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Picturing a World

Almanac art et al., 1908

To visualize Mattie’s world, I’ve been collecting images from 1908. They don’t have to illustrate anything in the story, just help me sharpen my understanding of the period. This almanac cover, for instance, calls attention to pride urban architecture coupled with a Gibson-Girl style allegorical beauty, to modes of traffic, and the general desire for miscellaneous information among ordinary people.

A treasured source in my home collection is the full run of The Ladies Home Journal for 1907, given to me years ago by an elderly friend. A Pinterest board shows some of the covers.

Besides the indispensable Museum of the City of New York portal, other online sources offer obviously pertinent photographs, e.g., the Early Office Museum website.

Blogs, too, can offer serendipitously useful material, like a tutorial on Gibson Girl hairstyles in case you want to reproduce our fair ladies on the right.

Nevertheless, the more serious the artist, the more likely an image will communicate genuine complexity and energy. For total contrast to the almanac’s projection of a city, take a look at George Bellows’ Steaming Streets.

A request: if any of you can direct me to pictures from around 1908, please do!
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