Monday, September 20, 2010

The Fashion of the Day, If Your Day was in 1910

Page 11 color plate from the January 1910 issue of The Delineator, showing the Princess and Semi-Princess dress of the day. Published by the Butterick Company. Be sure to enlarge this thumbnail to see the really great illustration!

M Y   C O L L E C T I O N — One hundred years ago, this is what the fashionable woman wore if Princess, or Semi-Princess dresses were their style of course. Issues of The Delineator, a monthly magazine, went for "fifteen cents a copy," or "one dollar a year" as stated on the cover. My mother's Aunt Edith subscribed to this magazine. I have several of them from this period. They're a treasure trove of not only full color plates like this, but black and white illustrations, stories about Temperance and other issues of the day for women. And of course the ads. The ads! I think I could probably design a book just around the black and white ads for salves and creams, home remedies, early cameras, stoves, shoes, and frankly, items I have no idea what they could possible be used for, lol.

Glancing through this particular issue, which had to be scanned in three sections and pieced together in Photoshop, I was struck at just how small the type is in these very large format magazines, and the resulting HUGE number of words in each written piece. Each article has to be at least ten times as long as your average People magazine article is today. Hell, they're longer than your average New York Times exposé of today. They not only utilize a lot of words, they utilize large words, lol. I'm being serious now, I don't think the average American today would have the time or the mindset to read a single article. What has happened to us? We like to think that each generation is smarter and more savvy and more "together" than the previous one, and frankly, I just don't see it! If this is the level of reading material for your average American woman in 1910, we have truly lost something in the intervening 100 years.

I'm going to try shooting some of these pages with my camera tomorrow, outside, for the best light. It's not only time-consuming to have to scan each page in three pieces and them join them, but I don't want to have to fold the pages back and then have the scanner cover press down on them. They're fairly fragile, although when you think of it, for plain magazine stock that is more than 100 years old, they're in good condition. Some of the covers are loose ad some pages are water-stained. They lived in the family attic for most of their lives, an attic that was in a 250 year old house, but overall they're quite presentable.

• For a very short Wiki article about The Delineator, click here.
• Here's the Wiki on the Butterick Company. Apparently the company was located on Spring and MacDougal Streets in the Village, Manhattan, one of the coolest areas of the city today. I think I used to frequent a bar on that corner, or very near to it back in MY day.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting, both this and your LA days art. WOW. Too bad you never took a photo of all that work.

    Well, I think I will go in tomorrow for some scheduled blood work. It requires a 12 hour fast, so far so good, so I think I will just pop off to bed now to "eat" us a few hours and then get off to the lab early tomorrow.

    See you then. I'm going to celebrate after with a Starbucks Pumpkin latte - ti's the season!

    Sweet Dreams...