Civil War Chic

When looking at some clothing trends of today, with their bright colors and patterns, daring necklines, couture price tags and sometimes general wackiness, it’s hard to imagine how far fashion has actually come. According to Mary D. Doering, an heirloom-clothing collector, despite the trauma imposed by the Civil War, the mid-19th century witnessed the development […]

A Turn-of-the-Century “True Hollywood Story”

In the 1890s, illustrator Charles Dana Gibson created the “Gibson Girl,” a vibrant, new feminine ideal—a young woman who pursued higher education, romance, marriage, physical well-being and individuality with unprecedented independence. Until World War I, the Gibson Girl set the standard for beauty, fashion and manners. The Library’s new exhibition, “The Gibson Girl’s America,” which […]

The Feminine Mystique at 50

(The following is a guest post by Audrey Fischer, editor of the Library of Congress Magazine.) It’s been 50 years since pioneering women’s rights activist Betty Friedan stunned the nation with her controversial book, “The Feminine Mystique.” In what became known as a manifesto, Friedan urged women to eschew the cult of domesticity and address […]