Roaring 20s: Furs, Feathers, & Flappers

Sep 02

This is a Photograph Studio Portrait of Helen Wallace, the first cousin of Bess Truman, ca. 1925. She is looking fashionable in a fur cape and hat. The bell-shaped cloche hat adorned with flowers, feathers, or geometric patterns was a headwear staple in the 1920s. Other popular hat styles of the time included turbans, gem tiaras, and jeweled headbands. Courtesy of Harry S. Truman Library. National Archives Identifier: 6233763

This is a Photograph Studio Portrait of Helen Wallace, the first cousin of Bess Truman, ca. 1925. She is looking fashionable in a fur cape and hat. The bell-shaped cloche hat adorned with flowers, feathers, or geometric patterns was a headwear staple in the 1920s. Other popular hat styles of the time included turbans, gem tiaras, and jeweled headbands. Courtesy of Harry S. Truman Library.
National Archives Identifier: 6233763

We’re continuing our six weeks of style and moving on from the fashion of the nineteenth century to the iconic look of the roaring 20s.
The 1920 Presidential election pitted the Democratic Party’s candidate, Governor James M. Cox of Ohio, against the Republican Party’s candidate, Senator Warren G. Harding of Ohio. By late September, both candidates were campaigning throughout the country. Cartoonist Clifford Berryman spoofs both candidates and the election with this display of many hats. For humor, men are depicted in women’s hats; similarly, women are adorned with men’s hats. Be sure to check out today’s Pieces of History post that features other fashion-related political cartoons from the Archives’ Berryman collection. Image: Political cartoon titled “News Note: It is reported that men and women are betting hats at the November elections, 09/22/1920”. National Archives Identifier: 6011634.

We’re continuing our six weeks of style and moving on from the fashion of the nineteenth century to the iconic look of the roaring 20s.

The 1920 Presidential election pitted the Democratic Party’s candidate, Governor James M. Cox of Ohio, against the Republican Party’s candidate, Senator Warren G. Harding of Ohio. By late September, both candidates were campaigning throughout the country. Cartoonist Clifford Berryman spoofs both candidates and the election with this display of many hats. For humor, men are depicted in women’s hats; similarly, women are adorned with men’s hats. Be sure to check out today’s Pieces of History post that features other fashion-related political cartoons from the Archives’ Berryman collection. Image: Political cartoon titled “News Note: It is reported that men and women are betting hats at the November elections, 09/22/1920”. National Archives Identifier: 6011634.

Sep 01

Introduction to Genealogy at the National Archives
Learn how to do basic genealogical research using Federal records at the National Archives. Lectures take place on the first Wednesday of each month.
Wednesday, September 3, at 11 a.m. in Room G-25, Research Center (Penn. Ave. Entrance)

Introduction to Genealogy at the National Archives

Learn how to do basic genealogical research using Federal records at the National Archives. Lectures take place on the first Wednesday of each month.

Wednesday, September 3, at 11 a.m. in Room G-25, Research Center (Penn. Ave. Entrance)

Aug 29

This document is the cover of a pamphlet for Mrs. Moody’s Patent Self-Adjusting Abdominal Corset, manufactured by the Boston Corset Skirt Company of Boston, Massachusetts. In the broadest terms, a corset is a close-fitting piece of clothing that has been stiffened by various means in order to shape a woman’s (or a man’s, but very rarely) torso to conform to the fashionable silhouette of the time. The style of corset that was popular in the late-19th century was known as the pear-shaped spoon busk: it got its name because it bends inwards to compress the stomach region, then outwards over the belly, an in again over the lower abdomen. If laced tightly, a spoon busk forces the softer parts of the stomach, occasionally including the internal organs, downwards – and during the 1890s, tight-lacing becomes so popular that physicians had to alert wearers of potential bodily damage. National Archives Identifier: 4700177.

This document is the cover of a pamphlet for Mrs. Moody’s Patent Self-Adjusting Abdominal Corset, manufactured by the Boston Corset Skirt Company of Boston, Massachusetts. In the broadest terms, a corset is a close-fitting piece of clothing that has been stiffened by various means in order to shape a woman’s (or a man’s, but very rarely) torso to conform to the fashionable silhouette of the time. The style of corset that was popular in the late-19th century was known as the pear-shaped spoon busk: it got its name because it bends inwards to compress the stomach region, then outwards over the belly, an in again over the lower abdomen. If laced tightly, a spoon busk forces the softer parts of the stomach, occasionally including the internal organs, downwards – and during the 1890s, tight-lacing becomes so popular that physicians had to alert wearers of potential bodily damage. National Archives Identifier: 4700177.

Aug 28

Meet Mary Tippee, or Mary Tebe, a vivandere with the 114th Pennsylvania Infantry, whose unit was led by Collis Zouaves. Women in this position were responsible for working in canteens and carrying water, brandy, or wine for the soldiers. In traditional vivandere fashion, Tippee is pictured wearing the uniform of her company, with a knee-length skirt over the men’s pants. Ca. 1863. Attributed to Charles J. and Isaac G. Tyson. Tipton Collection. National Archives Identifier: 520205

Meet Mary Tippee, or Mary Tebe, a vivandere with the 114th Pennsylvania Infantry, whose unit was led by Collis Zouaves. Women in this position were responsible for working in canteens and carrying water, brandy, or wine for the soldiers. In traditional vivandere fashion, Tippee is pictured wearing the uniform of her company, with a knee-length skirt over the men’s pants. Ca. 1863. Attributed to Charles J. and Isaac G. Tyson. Tipton Collection. National Archives Identifier: 520205

Aug 27

Mrs. Lincoln, though only roughly 5 feet tall, enjoyed wearing opulent, bold ball gowns with long trains that were known to cost up to $2,000 each. Many of her dresses were low-cut and reflected popular European styles of the time, particularly that of Empress Eugénie of France. Image: Mrs. Abraham Lincoln, ca. 1860-ca. 1865. National Archives Identifier: 529952

Mrs. Lincoln, though only roughly 5 feet tall, enjoyed wearing opulent, bold ball gowns with long trains that were known to cost up to $2,000 each. Many of her dresses were low-cut and reflected popular European styles of the time, particularly that of Empress Eugénie of France. Image: Mrs. Abraham Lincoln, ca. 1860-ca. 1865. National Archives Identifier: 529952

Aug 26

Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq
Prima ballerina Tanny Le Clercq—possibly the greatest American dancer of the twentieth century—became a polio victim in her late twenties. Her life history and the incredible set of circumstances that surrounded her tragic fall are recounted in the film through archival footage and documents. The film’s director, Nancy Buirski, will introduce the screening. (2013, 91 minutes) 
Presented in partnership with the National Gallery of Art.
Thursday, August 28, at 7 p.m. at William G. McGowan Theatre.
Photo Courtesy of Kino Lorber. 

Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq

Prima ballerina Tanny Le Clercq—possibly the greatest American dancer of the twentieth century—became a polio victim in her late twenties. Her life history and the incredible set of circumstances that surrounded her tragic fall are recounted in the film through archival footage and documents. The film’s director, Nancy Buirski, will introduce the screening. (2013, 91 minutes)

Presented in partnership with the National Gallery of Art.

Thursday, August 28, at 7 p.m. at William G. McGowan Theatre.

Photo Courtesy of Kino Lorber. 

David Hough Jr., introduced the first caged crinoline— more commonly known as the hoop skirt— in 1846. Through the mid 1800s, it was fashionable for women to wear multiple petticoats to create the full, dome-shape, small-waist silhouette. During the late 1800s, however, hoop skirts like this one lightened the weight of multiple petticoats by creating the same silhouette but with fewer layers. Image: Drawing of Improvements in Hoop Skirts, 04/02/1861. National Archives Identifier: 4531662

David Hough Jr., introduced the first caged crinoline— more commonly known as the hoop skirt— in 1846. Through the mid 1800s, it was fashionable for women to wear multiple petticoats to create the full, dome-shape, small-waist silhouette. During the late 1800s, however, hoop skirts like this one lightened the weight of multiple petticoats by creating the same silhouette but with fewer layers. Image: Drawing of Improvements in Hoop Skirts, 04/02/1861. National Archives Identifier: 4531662

Aug 25

We’re continuing our six weeks of style and moving on from the fashion of the Revolutionary War to the men and women of the nineteenth century.
Check out that beard and mustache! According to some historians, the hairy trend can be attributed to the popularization of Victorian ideals. Prominent facial hair was gradually considered to be an outward, physical expression of masculinity. If you want to learn more about this facial hair frenzy during the Civil War era, take a look at today’s Pieces of History post. Image: Gen. George S. Greene, ca. 1860 - ca. 1865. National Archives Identifier: 527885.

We’re continuing our six weeks of style and moving on from the fashion of the Revolutionary War to the men and women of the nineteenth century.

Check out that beard and mustache! According to some historians, the hairy trend can be attributed to the popularization of Victorian ideals. Prominent facial hair was gradually considered to be an outward, physical expression of masculinity. If you want to learn more about this facial hair frenzy during the Civil War era, take a look at today’s Pieces of History post. Image: Gen. George S. Greene, ca. 1860 - ca. 1865. National Archives Identifier: 527885.

Aug 22

Peggy Shippen, or Margaret Shippen, was the second wife of General Benedict Arnold— one of his alleged partners in his military conspiracy. Born into a prestigious Philadelphia family with Loyalist tendencies, she became acquainted with Arnold while he was military commander of the city following the British withdrawal in 1778. In this portrait, her embellished gown and heightened hair reflect the fashion trends of the colonial era. National Archives Identifier: 530957

Peggy Shippen, or Margaret Shippen, was the second wife of General Benedict Arnold— one of his alleged partners in his military conspiracy. Born into a prestigious Philadelphia family with Loyalist tendencies, she became acquainted with Arnold while he was military commander of the city following the British withdrawal in 1778. In this portrait, her embellished gown and heightened hair reflect the fashion trends of the colonial era. National Archives Identifier: 530957