17 February 2012

Vecchio Venerdì... The Gibson Girl c. 1900

In the late 19th century on into the early 20th century, the Gibson Girl was considered the ideal woman. In essence, she was the Barbie of her time.

She like Barbie, portrayed women as strong individuals who could play sports while maintaining perfectly coiffed hair and dress. She was criticized by many, much like Barbie, for creating an unrealistic ideal of what women should look like: perfect proportions and long flowing hair. Despite the criticism she was a trend setter, a model for women in both dress and action, just like Barbie. 
(excerpted from this website)

My maternal great-grandmother did her best to be hip and happening – to be a Gibson Girl. Here she is in a portrait taken in 1902...

This photo was taken before she married this man and had those babies. I wonder if she gave this to him as a Christmas present, given the inscription on the back. In all, she had 6 children...four girls and two boys. Sadly, she lost both of her boys...I believe one was struck by an automobile in childhood and the other was a fighter pilot who went down during World War II in the Pacific Theater and was never found. I know she and my great-grandfather were devastated by the loss of their remaining son and worked quite hard to find his whereabouts and recover his remains... but to no avail.


  1. I love your post!!!
    My dad's oldest brother was a tailgunner in WW 11 and went down in the Pacific also....ironic!

    That is a GREAT portrait!

  2. That dress is far more beautiful than anything in Barbie's wardrobe!

  3. Interesting post! Life without all of our electronic gadgets would be weird.

  4. What wonderful photos! Enjoyed this post very much.

  5. Do you have all these photos? It's so interesting to me, and I feel like I need to go spend some more time with my grandma. My BFF just recently lost her grandmother and has been telling me stories about her as a child. It's made me realize all the things I never thought to ask of my grandparents.

    Hope you are feeling better these days!

  6. That's a beautiful photo! I have so many old photos of family that I need to scan and preserve.


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