, made by putting the negative directly on the photo paper without using an enlarger, were actually about two by three inches. The paper used for contacts feels flimsier than normal photo prints.

Bottom of full-page Kodak Vest Pocket camera ad, July 1917, page 79. Not actual size. “You don’t carry a Vest Pocket Kodak, you wear it, like your watch.”

I was not able to photograph the magazine page at actual size, so I took a photo of the whole page and then made this “relative size” image of the contact print and the enlargement.

Relative size of a contact print and an enlargement, 1917. The small contact prints — the same size as the film — were meant to be used for selecting the enlargements you ordered, but people who couldn’t afford 15 cents per enlargement made do with the contact prints themselves. And duplicate contact-sized pictures could be made by amateurs who didn’t own an enlarger.

Different cameras used different sized film, so those little contact prints came in a range of sizes.  A roll of film for the Vest Pocket Kodak cost twenty cents in 1917 and made eight exposures.

Although most people on the home front, especially in the U.S.,  had no idea of the horrors of the First World War, a tone of sadness, or at least, of solemnity, affected even Kodak’s Christmas season advertising  in wartime.

“Kodak knows no dark days.” Top of a full -page ad for Kodak cameras, December 1917. Ladies Home Journal, p. 104.

The ad was referring to taking pictures indoors, but a reference to “its allies” in the text is a reminder of the war.

Text of a Kodak ad, Ladies’ Home Journal, December 1917, page 104.

“With its allies, the Kodak flash sheets and a Kodak flash sheet holder….” As in fashion writing, allusions to the war crept in everywhere, even when it wasn’t mentioned specifically.

And here, as our dessert, is that lovely pink silk dress in better detail:

A young woman poses in a party dress in this Kodak ad from 1917. Ladies’ Home Journal, Dec. 1917, p. 104. It’s not a full color ad, which would have been more expensive, but probably printed using just black and red ink.


Filed under 1900s to 1920s, Musings, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Uniforms and Work Clothes, vintage photographs, World War I

Doll-Sized Girdles, 1954

Doll-Sized Girdles, Sears catalog for Spring 1954, page.

Doll-Sized Girdles, Sears catalog for Spring 1954, page 314.

This idea seemed so strange to me that I have to share it: “Doll-Sized Girdles” from the Sears catalog for Spring 1954.

At first, I wondered why dolls would need girdles — was it just some grown-up’s nutty idea of a “doll wardrobe?” I was never very interested in realistic dolls, or Barbie, but I was a child in 1954.

Witness2fashion around 1952. I was not thinking about doll sized girdles.

Witness2fashion around 1953. I was definitely not thinking about doll-sized girdles.  I was too old to play with these dolls, and I hated posing for pictures. I still do.

By 1959 I was old enough to wear a girdle and stockings, but it never for a moment occurred to me to associate girdles with dolls.

And, in fact, these are not girdles for dolls.

They are made to fit women with waist sizes from 23 to 30 inches. The “hi-waist”one at top “stretches to 17 in. long on figure.”

Here are some other women’s girdles from the same page:

"Puckerette" girdles for women, Sears catalog for Spring, 1954, page

“Puckerette” girdles for women, Sears catalog for Spring, 1954, page 314. “Big size range… all the way up to 32-inch waist.”

Sally Edelstein, at Envisioning the American Dream, has shown many vintage fifties and sixties girdle ads — they sure bring back memories for me! This one seems to show a woman holding a very small girdle which would stretch to the size of a normal body.

But it’s not quite “doll” size.

True Story: I remember shopping for a long-legged panty girdle around 1963. I tried one that seemed to fit with relative comfort, but the saleslady insisted that I try one in a smaller size. I struggled into it; I couldn’t even pull it up all the way. The saleswoman said, “I’ll hold the waist, and you jump!”

No sale.

Part 2 of Sally’s “A Girl and Her Girdle” can be found here.



Filed under 1950s-1960s, Children's Vintage styles, Girdles, Musings, Underthings, Hosiery, Corsets, etc, vintage photographs

German Spies Pictured in Fashion Magazine, 1918

Images from an article in Butterick's Delineator magazine, July 1918.

Images from an article in Butterick’s Delineator magazine, July 1918.

In high school, history was my least favorite subject. Now that I am older, I wish we had been encouraged to study history in a different way; I have always been interested in people and their daily lives. The faces of these women  intrigued me. [Caution: I may be guilty of doing superficial research — TLDR–while trying to find out more about these “Huns,” “spies, and “traitors.”]

My point is that more research might be rewarding, that starting with a face and a name might be a way into the past for people who think history is boring,  and that “women’s magazines” or “fashion magazines” should not be disdained by historians.

Historians may find more than they expect in “women’s magazines.” Especially in wartime,  Ladies’ Home Companion, Delineator, McCalls’ Magazine and several other “fashion” periodicals presented a ready platform for communicating with women across the country. During World War I,  Ladies’ Home Journal and McCall’s Magazine had over a million subscribers each. [Magazines in the Twentieth Century.]

"Huns, Here There, and Everywhere," a page from Butterick's Delineator magazine, July 1918.

“Huns, Here, There, and Everywhere,” a page from Butterick’s Delineator magazine, July 1918. Detail: top of page. “These are in jail, but other spies and traitors are at work for the Kaiser … WATCH FOR THEM.” Calling the enemy by a pejorative nickname (e.g., “Huns”) is a propaganda device, which made me want to learn more about these people.

When I leaf through a women’s magazine from 1925, or 1917, such as Ladies’ Home Journal, or Butterick’s Delineator, I find more than fashion — I get a little social insight into the era. The editors wanted to sell magazines, so the articles that surrounded the patterns for sale had to be of interest to readers, too. Often they are short stories, or serialized novels. But the magazines are not always about creating a fantasy world. “Real world” topics impinge.

How much money does a young married couple need, and how should they budget it? (1920’s)  What are the jobs open to a college girl? How much will they pay? Can she live on $18 a week? (1930’s) Why does one out of seven babies born in America die? (1917 Delineator series) Should doctors administer anesthetics to a woman in childbirth? (Delineator, September 1934.)

In wartime, women’s magazines cooperated with the federal government in spreading information.

How can you feed your family and understand wartime food restrictions?

Wartime food restrictions, form Ladies' Hme Journal, August 1917, p. 16.

Explaining wartime food restrictions, from Ladies’ Home Journal, August 1917, p. 16.

Herbert Hoover's Food Administration answers women's questions. Ladies Home Journal, September 1917.

Herbert Hoover’s Food Administration answers women’s questions. Ladies’ Home Journal, September 1917. So many articles appeared in more than one magazine source that I stopped photographing duplicates.

What garments can you sew for the Red Cross?

Official Red Cross garments to be made by volunteers. A surgical gown, and two kinds of pajamas -- one which can be easily opened while treating wounded men. Delineator, November 1917. P. 77.

Official Red Cross garments to be made by volunteers. A surgical gown, and two kinds of pajamas — one of which can be easily opened while treating wounded men. Delineator, November 1917, p. 77.

From an article on sewing for the Red Cross, Delineator, September 1917, p. 77.

From an article on sewing for the Red Cross, Delineator, September 1917, p. 77.

In December, the same information appeared in Ladies’ Home Journal, illustrated with photos instead of line drawings.

Hospital garments to sew for the Red Cross, Ladies' Home Journal, December 1917., p. 25/

Hospital garments to sew for the Red Cross, Ladies’ Home Journal, December 1917., p. 25.

What can you expect when your son goes off to war?

From an article in Ladies' Home Journal, August 1917. "If he is the right kind of boy?" This is heartbreaking -- and it is propaganda.

From an article in Ladies’ Home Journal, August 1917. “If he is the right kind of a boy… Nothing will happen to him.” — If he is “the right kind of a boy?” This is heartbreaking — and it is morale-building propaganda.

In this case, the topic was watching out for German Spies. (July 1918)

Top of "Spies and LIes" article, Delineator, July 1918, page 38/

Top of “Spies and Lies” article, Delineator, July 1918, page 38.  The women are oblivious of the eavesdropper.

More of "Spies and LIes, Delneator, July 1918, p. 38. I regret that I didn't photograph the entire article.

More of “Spies and Lies, Delineator, July 1918, p. 38. In World War II, the equivalent message was “loose lips sink ships.” But readers should also “Report the man who spreads pessimistic stories [or] … cries for peace.” I regret that I didn’t photograph the last few lines of the “Spies and Lies” article from this fashion magazine.

Huns, Spies and Traitors, 1918

Delineator, July 1918.

A gallery of German “spies” — or is it? Delineator, July 1918.

This set of “mug shots” has been on my mind recently, especially since the San Francisco Chronicle published two 100th anniversary articles about the prosecutions following the “Preparedness Day Parade” bombing that occurred in San Francisco on July 23, 1916.  One 2016 article, by Carl Nolte, had the title “Bombing Centennial: Blast in July 1916 killed 10, left 2 innocent men in jail for decades.

“Juries convicted two labor union organizers, Tom Mooney, 33, and Warren Billings, 22, … although, as it turned out, the convictions were based on perjured testimony and doctored evidence. The real bombers were never caught.

“Investigations later showed that Mooney and Billings had been framed by San Francisco District Attorney Charles Fickert, who was acting on behalf of the city’s business establishment, anxious to strike a blow at labor unions and what they saw as dangerous leftists and anarchists. “

Thanks to a crusading newspaper man  — editor Fremont Older — Mooney and Billings were finally freed — in 1939.

” ‘ It is impossible to know what really happened that day in 1916,” said Chris Carlsson, a local historian. ‘But for sure, it was not Mooney and Billings who planted that bomb.” — Carl Nolte, SF Chronicle, July 17, 2016.

If you want to read Nolte’s entire article, (the online version has a different title,)  click here. (And who doesn’t want to read about a newspaper man who lost his job — and got another– because of his investigation, but never stopped trying to free two innocent men?)

After reading about this incident,  I remembered Delineator’s gallery of convicted German spies, and I wondered about them –especially these two women. (It’s important to remember that activities which are lawful in times of peace — like organizing a strike, or opposing the draft — may be illegal in times of war. It can happen very quickly.)

Who Were These People?

They were all convicted. They were not all “Huns” or German agents.

Left, Missouri's Kate Richards O'Hare; Right, California's Mrs. Margaret Cornell. Images from Delineator July 1917.

Left, Missouri’s Kate Richards O’Hare, convicted of espionage and sentenced to five years. Right, California’s Mrs. Margaret Cornell, convicted of conspiracy. Images from Delineator July 1917.

In 1916,  Kate Richards O’Hare was the Socialist Party candidate for U.S. Senate from Missouri. She opposed America’s entry into the war.  O’Hare was arrested in July, 1917 because she gave a speech “deemed to be anti-war.”  (By this time, the U.S. was officially at war with Germany.) When sentenced to five years in prison, she said, “[if] it is necessary for me to become a convict among criminals in order that I may serve my country there, then I am perfectly willing to perform my service there.” She was guilty of “espionage”  because she violated the Espionage Act of 1917. She later devoted many years to prison reform; according to, “in 1924–26 she conducted a national survey of the contract-labour practice of prisons.” [A topic still of interest today.] A great deal has been written by and about her.

But Cornell is another story. Mrs. Margaret Cornell of San Francisco might be a rewarding subject for more research.  Was she a low-level office worker trying to keep her job at the German Consulate, or a willing participant in her boss’ plot to disrupt British shipping?  She was the only woman was among many workers at the German Consulate in San Francisco convicted in the Indo-German-Irish plot: “Just a few months into World War I, an Indo-German-Irish plot was established to ship American weapons to India for a revolt against the Raj with the intention of reducing Britain’s ability to wage war on Germany and Irish nationalism. ” See British Intelligence Station in San Francisco during the First World War.  (Yes, in the neutral U.S.A., spies of many nations were at work.)

Cornell received a relatively light prison sentence, and no fine. I found the record of her admission to San Quentin Prison, on Feb. 8, 1917, through Although newspapers sometimes refer to her as Margaret W. Cornell, there she is listed as Margaret E. Cornell; Cornell is presumably her husband’s name. Her occupation is “office clerk,” her age is 52, and her birthplace is Ireland. She was convicted of espionage (Sections 37 and 13 of the U.S. criminal code) because she passed coded messages between her boss (the German Consul-General) and Charles Crowley, another member of the “Hindu Conspiracy,” as the press called it. Was she a dupe? Was she suspected of having anti-British, Irish Republican sympathies? (The Easter Rising of 1916 was a rebellion against British rule in Ireland.) At one point in the trial, she said, “I am now a woman without a country.” She is mentioned — and quoted — in newspaper accounts of the trial;  in 1917, San Francisco had several competing major newspapers, so there is plenty of material for a student of history to explore. Cornell claimed to have TB, and feared that she would die in jail. What happened to her?

Here are brief descriptions of some of the other “huns” and traitors who were pictured.

Olivereau and Schmidt, Delineator, 1918.

Left, Louise Olivereau of Seattle, Washington,  and Carl Schmidt of Detroit, Delineator, 1918.

Louise Olivereau worked as a stenographer for the Industrial Workers of the World (a labor organization popularly known as the Wobblies) — but she was also an anarchist, and she distributed anti-war circulars which she had printed at her own expense, for which she was convicted under the Espionage Act of June 1917.

Wilhelm von Brinken of San Francisco, and Jacobsen

Left, German “Baron” Wilhelm von Brinken of San Francisco, and Gustave H. Jacobsen of Chicago.

If Wilhelm von Brinken (who looks as if he usually wore a monocle) seems familiar, it is because he became an American citizen in 1920 and had a long career playing Germans in 92 Hollywood war films (WW I and WW II.)

Von Brinken was indicted along with his boss,  Franz Bopp, the German Consul-General in San Francisco, Baron E.H. von Schack (the Vice-Consul)  and Charles C. Crowley.    Like Margaret Cornell, Crowley worked for the German Consulate.  [San Francisco Chronicle, Feb. 9, 1917.] A well-known detective hired by the German Consul-General, Crowley was accused of trying to plant bombs in Canadian munition ships and elsewhere; Crowley and Bopp communicated — in “coded messages” — that were sent to Cornell. (Did she understand what they were about?)

Left, von Schack, right Crowley.

Left, Baron von Schack; right, Charles C. Crowley. Von Schrack looks jaunty in a straw boater hat. Crowley was a private detective hired by the German Consulate.

Left, Bopp, and right, von Rintalen. Delineator, 1917.

Left, Franz Bopp, German Consul-General in San Francisco, who was convicted of violating U.S. neutrality as part of  the “Hindu Conspiracy,” among other charges.  Right, Captain Franz von Rintelen was chief of the German Secret Service in the U.S. during WW I. Delineator, 1917.

Somer C. Spence and LAmar in Delineator, 1917.

Homer C. Spence of Oklahoma (“sedition and anti-draft riots,) and David Lamar of New York (“planned munition delay through strike plots,”) pictured in Delineator, 1917.

David Lamar, who “planned munition delay through strike plots” and German spy-chief Captain Von Rintelen (pictured earlier) were convicted in a munition strike conspiracy.

“Anti-draft rioter” Homer C. Spence of Oklahoma — who looks like he stepped out of the pages of Time-Life’s “The Pioneers” —  was implicated in the “Green Corn Rebellion,” which was subject of a 1937 novel of that name by William Cunningham. The  inter-racial (white, black, and Native American) “Working Class Union” (WCU) of mostly young tenant farmers was involved. (The idea that rural Oklahoma was once a hotbed of Socialism was certainly news to me!)

I knew nothing about this part of American History, and I have not read every word of all the links I cited — some are book-length. (They are there for anyone to pursue.)

But it just goes to show what surprises you find while reading old “women’s magazines.” If you know any history students in search of material, you might want to steer them toward browsing old “fashion” periodicals. What a lot of questions they raise!

Since many of these “Huns” were arrested and tried in San Francisco, I used some news items from the San Francisco Chronicle archives for 1917 and 1918, accessed through my public library.

(For other ways World War I was reflected in women’s magazines, see “Up Like Little Soldiers,”  WW I Fabric Shortages , and “New Clothes from Old.”)



Filed under 1900s to 1920s, Hats, Menswear, Musings, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, vintage photographs, World War I

Hairstyles and Hats for the Mid-Nineteen Thirties

The hairstyle is designed to be worn with a hat. Delineator cover, March 1935. Dynevor Rhys illustration.

The hairstyle is designed to be worn with a hat. Delineator cover, March 1935. Dynevor Rhys illustration.

In February of 1936, Butterick’s Delineator magazine showed six fashionable hairstyles by some top New York salons — but they were photographed on mannequin heads, rather than real women. (Stylists still practice on such uncomplaining heads while training.) I have added a few photographs and drawings from advertisements to supplement Delineator’s 1936 color images. (Because Delineator was a large format magazine, a full page photo doesn’t translate well into a 500 dpi image. This is just the top half of page 16:

"Tip-Top Hair Styles" article by in Delineator, February 1936, page 16.

“Tip-Top Hair Styles” for evening; article by Josephine Felts in Delineator, February 1936, page 16. These brilliant heads flash across the evening mode. Follow their lead in smart new ways to fix your hair.”

Evening hairstyle for 1936.

Evening hairstyle for 1936 by Charles of the Ritz. Most of us wouldn’t describe this as a “wide halo” of curls.

"The top of the head is entirely without waves."

“The top of the head is entirely without waves.”

Hairstyle to be worn with a cocktail hat, by Michael of the Waldorf. 1936.

Hairstyle to be worn with a cocktail hat, by Michael of the Waldorf. 1936.

"Have your bob three-quarter length, curled from the part on each side all around. You can't see it, for its under her hat, but the top of the head is smooth." 1936.

“Have your bob three-quarter length, curled from the part on each side all around. You can’t see it, for it’s under her hat, but the top of the head is smooth.” 1936.

Evening hairstyle for silver hair, by Emile at Rockefeller Center. 1936.

Evening hairstyle for white hair, by Emile at Rockefeller Center. 1936.

A "distinguished" style for white hair. "Have your mother try it." 1936.

A “distinguished” style for white hair. “Suggest that your mother” try it. 1936.

[This one is for Lynn at American Age Fashion. I’m pleased to see that the one featured 1936 hairstyle that could be worn today without looking bizarre is the one suggested for white hair! The side part would allow for a close-fitting 1930’s hat to be worn on one side of the head, as was the fashion.]

1936 hairstyles werer usually flat at the crown to allow for a small hat pulled down on one side of the head. Delineator fashion illustrations from January 1936.

1936 hairstyles were usually flat at the crown to allow for a small hat pulled down on one side of the head. A lady always wore a hat in public in the daytime – even if it was just a tam pulled down over one eyebrow. Delineator fashion illustrations from January 1936.

Here are images from the bottom of the page of “Tip-Top Hair Styles.”

"The unusual side treatment comes from a rolling braid begun at the part and simulating a halo." Delineator, February 1936, p. 16.

Hairstyle by Michael of the Wardorf, 1936. “The unusual side treatment comes from a rolling braid begun at the part and simulating a halo.” Delineator, February 1936, p. 16. The wide braid begins over her left eye and continues around the back of her head to the left side.


An artificial braid sometimes formed a halo or tiara effect for evening. Here is a such a braid on Ginger Rogers.

1936 evening hairstyle by Emile at Rockefeller Center.

1936 evening hairstyle by Emile at Rockefeller Center.  “This style is best worn by the very sophisticated.”


Hairstyle by Charles of the Ritz, 1936. A "tailored" style for evening.

Hairstyle by Charles of the Ritz, 1936. A “tailored” style for evening. The “flat curls above the forehead” are barely visible bangs rolled under at the hairline.

The final hairstyle in the article by Josephine Felts, Delineator, February 1936. You could write to her for more information.

The final hairstyle in the article by Josephine Felts, Delineator, February 1936. You could write to her for more information.

This was certainly a time for “small heads” and tightly curled hair. However, I browsed for a few photos of real women and real hair in the same issue:

Delineator showed these young models in an article about the polite way to chew gum. 1936.

Delineator showed these young models in an article about the polite way to chew gum. February, 1936. The one on the left has the flat crown which suited 1936 hats.

In September of 1936 Delineator showed this model in an evening gown designed by Ruzzie Green.

In September of 1936 Delineator showed this model in an evening gown designed by Ruzzie Green.

Miss Vivian Dixon, a debutante, wears a much more natural looking hairstyle in an ad for Camel Cigarettes.

Debutante Vivian Dixon has long-ish, softly flowing hair in the Came Cigarette ad form Delineator, February 1936.

Debutante Vivian Dixon has long-ish, softly flowing hair in the Camel Cigarette ad from Delineator, February 1936.

I believe a lot of young women who did their own hair must have looked like this model in Delineator’s “How to Sew” feature article:

A model in an article about home sewing, February 1936, Delineator.

A model in an article about home sewing, February 1936, Delineator.

Illustrator Dynevor Rhys made tight curls and close-to-the head hair look pretty:

Advertising illustration by Dynevor Rhys, February 1936. Delineator.

Advertising illustration by Dynevor Rhys, February 1936. Delineator.

But illustrator Hans Flato showed a softer, looser hairdo in a series of ads for sanitary products:

Hans Flato illustration for an ad, Delineator, March 1936.

Hans Flato illustration for an ad, Delineator, March 1936.

Hans Flato illustration for an ad, March 1935. Delineator.

Hans Flato illustration for an ad, March 1935. Delineator.

But one thing all these styles have in common, regardless of the age of the model, is the need to accommodate a 1930’s hat.

WOmen's hats in Delineator fashion illustrations, January 1936.

Women’s hats in Delineator fashion illustrations, January 1936.

Elsa Schiaparelli’s hat designs were very influential in the 1930’s. Click here for a post about them, with many more pictures.

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Filed under 1930s, Hairstyles, Hats, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Vintage Accessories, vintage photographs

Becoming Dresses and Maternity Gowns, 1930

"Smart Patterns and Becoming Maternity Gowns," Good Housekeeping, February 1930, p. 74.

“Smart Patterns and Becoming Maternity Gowns,” from Good Housekeeping, February 1930, p. 74.

You’d expect fashion coverage from 1930 to be interesting, as women were trying to adjust to natural waistlines and descending hemlines. Caroline Gray, writing in Good Housekeeping, combined her suggestions for the mature figure with suggestions for maternity fashions. (Can you guess which are which?)

“The new silhouette is definitely here! Waists are higher and skirts are longer, and whether we like it or not, if we wish to look smart we must try to adapt it to ourselves and make it becoming…. Find the exact place where a higher belt is most becoming to you and put it there, regardless of whether it is quite as high as the dresses you see…. Nothing will look truly smart on you unless it suits your figure…. When you are determining the length of your skirt, experiment until you find the exact spot where it will add the most to your height and slenderness, for that is what we all want to achieve this season.”

Good Housekeeping pattern F-7 was recommended in February 1930. Sizes up to 42.

Good Housekeeping pattern F-7 was recommended in February 1930. Sizes 34 to 42. Not a maternity fashion.

“A small bolero is always becoming and makes the higher waistline more bearable.” The band at the hips echoes the familiar line of the twenties, but it follows the line of the bolero instead of  running horizontally.

Pattern F-6 is also suggested as a transitional style for “mature” women:

Good Housekeeping pattern F-6 from February 1930, p. 74. The natural waist is there, but not accented.

Good Housekeeping pattern F-6 from February 1930, p. 74. The natural waist is fitted, but not accented. For sizes 36 to 42. The tunic gives both a short and a longer hemline.

Of course, looking tall and thin is a challenge for most women even when they are not pregnant. Many writers in the 1920’s assumed that a woman’s goal was to conceal her pregnancy as long as possible.

“Maternity clothes have two objects: One is to make your condition unnoticeable, the other is to give you every physical advantage possible…. At this time you do not want to be conspicuous in any way.” — From The New Dressmaker, a Butterick book, c1921, p, 72.

To this end, Vogue suggested, in June of 1930, that pregnant women simply buy chic dresses in a larger-than-usual size, and have the neck and shoulders altered to fit.

“At first, concealment is easily effected by any woman with an eye for dress, but, after the figure is obviously changed, it is still possible to achieve, sometimes to the very end, the effect of a normal figure…. One should try to create the illusion of the naturally heavy figure, rather than be conspicuous for a disproportionate one.” — (Vogue, June 1930, pp 83, continued on p 102.) [This is 1930’s “pregnancy shaming:” it was better to be thought “heavy” than pregnant.]

Vogue suggested these fashionable gowns, among others, for the expectant mother in 1930:

Suggested maternity fashions, Vogue, June 1930. The one on the right is a Vionnet tea-gown.

Suggested maternity fashions, Vogue, June 1930. The one on the left was from Bonwit-Teller; the one on the right is a Vionnet tea-gown available from Jay Thorpe.

I’ll devote a later post to Vogue‘s other “just buy a bigger size” 1930 maternity suggestions.

Here are the maternity styles suggested by Good Housekeeping in 1930:

Maternity gown suggestions, Good Housekeeping, Feb. 1930, p. 74.

Maternity gown suggestions, Good Housekeeping, Feb. 1930, p. 74.

The article did not offer a pattern, or say that this suit and rather formal surplice dress could be purchased ready-made.


It’s hard to imagine how these dresses could be expanded enough, although the assumption was often made that you would constantly open seams, as your shape changed,  and remake the dress as needed from wide seam allowances.

“It is much better to choose current styles that can be adapted to maternity wear and use them in preference to the special maternity clothes…. The slight alterations [!] that you make for maternity use can be changed back to normal lines after the baby is born.” (The New Dressmaker, circa 1921. Page 72.)

There Were Clothes Specifically for Pregnancy

Dressmaker Lena Bryant had found a market niche back in 1905, when her private clients began asking for maternity fashions (She used elastic in the waistbands, among other  devices for making them expandable.)

Lane Bryant ad for maternity corset, Ladies Home Journal, December 1917, p. 112.

Lane Bryant ad for maternity corset, Ladies’ Home Journal, December 1917, p. 112.

“By 1904, [Lena] Bryant was successful enough to open her own shop on Fifth Avenue at 120th Street. In the process of obtaining a loan from Oriental Bank, her first name was misspelled, giving birth to “Lane Bryant.”

“Bryant soon turned to producing dresses as well as undergarments for pregnant women, who had a difficult time finding stylish clothes that fit well. Bryant designed a maternity tea dress, called “Number 5” after its place on the order form. According to Figure, no newspaper would run advertisements for her maternity dresses–it was against the mores of the day for “ladies in waiting” to appear in public. When Bryant finally managed to have a small ad run in the New York Herald, she sold out of maternity dresses the day it appeared.” — from Funding Universe  (My McAfee security says it blocked ads from this site.)

Ad for the Lane Bryant maternity catalog, Delineator, March 1917. p. 43.

Ad for the Lane Bryant maternity catalog, Delineator, March 1917. p. 43. “Portraying the prevailing New York fashions, but so adapted as to successfully conceal condition….Fit when figure is again normal.”

The Lane Bryant mail-order catalog passed $1 million in sales in 1917. (Oddly, that was an era that favored thick waists, very full skirts, and smock-type overblouses — one of the rare times when mainstream fashion was perfectly suited to accommodate pregnancy.) Lane Bryant promised that their dresses would “automatically adjust” to fit after the baby was born — making them a good investment.

Chanel styles 1916 from Fashion through Fashion Plates by Doris Langley Moore.

Chanel styles, 1916, from Fashion Through Fashion Plates by Doris Langley Moore.

Teen-aged girls, circa 1918. Waists were thick and skirts were full.

Teen-aged girls in California, circa 1918. Waists were thick (and high) and skirts were full.

However, of the many decades when fashion was cruel to the chic pregnant woman, the early nineteen-thirties may hold the crown. These are maternity dresses. (Seriously.) The mores of the publishing industry meant that they could not be illustrated on a visibly pregnant body.

Woman's Home Companion, August 1936

The illustration shows three versions of Companion-Butterick maternity dress pattern 6948, from Woman’s Home Companion, August, 1936.  To read more about it, see Who Would Ever Guess?

A long, slender ideal silhouette plus soft, clinging fabrics, narrow hips, flat tummies, and (often) a decorative belt at the natural waist — combined with the idea that pregnancy was shameful and had to be concealed — must have made pregnant women feel frustrated in the thirties. Talk about an impossible ideal!




Filed under 1900s to 1920s, 1920s, 1920s-1930s, 1930s, Companion-Butterick Patterns, Corsets, Corsets, Foundation Garments, Girdles, Maternity clothes, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Vintage patterns, vintage photographs, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes