Sunday, March 22, 2009

Girls, Girls, Girls – The American Woman, The Farmer’s Wife, and The American Needlewoman

Up for your perusal this fine Spring Sunday, a trio of women’s magazine from the early part of the last century. As a preservation scanner, I strive to produce scans of material from all parts of popular culture. While a title like The American Needlewoman might not sound too exciting, you never know what you are going to find in some of these old magazines. In the golden era of American Illustration and the time period in which Americans were reading more than ever before or ever since, there are all sorts of goodies in all sorts of publications. At the beginning of the 1920s, there were over 2000 magazines on the stands, many of them finely crafted. I’ve been astounded at the beauty of Cosmos and Redbooks and feel the whole spectrum of women’s magazines is worth exploring with scans.

First up, an older scan. The American Woman, August 1919

The American Woman was a publication out of Augusta, Maine. This issue features nice cover by Beryl Morse Greene, an artist I was able to find out absolutely nothing about.

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Scan of American Woman 1919-08

This mag is both very similar but also different to the women’s mag of today. There is illustrated fiction, health and lifestyle articles, a bit on doilies, recipes, kitchen architecture and similar topics you might expect to find in a women’s magazine. Dimensionally, this was pretty big magazine. You’ll notice this issue had been triple-punched at one point, and beyond the cover, I did a pretty light edit on it. I’m growing fonder of the natural look and have a lot of different types of magazines I want to get to, so quite frankly, some get more love than others. In the fiction department, this magazine offers “Madelon” by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman (see a page on Freeman with biographical information, texts, and other goodies here ). Also inside “Cinderella’s Younger Sister” by E.M. Jameson, and “A Short Cut to Freedom” by Alice Garland Steele, “Bitter-Sweet by Ada Mary Harris”, and “The Bride and the Mother-In-Law” by Richard Arnold.

A sample:

As a carpenter, I’m always fascinated by these old kit homes that were the precursor to modular and other modes of cheap construction. A pretty little craftsman imo. A little house packed with interesting details is far neater to me than a bland mcmansion the size of a football field with raised ceilings and the like.

The second lovely up today. The Farmer’s Wife October 1932 featuring a cover from Jules Erbit, more well known for his pin-up work. Lady and dahlia:

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Scan of The Farmer’s Wife 1932-08

I’ve always heard that there was a real struggle between rural and city America, and this magazine was meant to be for those happy to define themselves as rural Americans. Coincidentally, this mag was postmarked to Wamego, KS, for any fellow free staters reading. Fiction includes “Star Lillies” by Ann Warner and “Leather Hinges” by Hugh J. Hughes. There are also letters from farmer’s wives, an article on small homes of Britain, fashion notes, recipes, and tips on building a good henhouse.


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An article on “Breaking Baby”, Dr. Spock where are ye?

I like this Oxydol ad with Mrs. Drear and Mrs. Cheer, from Rosie O Neill, creator of the Cupie Doll (a nice bio link for O Neill Here)

And lastly today, The American Needlewoman, April 1926 sporting perhaps my favorite cover of the three. I know a child with flowers is a tired theme, but I love all the subdued reds and pinks.

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Scan of The American Needlewoman 1926-04

I found a gallery of covers for this magazine featuring Earl Christy and others. I like the reddish stock of paper, it’s definitely kind of funky and the inks a little rough, but very charming.

The inside front cover features Hollywood photos, the silver screen ruled the day. Even this needlework magazine is leading with photos of stars and starlets

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Some line-drawn illustrations from whom I believe is Morris Hall Pancoast .

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This ad here reminds me of my grandpa, who ran a furniture advertising agency for a number of years. As a boy, I remember him having artists around the office responsible for the artwork. A lot of detail and craft goes into an ad like this.

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Enjoy the mags, I’ll continue to occasionally explore vintage women’s magazines every once in an attempt to represent a fuller diversity of American magazines and balance my boyish pursuits. Speaking of, next time up here at darwination scans, a personal fascination of mine, a selection of girlie pulps – GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS 2 Oh my

Cheers and keep on scannin,


Jack R said...

Really great material here and on the earlier posts. The scans are just fabulous.

darwination said...

Ah thanks Jack. I think I'm going to try and keep the posts briefer in an attempt to make them more frequent. You set a very nice pace in your Bolles blog, perhaps a greater frequency of shorter posts would spice things up a bit here so this week I'm going to try and do a short post a day and see how it works out.