Tag Archives: Godey’s Lady’s Book
The Colored Woman of Today - 1897

The Colored Woman of Today: Some Notable Types (1897)

By Fannie Barrier Williams

There is something very interesting and wonderfully hopeful in the development of the woman side of the colored race in this country, yet no women amongst us are so little known as the thousands of bright, alert, cultured, and gracious colored women of to-day.

Mrs. Fannie Barrier Williams.

Mrs. Fannie Barrier Williams.

A little over a century ago colored women had no social status, and indeed only thirty years ago the term “womanhood” was not large enough in this Christian republic to include any woman of African descent. No one knew her, no one was interested in her. Her birthright was supposed to be all the social evils that had been the dismal heritage of her race for two centuries. This is still the popular verdict to an astounding degree in all parts of our country. A national habit is not easily cured, and the habit of the American people, who indiscriminately place all colored women on the lowest social levels in this country, has tended to obscure from view and popular favor some of the most interesting women in the land.

Mrs. Josephine Bartlett, Chicago.

Mrs. Josephine Bartlett, Chicago.

But in spite of these prejudicial hindrances and a lack of confidence the young colored women of this generation are emerging from obscurity in many interesting ways that will happily surprise those who have never known them by their womanly qualities and graceful accomplishments. Such women seem to have no relationship to the slavery conditions of the yesterday of history. In a surprisingly brief period of time they have been completely lifted out of the past by the Americanism which transforms and moulds into higher forms all who come under the spell of American free institutions.

It should also be noted that the thousands of cultured and delightfully useful women of the colored race who are worth knowing and who are prepared to co-operate with white women in all good efforts, are simply up-to-date new women in the best sense of that much-abused term. If there be one virtue that is conspicuous in the characters of these women it is the passion to be useful and active in everything that befits high-minded and cultivated women.

Godey’s Lady’s Book— Louis Antoine Godey began publishing Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1830. He designed his monthly magazine specifically to attract the growing audience of literate American women. The magazine was intended to entertain, inform, and educate the women of America.

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Woman in Japan OG

Woman In Japan – Godey’s Lady’s Book (1886)

This profile on the women of Japan appeared in the March 1886 issue of Godey’s Lady’s Book.

By Helen H.S. Thompson

There are two distinct types of physiognomy strongly indicated among the Japanese women. The higher classes possess clearly cut features, on fine, long, oval faces, deep sunken eye sockets, oblique eyes, with long, drooping lids, and high arched eyebrows, lofty, narrow forehead, small red lips, pointed chin, and very small hands and feet.

Among the agricultural and laboring class, are seen the round flattened face, level eyes and expanded nose. The grotesque pictures of Japanese life familiar to all, are usually drawn from this class. The ladies of Japan are noticeable for taste in dress, and when occasion requires are attired in elegant and splendid costumes. The grace and richness of the attire worn by the women of rank and wealth is a frequent surprise to the traveler. In our travel through the empire we were not infrequently guests in an ex- damio’s home, and among the samarai class, where we beheld long, trailing robes of exquisitely embroidered silks, chiefly of white, crimson or ashen hues, open bodice crossed and filled in with soft, rich laces, that would delight a connoisseur; luxuriant hair flowing over the shoulders, or bound in one beautiful tress, or formed into an elegant and indescribable coiffure upon the head, each indicating age and condition, whether maiden, wife or widow, with picturesque fan, flowing, open sleeve, punctilious etiquette and charming manners.

Godey’s Lady’s Book— Louis Antoine Godey began publishing Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1830. He designed his monthly magazine specifically to attract the growing audience of literate American women. The magazine was intended to entertain, inform, and educate the women of America.

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Paris

Paris Gossip and Fashion Notes in Godey’s Lady’s Book (November 1890)

The latest Parisian craze is the stare! A crazier-looking picture it would be hard to find; but the stare is, nevertheless, the fashion. In order to “do it” you must assume a look of utter abstraction and appear to be gazing at something all unseen by your friends and well-wishers; but which, in its contemplation, causes you to open your eyes very wide, and to persevere in doing this strange and uncalled-for thing. What you see apparently appalls you. And yet, the prettiest women are staring persistently in this insane way. What will not fashion’s votaries do?

Fashions are growing more eccentric daily; the more extreme they are, the more popular they become. Lace is regaining much of its past favor, although always popular, it has not been so universally used for the last few years; but now all kinds are in great demand. Black lace flounces have been in oblivion for some time; but the happy possessors can bring them forth, as they are growing in favor for trimming silks and velvets, and Worth has the daring to festoon them on the light cloth gowns now worn in the evening, while some of the famous Paris milliners are trimming felt hats with black lace. There are jetted net flounces that must be scantily gathered to show their beauty, and others lightly wrought with gold, steel or silver, or with tinsels of many colors. Raised figures of gold or of steel are most effective on black laces, others are jeweled in Russian fashion, and some of the prettiest are studded with turquoises amid gold, or pink coral with silver. The three-inch trimming laces with turquoises or corals have also pretty insertions of similar designs.

Godey’s Lady’s Book— Louis Antoine Godey began publishing Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1830. He designed his monthly magazine specifically to attract the growing audience of literate American women. The magazine was intended to entertain, inform, and educate the women of America.

(more…)


all-hallows-eve

All Hallows Eve Explained in Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1873

All Hallows Eve (October 31), was anciently kept with cheerful sociability in many rural households, by the rich and the poor. It was an occasion that seemed to mark the close of the harvest season, and the beginning of winter, the time of home delights, when the comforts of a well-to-do life are enjoyed. There was, moreover, a superstitious notion that on this particular night of the year (as on the Walpurgis-Nacht in Germany; which is made such a strange, wild time in Goethe’s “Faust”) all the fiends, imps, goblins, witches, and other unblessed agents of supernatural power would come out and frisk about the world till daylight or cockcrow.

Hence it was supposed to be a most favorable occasion for divining people’s fortunes, by different methods of conjuration or chance experiment. In every shire of England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, some customs of this kind have prevailed within the memory of persons still living.

Godey’s Lady’s Book— Louis Antoine Godey began publishing Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1830. He designed his monthly magazine specifically to attract the growing audience of literate American women. The magazine was intended to entertain, inform, and educate the women of America.

(more…)


Bonnets

Reminiscences of Bonnets (1857)

By Florence Fashionhunter

“In my young days bonnets were bonnets, and not little dress-caps, quivering in a very precarious situation, pinned to the twist of the hair. They are not pinned? Oh, you needn’t tell me! There is nothing but pinning that can induce them to remain in place. When I was a girl, things were different; then the bonnets rested on a secure foundation. Fashion?

Figure 1

Figure 1

Well, suppose little bonnets are the fashion; is that any reason why a large red face, round as a full moon, should be ‘set out’ by a tiny gauze bonnet about the proper size for Titania. Oh, don’t talk to me! If you really want to see what I think is a respectable proper bonnet for a lady, hand me that yellow bandbox at the end of my closet-shelf. There, that bonnet (Fig. 1) was made from the highest fashionable authority, Godey’s Lady’s Book for January, 1834! Looks faded? Of course, it does; you would, too, if you had been shut up in a bandbox for more than twenty years. What do I keep it for? Because I like to have some proof that women were not always the foo–. Well, I don’t want to be uncharitable. But, I do wonder Mr. Godey will encourage them in their nonsensical ways; of course, they’ll wear little bonnets as long as they have pages of pretty ones to choose from.

Figure 2

Figure 2

If I was his Fashion Editor, I would show the folly of their ways, and try to correct their tastes. Do I consider my bonnet tasty? Of course I do! You think the plume looks like an enraged chanticleer’s tail, and the whole bonnet has rather a fierce look? Let me tell you that plume cost $25, and is not to be laughed at. Just look on the shelf of my bookcase and bring me Godey, Vol. VIII, and I will enlighten you on the subject of fashions as they were in my day. Am I in an antiquarian mood? Never mind my mood; bring me the book. Turn to page 60, and there you will see what I call a handsome substantial bonnet (Fig. 2). You think the bows look as if they were made of a tablecloth each, and the shape looks as if the pattern was taken from the head-piece of a French bedstead!”

And finishing her long indignant speech with a sigh over my want of taste, my dear Aunt Peggy left me to look over her Godey. I did look! I have seen the Crystal Palace, and most of the things therein! I have seen Tom Thumb, the Bearded Lady, Kossuth, the Aztec Children, President Pierce, Parkinson’s Gardens, the Ravels, and various fashion -plates; but I never—never did see such a figure as the lady in a riding-habit I found in this wonderful book (Fig. 3).

Figure 3

Figure 3

Such a collar! I believe they called them by the very appropriate name of ‘chokers;’ such a belt, and such a perfect dinner-plate of a buckle; such sleeves, swelling out from under a minute cap, with a defiant puff, like a—Ahem! garment on a clothes-line in a high wind; or, to speak more poetically, a rose bursting from the green the bud inclosed it with; such a whip for a lady; oh, I pity her poor horse if she is as independent and high-tempered as she looks. Such a hat and veil; of what fabric can that veil be composed to float in such an eccentric sweep? Such an air and attitude; such, in short, such a tout ensemble! Don’t she look ‘peart,’ with her head thrown back, and her feet in a polka position, as if she meant to “dance up to that man with the goose’s on his buttons there,” and ask him to please to place her on her horse. To judge from appearances, Lady Gay Spanker must have been quite a mild, unassuming person compared with this fair equestrian.

“Look on this picture and on this” (Fig. 4).

Figure 4

Figure 4

From our defiant rider to this lovely ball-room belle. Mark the modest arrangement of the hair, and the bows blushingly putting forward their claims to notice. (Beaux are such modest arrangements.) Mark the necklace, composed apparently of small spikes, which can, I suppose, be converted into deadly weapons on occasions. Mark the breadth of shoulders, the cape of black lace, the full sleeves, and the bows. Did ladies widen their doorways in 1833 (I have Aunt Peggy’s Godey for 1833 now) for their guests to pass in without diminishing their “breadth of effect?” Look at the languishing air of our “’33” belle, and compare her with the “’34” equestrian.

But, how I am wandering off from my bonnets! The fact is, fashions are so entirely different from what they were some twenty or thirty years ago, that I sit with the Book before me, in blank amazement, and wonder what we shall wear next.

(To the tune of  “Little Bo-peep.)

I take the book
To have a good look,
And turn the pages in haste, oh!
And try to think,
As I scan each one,
That they were in very good taste, oh!

If it e’er befall
That, at Fashion’ s call,
We wear the same again, oh!
We shall probably think,
As we tie the string,
That they are just the thing, oh!

Godey’s Lady’s Book— Louis Antoine Godey began publishing Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1830. He designed his monthly magazine specifically to attract the growing audience of literate American women. The magazine was intended to entertain, inform, and educate the women of America.

Source: Godey’s Lady’s Book – August 1857


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