brian cassidy bookseller: june 2019
The 20th Century Woman:
Etiquette, Education, Work, and Activism


50 issues' worth of corporate-sponsored Teen Topics, which include: "Social Krymes" (showing off, knowing too much, correcting others), the "mighty peculiar" subject of "boyology," how to push a boy's "button of Expectation," how to be a Man's Woman, and how to make any number of Adorable Hats. OCLC finds just one location (Cornell).



Charm school handbook for unfortunate girls of the early 1960s, by "Wendy Ward," phantom female avatar of the Montgomery Ward Corporation. Highlights include smile exercises ("With your upper lip alone, try to touch the tip of your nose") and rules for developing good taste ("Know what is bad about you and learn to disguise it.") Remember, "If you spend 85% of your time, or even 50% of your time in "Tom Boy" pursuits, entailing inherently masculine characteristics and attitudes, likely you will lose much of your feminine identity." A treasure-house of horrors.



An early photo album of Mrs. Dow's School for Girls (later Briarcliffe College, now part of Pace University), circa 1906. Included here are three interior views of the newly finished Dow Hall and several additional views of dorm rooms, gymnasium and other interiors. The remaining images of student groups and theater department productions are sharp, clear, and well composed, with theater shots exhibiting elaborate and unusual set and costume designs.  While  multiple copies of this album were likely produced, OCLC notes no similar holdings.



Photo album documenting summers at Girl Scout Camp Cardinal and Camp Tall Trees in the late 1920s. Campers and counselors alike pictured in uniform, in costume, and dressed for sport and recreation: Images include a snapshot of two Scouts in a dramatic embrace for "Stunt Nite" 1928, a precarious gymnastics pyramid, archery practice, and a joint GSA/BSA march for Armistice Day.



Student notebook from a New York state teacher's training course in the late 1890s. With sections on Corporal Punishment ("If a teacher wishes to punish a child she may do it without the parents' consent"); the Compulsory Education Law ("The law provides that parents may be fined or imprisoned or both"); and the Physiology Law (mandating instruction in "physiology relating to alcoholic drinks and other narcotics and their effects on the human system.")



Early guide to workplace wellness,  created for female employees at "Ma Bell" to care for their Normal Human Bodies. Chapters include: Formation of Good Habits of Living; Care of the Sick; First Aid in Accidents. A laid-in worksheet titled: "Bank of Health: Interest Compounded Bi-Weekly" provides a ledger to record health Deposits and Withdrawals, by which the five points lost for a Wrong Mental Attitude may be replenished through use of Correct Shoes. Not kidding.



Collection of original art from Faith Burrows' FLAPPER FILOSOFY which ran from the 1920s through the early 1930s. Burrows (1904-1997) was one of the earliest successful female comic strip artists in a business almost completely dominated by men. Distributed by King Features Syndicate and the O'Dell Newspaper Service, each single-panel comic features a fashionable flapper with a humorous caption. Burrows' strip helped establish the flapper look in the popular imagination, a movement that marked the beginning of what we know think of as youth culture. Subjects include Prohibition, the stock market crash, smoking, Hollywood, and other timely themes. A strip with clear proto-feminist themes from a pioneering woman in her field.



Two World War II-era department store programs for working women's fashion. The first promises to outfit women in "Red Cross uniforms, Civilian Defense uniforms, trimly tailored slacks, for everything from Canteen and First Aid to a class in Mechanics;" the second urges "business girls" to abandon caution and forget about budgeting, because glamour "strengthens your morale though it may weaken your cash reserve."  With special wartime lipstick colorways Firelight, Siren, and All Clear.



Commemorative WWII (ca. 1945) anthology and photo-book of the 2629 WAC Battalion's service in Italy and North Africa. With candid photos of Army women drinking at the Allied Service Women's Club, attending church and synagogue services, and at work in uniform. Structured like a yearbook, with profiles, quotes, and reminisces



Photograph album of the women of the United Airlines 1945-46 training class, on and off duty: on holiday in Reno, on the beach in Santa Cruz, drinking and dancing with flight crew, sailors, and others. A record of the enthusiasm and freedom of young working women in the immediate post-war era.



An original manual belonging to a 1961 graduate of American Airlines' Stewardess College in Fort Worth, TX.  Organized in 10 tabbed sections covering administrative and emergency workplace procedure (with tips for Survival in Extreme Cold or Desert Areas) as well as illustrated chapters on individual aircraft with cabin diagrams of each. Section 5-1 details "STEWARDESS QUALIFICATIONS" and mandates that all Stewardesses be unmarried, between the ages of 20 and 26, and maintain a weight of 105-135 pounds "in proportion to height."  An uncommon document on travel,  airlines, and women in the workplace.



Large scrapbook compiled by Dorothy Agnes Welsh documenting her 40-year career with the Schantz Organ Company of Orrville, Ohio. Founded in 1870, Schantz was primarily a local operation until a national expansion in the years immediately following WWII. A turn-key firm, responsible for all aspects of the design, building, installation, service, and renovation of many of the country's finest pipe organs, its growth and many of its most ambitious projects are documented here, including the firm's magnum opus: a massive, 1950's installation in the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Newark, NJ containing nearly 9000 individual pipes. During her four-decade long career, she served in nearly all of the company's departments, thus these images seem to document every aspect of the firm's work. Many employees were women. but a telling bit of ephemere suggests what the workplace may have been like for Dorothy: an illustrated napkin, disparaging women drivers, along with a brief note on and 1965 photograph of the co-worker who left it for her, an incident that seems to have stuck with Dorothy, given its presence among the contents. "[He] put this on my work bench. I had been driving a car, a short time when this show up. He work at Schantz a few yr. He was not happy [sic all]."



Meticulous record of a home sewer's completed garments, with fabric swatches, construction techniques, and illustrations, from 1948's gingham day dresses to a 1952 midnight-blue taffeta gown and 1990s cotton camisoles. A valuable record of the technical skills and labor central to the rural 20th century household.



Ca. 1973  pamphlet produced by Women Against Electric Shock Treatment, a group of four women — two patients treated with EST and two medical professionals. The group expresses vehement opposition to Electric Shock Treatment from a distinctly feminist viewpoint: "Electric shock treatments are part of the mental health system that makes women feel 'crazy' when we become dissatisfied with our roles as defined by society." 



Flyer advertising an early (1973) Women's Film Festival in Washington DC. Featured films include Agnes Varda's L'Opera-Mouffe and documentaries on Aretha Franklin and Virginia Woolf.  "THE VERY ACT OF CREATING A FILM HAS ALWAYS BEEN FOR A WOMAN A POLITICAL ACT."



1974 calendar poster from the women's avant garde performance art troupe. Founded in 1972, the San Francisco-based theater group was one of several experimental and innovative women's performance projects and collectives arising out of or influenced by the feminist activism of the 1970s and early 1980s; notable members included underground cartoonist Diane Noomin and playwright Marga Gomez.



Flyer promoting a 1976 DC rally for reproductive rights. Organized by the Washington D.C. Abortion Rights Coalition in the last months of the presidential election campaign, just weeks before Congress would pass the first version of the Hyde Amendment. 


Thanks as always to Zoe Selengut for help in cataloguing and compiling this list.
Copyright © 2019 Brian Cassidy, Bookseller ABAA, All rights reserved.

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