I ended Part 1 of this post with a studio photograph of my mother, taken about 1919, when she was 14 or 15 years old.
She has tried to match the high hairstyles — and those very important puffs of hair over the cheeks — that she saw in fashion images.
But, as this later photo shows, she actually had long, “Mary Pickford” curls.
My mother did other things without her parents’ permission, too.
Irene models another type of one-piece underwear:
Some readers have questioned whether my mother really was a “flapper” in the twenties, with the hint of wild behavior that implies. Ummmm….
Other girls in town also tried to achieve fashionable hairdos, and especially those little puffs that caress the cheeks. (During my youth in the 60’s, a curl on the cheek was called a Guiche; it usually curved forward.)
These girls have also cut some of their front hair — although it could be hard to control the results.
Below left, my mother’s friend Ollie had a bad hair day, but later managed an up-do:
From Long Hair to Bobbed Hair
It was my aunt Dorothy who told me that my mother and her friend Irene were the first girls in town to have their hair bobbed — a story she only told decades after my mother’s death. [I suspect that Dorothy, a keen photographer, developed and printed those naughty photos.]
According to my aunt, their mother was in the hospital, recovering from surgery. With less supervision than usual, younger sister Helen and her friend Irene “snuck off” and had their hair bobbed. When my grandfather saw his daughter with short hair, he he told her she was forbidden to visit her mother in the hospital. He said (and believed,) “The shock would kill her!”
I can date this picture because she is with her little nephew Gerald, born in 1921:
Here she is wearing a Chinese tunic, and extraordinarily pointy shoes:
Obviously, she got a Marcel wave as well as a hair cut:
Many people thought bobbed hair was a sign that a girl was “fast.”
I have two other photos of her friend Irene:
Here, Irene, aged 18 — with “her first husband” — has a Marcel wave, and a hairstyle more associated with the 1920’s. “There was a little girl who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead….”
While long hair required the kind of hairpins that mountain roads are named after [“hairpin curves,”] bobbed hair needed a different kind of hairpin — the bobbie pin. What a pity for the wonderfully named Hump Hair Pin Company.
Nothing works for long hair like traditional hairpins — although, if you haven’t used them, you may wonder how they could hold anything in place. Humblebee & Me (dot com) has a good demonstration. Click here.