Keds Hand Book for Girls 1924

I’m really sorry about the long absence, but between a shopping trip and technical difficulties, I just haven’t been able to post. Hopefully things are now straightened out and life as we know it will continue.

I am still working on adding to my print archive. One of my latest additions is this little booklet from sneaker maker Keds. Keds published these booklets through the 1950s, but starting in the late 20s the yearly gender-specific booklets seem to have been rolled into a booklet titled Keds Handbook of Sports and Games.

As you can see from the table of contents, this booklet was not just about sports. The topics ranged from recipes to rope skipping.

I found it interesting that there were articles that focused on prominent women. Helen Wills is not a household name today, but she was a real sports hero in the 1920s.

Only two of the “Great American Women” were great because of their husbands, and Dolly was acknowledged for her own accomplishments during the War of 1812.

One might expect to see only “feminine” topics in a publication geared toward girls, but there were science topics such as astronomy and weather.

There were articles like this one on fabrics, which really was an important part of a consumer’s education. I doubt this was included in the boys handbook, which is a shame.

Unfortunately there was also a bit of questionable advice, as you can see in this paragraph on sunburn.

By 1924, attitudes toward a girl’s education were changing. schools were adding physical education programs, and there are many photos of gym classes of girls in their middy blouses, bloomers, stockings, and white Keds. I think of my Great Aunt Mary, who would have been twelve in 1924. She was so into basketball that her academic studies began to suffer. Her mother despaired, but nothing could keep Mary off the court. But her basketball days ended at seventeen when she graduated from high school. She went on to live a life her mother would have chosen for her, as a wife and mother. She was also my best friend.


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12 responses to “Keds Hand Book for Girls 1924

  1. Michellebeth

    So charming…until we get to the part about sunburn. Back in the ’60s we used a mix of baby oil and iodine to get both an instant tan and than roaster-broiler tan. And yes, I am a melanoma survivor.



    I was led to understand that a suntan was not considered “ladylike” in the 20’s. As you aptly recognized the “oil / tannning prevention advise” is perplexing by today’s standards. However it was practiced in many forms thru to present. dangerous or not!My earliest version of Keds was in the late 50’s-flat white canvas / rubber sole with a navy stripe. As you know still manufactured / copied ! No mens’s Keds?


  3. The name Eva H Higbee is written in pencil on this 1924 treasure’s cover.

    I looked the name up online (just briefly) and got hits for only one lady, born in Michigan and seemingly stayed there her entire life. Born 1898, died 1982.

    If this is the same Eva H Higbee, she wouldn’t have been given the booklet as a child, but acquired it as a young lady of 26’ish at minimum.

    I’m a lot older than that, and I would like to have this booklet no matter what my age. Some of the information within looks handy to have.


  4. A new pair of Keds was a springtime ritual, co-ordinated with the bike finally coming out of the garage after the long winters of Northern Michigan. Dazzling white canvas, though destined soon enough to be scuffed and dirtied. Girls were not welcome on basketball courts or baseball diamonds when I was growing up in the ’50s, but a bike was permitted, though we stuck rigorously to the “girl’s model”.


    • Growing up I never had a girl’s bike, mainly because all my bikes were hand-me-downs from an older brother. I can remember asking my mom why the bar on the girl’s bike was lowered and she explained that it was so a girl could ride while wearing a dress. Amazing, considering no girl in the 60s wore a dress while riding a bike!


  5. What an interesting, informative premium for tennis shoes. Welcome back, Lizzie–I’ve missed your posts.


  6. vintagegirl1958

    Thank you for all of your postings…. I too have a house full of a few too many vintage items.. thousands of mens and womens clothing items from the 1950’s and each decade back to the turn of the previous century. I have all types of antiques… dolls, jewelry, furniture, toys and games, magazines and art. Visit the Vintage Clothing Company on Facebook or PKvintage on Instagram .


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