Magazine Treasures of 1916

Recently I lucked into the acquisition of real honest-to-goodness primary source material, courtesy of an old friend of mine from high school, Corinne.  Her dear mother was getting rid of a large stack of old papers, mostly magazine ads and that sort, and before pitching them asked if I’d like to have them.  ‘Course I was all over that like a costumer in the LA garment district, so I went to collect them, had a look through the papers, and about died for how awesome this stuff truly is.

For the most part, the stack contained one mostly in-tact magazine magazine called “The Pictorial Review,” from 1916, in addition to a “Ladies Home Journal” from 1898, and several pages from a mid-1920s magazine (loose pages).

Of all the beautiful artwork on the inside, they put THIS on the cover.  Does anybody know who this lady is?

Flipping through the pages ever so carefully, I was awe-struck by this time capsule of information.  The advertisements on the sidebars of the articles were as fascinating as the editorial pieces, the fictional stories, and the fashion illustrations.  I had never seen a ladies magazine of the past, but had been curious for so long.  The real importance of these papers is the context they maintain.  When we look at source material from, say, the Sears Catalogs, often they have been taken out-of-context and are showing only one aspect, but we miss all those little nuances that attest to the life of these people in addition to their clothing.

That being said, let’s look at some of the pages!  These are selections I chose – mostly fashion drawings, some interesting ads.  Please use these images any way you like! (click the images for larger versions)  I have watermarked them, but you are welcome to re-post them on your blogs, but please send a link back to me!

This is an illustration from a story called “Debutanting”
I’m totally in love with this gown.  Must make it!

Here’s a full page.  Beautiful illustrations, but look at that wall of text!  Can you imagine a modern day Cosmo or Glamour looking like this?
Nighties.  And also check out the ads on the side.

I dig the nurse’s dress on the left.

Ice skating and winter sports for ladies!  What a delightful illustration!  And all those fur muffs.  Oh so cute!
Isn’t she charming?  And she’s in her underwear!  Looks like a modern summer dress, right?
Skirts of 1916
Cool hats and fluffy muffler for winter 1916.  The other looks like she’s out for a lawn party, though 🙂

So here is my prediction:  I think “Downton Abbey” has put the costuming world into a frenzy.  I know I’m much more interested in 19Teens clothing now that I’ve watched the series, and I’m itching to make something slinky yet demure, glittering, and Japanese-inspired.    If I was waffling about it before (which I wasn’t, but let’s just say) then these 1916 magazine pages were the nails in my proverbial costume coffin, and now I’m OBSESSED.

Would you like to see more?  I have more!  These are advertisements that may be of interest to you:

From the 1916 magazine – I just love her dress as well as the corset underneath.

This one is from the 1898 Ladies Home Journal.  Interesting shape, right?  
Not sure what this product is, but it’s a charming drawing.
This is First Lady McKinley on the cover of the 1898 Ladies Home Journal.  I love her dress, and wasn’t she pretty!

An appropriate way to end this post.  Ever feel this way?  Yes I think so, hahaha!


  • ME

    January 19, 2011 at 3:21 AM

    LUX was a laundry soap. Some, if not most detergents were in bars. Soap powders were not mass produced as they are now, although there were flakes. Kinda' like we are going from flakes and powders now to liquid detergents for the wash.
    I can remember sitting in my grandmother's back yard watching as she made her soap in an iron pot over an open fire! And I'm only 62.

  • Lauren

    January 19, 2011 at 4:40 AM

    Lovely! Makes me wonder if Downton Abbey will spawn the next costume wave. It seemed like the Duchess and Marie Antoinette pushed many a costumer into the 18th century. Time will tell, I suppose 😀

  • Lauren Stowell

    January 19, 2011 at 6:48 AM

    Margravine – it may be some time before I get around to sewing one of these dresses, hahaa…HOW many things on the to-do list now?

    ME, thanks for the clarification! I love the product has not a lot to do with the illustration, ahaha.

    Lauren, I do think that Downton Abbey is going to have the sort of influence that Marie Antoinette and The Duchess had. Or Pirates of the Caribbean and Alice in Wonderland, for that matter! Or Sherlock Holmes. I think the trends definitely follow the movies! And I welcome it! The 19teens are a beautiful and somewhat forgotten era.

  • Rowenna

    January 19, 2011 at 2:20 PM

    Awesome! I have a bunch of 30s and 40s movie magazines–my favorite parts are the advertisements! So many things we don't, um, use anymore…like products for scalp odor (ick!) and Lysol as a personal care product (scary…) Very cool to see that aspect of life in the past.

    I'd love it if Downton Abbey influenced "normal" fashion, too! I can see the evening dresses and winter coats peppering modern fashion 🙂

  • Lauren Stowell

    January 20, 2011 at 8:04 PM

    Rowenna, I hope you're right and we begin to see 19teens influences. I say we make it happen, haha.

    Sheena, welcome! I added your fresh young blog to my folder to update my blogroll :-). Thank you very much for the compliment!

  • Zho Zho

    January 22, 2011 at 9:01 AM

    Wonderful post and lovely images. Funny cos I just did a post today from a John Barker Catalogue C. 1900 that I think you will love. If you check out some of my earlier posts I have come across some of these wonderful old mags, and I totally agree with everything you said in this post. They are so cool aren't they?
    Come check out my blog if you like.

  • The Dreamstress

    January 23, 2011 at 9:33 AM

    Lovely! This has always been one of my favourite periods and (luckily!) it is one that is very prolific in magazines. You lucky thing getting ahold of these!

  • Time Traveling in Costume

    February 3, 2011 at 3:25 AM

    I really hope someone kicks the Big Three Pattern companies in the backside, and finally get some Edwardian and 'teens patterns on the market. Or any pattern company for that matter. Those have been sadly neglected. And the previous ones they had (all from the movie Titanic) have skyrocketed in price on the re-sale market.
    I have my pattern ready to make one of the dresses worn by "Sophie" but am just starting an Edwardian suit using Wingeo's patterns for our costume guild's upcoming Titannic Boarding Party in April.

  • Lauren Stowell

    February 3, 2011 at 3:34 AM

    I haven't looked for patterns yet, although the Big 3 are usually not that far behind in bringing *something* out to fit a costuming trend…and typically something sub-standard and not much to do with historically accurate, but sometimes you do get something good from Simplicity. Then again, Downton Abbey is a UK show. Its popularity might be too underground.

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