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“Then you, you want Remembered.” Daggett & Ramsdell advertisement in Vogue July 1944.

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Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, Civil War civilian surgeon who earned the Congressional Medal of Honor for Meritorious Service. 

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“Girls of Room 3, Class of ‘92.”Commercial High School Class of 1892, San Francisco

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Lotta Mora, 19th century singer

Source: San Francisco History Center

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Greenhill Ladies Orchestra, c. Early 20th Century

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Artist and entrepreneur, Esther Howland (1828–1904) was the first person to mass produce Valentine’s Day cards. Her work had intricate designs and created high demand for her products. Although long forgotten, Howland’s New England Valentine Company was a thriving entity and the forerunner of modern card companies.

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Mary Anderson filed a patent for a “window cleaning device” for automobiles in June 18, 1903. During her time, window wipers were dismissed as being superfluous since cars had speed limitations. It wouldn’t be until the 1940s that her valuable item became a standard part of vehicles.

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Ladies Home Journal, Sept. 1922, pg. 180

With the advent of a large consumer culture, advertisers of the 1920s maximized their potential market by inventing “a new kind of advertisement which appealed to the consumer’s subjective desires and fears as opposed to his or her rational judgments.”[1] This Dr. Denton Sleeping Garment marketing campaign evidenced this urge to mothers to reckon with their child’s health based on clothing. Ruth Cowan’s research supports this guilt-based business which enticed women to purchase their products. [2]

 

[1] Marilyn Ferris Motz and Pat Browne, eds., Making the American Home: Middle-Class Women & Domestic Material Culture 1840-1940 (Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1988), 41.

[2]Ruth Schwartz Cowan, “The ‘Industrial Revolution’ in the Home: Household Technology and Social Change in the Twentieth Century” in Technology and Culture 17 (1976) 489.

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Betty Wales Dressmakers Advertisement. Ladies Home Journal, Sept. 1922.

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A Bicycle Party. American Home Magazine, February 1897.

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What Women Did for Their Country in the War with Spain; San Francisco Call, 29 January 1899, p.19.

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You can help—American Red Cross; W. T. Benda. 1918.

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Smith College students in tennis outfits and holding racquets on the steps of Washburn House, c1889.

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Suzanne Lenglen, single and mixed double winner at the 1920 Antwerp, Belgium Olympic games

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20th Century technological innovation transformed the private sphere for women. Machinery aided in the daily household tasks. Yet, historian Ruth Cowan argued that “housewives with conveniences were spending just as much time on household duties as were housewives without them.”[1] The quandary of mechanizing the domestic sphere meant that rather than “Blue Monday” laundry day being reserved for single day,  the washing machine allowed a women to expand this into a daily task.

[1] Ruth Schwartz Cowan, “The ‘Industrial Revolution’ in the Home: Household Technology and Social Change in the Twentieth Century” in Technology and Culture 17 (1976) 489.

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