Tag Archives: 1915

Caricature: The Wit & Humor of a Nation, c. 1915

Click to enlarge

One of the great joys of the Goodwill Outlet bins is the over-abundance of books. I never leave the place without a stack of them, most of which I read and then pass on or re-donate. A while back I found an interesting volume, Caricature: The Wit & Humor of a Nation in Picture, Song & Story. Of course it went into my cart, because as the subtitle promised, it was full of wonderful illustrations.

There’s no date on this book, but the Leslie-Judge Company published an annual Caricature starting around 1895. Several of the illustrations in this particular book are dated 1915, and so my guess it is from that year, or perhaps a year later.

The sporting life was a popular theme. Maybe it’s because members of the leisured classes were a bit of an easy target for humorists of the day. I’ll admit that the humor is often dated, and would leave many modern readers scratching their heads. But I’m in it for the pictures, not the jokes.

There are lots of illustrations of people swimming, and the bathing suits are incredibly modern for 1915. From what I’ve seen in the many circa 1915 photos I’ve examined, most women at the beach were still in long, woven wool or cotton bathing suits, not the sleek knit ones seen above.

This one is especially skimpy. Do you suppose the man is her father and is getting ready to lock her in the bath house?

Here the young women are still wearing their schoolgirl middy blouses. This was a common look for tennis and golf. Notice that girl with the tennis racket is wearing a headband to control her hair.  As I wrote earlier, this is a look associated with the 1920s, so it seemed a bit early for this style to appear in print. I knew that the look was popularized by tennis star Suzanne Lenglen, and a quick google search found a 1914 article showing Lenglen wearing the famous bandeau.


Just as interesting as the sporting pictures are those showing well-off people at leisure.

Here we have three elegantly dressed promanaders…

and three more (bulldog included) who would rather be, well anywhere but on that boring boardwalk.  But these illustrations show how the fashion silhouette of 1915 was showing big changes over the previous years. The skirts are shorter with considerable fullness. And it seems obvious to me that stripes were very popular for seaside wear.

You do have to look at period illustrations with a questioning eye. Drawings are often exaggerated to make a point, as we see in the skimpy bathing suit drawing above. But look carefully, and you just might learn something, as I did with the tennis headband.



Filed under Curiosities, Currently Reading, Proper Clothing, Sportswear

Vogue, December 15, 1915

I love vintage fashion magazines, and one of the things I love the most is the cover art.  From the 1910 and into the 1930s, covers were illustrations instead of photographs, with some of the best commercial artists of the times working for Harper’s Bazar, Vogue, and other fashion and women’s magazines.

The illustration above is by artist Helen Dryden who did many covers and inside illustrations for Vogue during the 1910s and early 1920s.  Dryden had been trained as a landscape artist, but gave it up for fashion and Conde Nast.  Later in life she turned to industrial design and worked designing decorative objects for the home, as well as car interiors.

But it is for images like the one here that Dryden is best remembered.  I love how the focus is on the lighting of the tree, even though there is a nod to the more commercial aspect of Christmas as you can see in the gifts scattered on the floor, in the background really.  But my favorite part is the dog, a feature that is not immediately noticed, but which adds so much to the feeling of the picture.

Contrast this 1915 cover with that of the 2014 December Vogue.  It is a photograph of the celebrity of the month, Amy Adams, wearing a sheer Valentino couture dress.  Out of the five headlines on the cover, three of them are about celebrities, including Kendell Jenner of the family formerly scorned by Anna Wintour (the Kardashian/Jenners), but now being praised to the hilt for their selling power.

To some degree Vogue has been about celebrity since it was first published in 1892.  This 1915 issue has article on the Ballet Russes, a feature on the latest stars in the theater, and photos of the latest society brides.  But the great majority of the editorial pages are all about fashion, exactly what one might hope to find in a fashion magazine.


Filed under Fashion Magazines, Viewpoint

Vogue, July 15, 1915

After a week in which we spent a lot of time at our local garden shop, even after spending time in the backyard with a shovel, I’m still loving this illustration and all the hydrangeas.  If only my own garden looked so lush!


Filed under Fashion Magazines

Vogue, December 15, 1915

Too marvelous for words!



Filed under Fashion Magazines

1915 Play Shoes from Vanderslice-Stahmer

I got this little catalog last week, and just had to share some of the illustrations.  I really tried to limit myself to just a few, but realized that I loved so many of them.  So this post is short on words, but long on wonderful illustrations from 1915.


Posted by Em:

How charming and neat! Thanks for sharing… 

Wednesday, April 14th 2010 @ 8:30 PM

Posted by Vannie Ryanes:

Lovely, the soft colors are wonderful. 

Thursday, April 15th 2010 @ 4:26 AM

Posted by Lizzie:

I’m glad you like these. 

One reason I posted them was to show the huge difference in illustration style that took place throughout the 20th century. I’ll post more examples next week.

Friday, April 16th 2010 @ 6:54 PM

Posted by Sarah:

I don’t blame you for getting excited about these illustrations! They are so ‘of their time,’ and as Vannie Ryanes says, the soft colour palette is gorgeous. 

Tuesday, April 20th 2010 @ 11:58 PM

Posted by Garnet:

I was just at the Delaware Water Gap this past weekend! Boy has it changed! 


Wednesday, May 5th 2010 @ 5:58 PM

Posted by Lizzie:

Garnet, That’s a shame, as the illustration is so idyllic! 

Wednesday, May 5th 2010 @ 6:11 PM


1 Comment

Filed under Advertisements, Shoes