Today most people consider Vogue to be the queen of the fashion monthlies, but there was a time when Harper’s Bazar (later Bazaar) was the equal of any other fashion publication. It is always a great treat to find older copies of Bazar, but these three just happily landed at my doorstep.
Back in the winter reader Susan Maresco wrote to ask my if I’d like to take some 1920s magazines off her hands. I have a feeling she already knew I’d say yes. In a few days two packages arrived, packed full of magazines from 1924 and 1925. Among them are issues of The Ladies Home Journal, Cosmopolitan, and these three issues of Harper’s Bazar.
Susan explained that these magazines came to her from her 84 year old friend, Tish. When her stepmother, Meta Redden Thomas, died around thirty years ago, Tish took the magazines from Meta’s home.
Meta was a highly educated black woman who was probably born in the 1890s. She had a law degree from Howard University and a master’s in math from Columbia University. She took her degrees and returned to her home town of Baltimore where she taught at Douglas High for 40 years. She remained single into her 40s when Tish’s father, Clarence Young, asked her to marry him and help him raise Tish, an only child. Clarence was a busy lawyer in Washington, D.C. and wanted his daughter raised right after his beloved first wife died when Tish was only 7. He knew Meta and liked her, considered her a kind, bright, good person, so he asked her to be his wife. She loved Tish and raised her right.
I love how Meta wrote her name on many of the magazine covers. Perhaps she loaned them to friends and wanted to make sure she got them back.
Many thanks to Susan for the incredible gift, and to Tish for sharing Meta’s story.