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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • PAN AMERICAN TO GUATEMALA, 1938

Baby Dresses: 1912

Baby Dresses: 1912

Detroit circa 1912. "Elliott, Taylor & Woolfenden -- north aisle." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

How Did These Ladies Survive?

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Those poor ladies had to get by with such small purses? There just seems to be just enough room for the Acme Extra Large Hatpin, smelling salts and a handkerchief.

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All Those Lights!

I know some stores in the early 20th century stayed open until midnight. Do you think that's why they needed all those lights? Seems excessive with all those large windows.

[Except for those far in the back away from the windows, none of the lights are on.]

Are you being served?

In a comprable sized store these days you would be lucky to find one Shop Assistant.

Boil those whites clean!

Unlike today where we throw clothes in the washer with modern detergents, that was not an option in 1912. Most women were probably still boiling their whites clean (that still gets most clothes cleaner than in a washing machine!). Since frequent washing faded many cotton dyes even faster than now, white infant clothing was the best option. Even when laundry technology improved, white for infant wear remained long past the original reason for it. Housewives took pride in having snowy white linens and infant clothes.
As for the colors the shop clerks are wearing, they may actually be wearing a variety of colors. It is a black and white photograph after all. That said, many large stores had rules about what their clerks wore which often included a limited range of colors (black, dark blue, etc.) so they are probably wearing very 'sedate' colors. Speaking of color, I would love to know what colors all that fabric in the next department were!

Glenna Jo Christen (signed in under my husband's account ;-))

Rules of Headgear

Never uncover in a Synagogue or while in uniform, bearing arms.

I find it odd

I find it odd that the customers are wearing hats yet the employees and relatives of Chuckie (with outstretched arms ready to choke you) are not.

[Hat etiquette dictated that gentlemen and ladies were to remain hatted in public places, including retail establishments, but that the staff were to be bareheaded. The rules for dolls and mannequins tended to be more liberal.]

Heebie Jeebies

Those baby mannequins give me the full-on willies! Knowing that late at night long after the store has closed the eyes begin to blink and the heads turn.***shutter***

[That's what the cameraman said.]

Sew at home or buy?

Clearly the former choice was still very much evident in 1912 unlike today. I find it interesting too that the baby dresses are seemingly all white (HARD to clean!) and yet the saleswomen are dressed all in black and more than little dour looking (complete with some matching hairdos). Not exactly the gals I would consult for cheery baby wear (and I wonder what the woman sitting down is pulling on?) My last observation is that those dainty looking cribs are pretty darn flimsy looking (I sure wouldnt want to put my baby in one!)

 
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