February 18, 2018

Colleen Moore: The Girl Who Personified the ''Flapper'' of the 1920s

Born Kathleen Morrison in 1899, American film actress Colleen Moore took her first step in Hollywood at age 15, and began her career during the silent film era.  She became one of the most fashionable (and highly-paid) stars of the era and helped popularize the bobbed haircut.

A huge star in her day, approximately half of Moore's films are now considered lost, including her first talking picture from 1929. As well, what was perhaps her most celebrated film during her lifetime, Flaming Youth (1923), is now mostly lost, with only one reel surviving.

Colleen Moore in the 1920s

Moore took a brief hiatus from acting between 1929 and 1933, just as sound was being added to motion pictures. After the hiatus, her four sound pictures released in 1933 and 1934 were not financial successes. Moore then retired permanently from screen acting.

After her film career, Moore maintained her wealth through astute investments, becoming a partner in the investment firm Merrill Lynch. She later wrote a "how-to" book about investing in the stock market.

Moore also nurtured a passion for dollhouses throughout her life, and helped design and curate The Colleen Moore Dollhouse, which has been a featured exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Illinois since the early 1950s.

Moore died in 1988 from cancer in Paso Robles, California, aged 88. For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Colleen Moore has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1551 Vine Street.

Take a look at these glamorous photos to see the beauty of young Colleen Moore in the 1920s.

10 of the Most Sexist Ads From the Past

The advertising world is a truly fascinating instance of subtle or even overt psychological manipulation. Its basic formula — (1) Create a feeling of need or inadequacy (2) Offer a product to fill the void (3) ??? (4) Profit!!! –- is one that is intrinsically demeaning. It is therefore unsurprising that accusations of sexism are often hurled with great fervor at many marketing campaigns. Some of these are mild and easily brushed off – yes, gender specific products are pitched at the relevant sex, but they are necessarily discriminatory. Some are harder to defend – whether overtly sexualizing women in advertisements amounts to sexism is debatable. Others are impossible to defend, either because they blatantly proclaim one gender as inferior or because they reinforce established sexist gender stereotypes. Here are 10 really, really sexist ads.


Not even Robert Shapiro could defend this marketing campaign from accusations of sexism. The blatant sexism is so over-the-top that it’s laughable, even more so given that it is completely unrelated to the product being advertised. The preposterous proposition –a preposterousition, if you will – that “indoors, women are useful – even pleasant, [but] On a mountain they are something of a drag”, somehow fails to instill the burning and immediate desire for a “belted – attention grabbing – quite magnificent” sweater.


Mr. Leggs seems to agree that there is some utility and pleasantness in a woman’s presence in the modern urban indoor environment. However, its implementation of this notion in this particular advertisement is confusing at best and downright disturbing at worst. Why is there a bizarre tiger-rug-woman splayed on the floor? The tagline informs us it’s because she is a “tiger lady”. Why is there a man firmly standing on her with his foot atop her head in some sort of victory pose? Oh, because once she saw his Mr. Leggs pants she let him “walk all over her”. Groan and close tab. This advertisement’s failed humor and implicit disrespect has resulted in it being a staple in most discussions of sexist marketing.


Another commonly featured example of sexist marketing is this 1953 advertisement. It normally appears on the interwebz in its detail form (marketing jargon for an image without copy {marketing jargon for the text of an advertisement}), but the accompanying copy of the complete advertisement gives a useful insight into Mr. Jones’ rageface. It reads as follows:
For six months I bend the ears of the home office to get a postage meter. I win …Then the only good, fast, dependable, honest-to-Gregg stenographer I got, this redhead Morissey – balks at a postage meter! 
“I have no mechanical aptitude. Machines mix me up, kind of,” she says. As if we asked her to fly a P-80. I almost blow my top. 
This postage meter, I explain, is modern, more efficient, a time saver… No more adhesive stamps. No stamp box, and who’s got the key? No running out of stamps you need. No scrounging. No stamp sticking. Just set the lever for any kind of stamp you want, for any kind of mail, and the meter prints the stamp right on the envelope with a dated postmark – and it seals the flap at the same time. Faster than mailing by hand. Prints stamps on tape for parcel post. Even keeps its own records! 
And metered mail doesn’t have to be postmarked and canceled in the post office, gets going earlier. It is practically heaven’s gift to the working girl…and so on. But with the Morissey, no soap. 
I try diplomacy, “Miss Morissey, I want you personally to try it for two weeks. If you don’t like it then – back it goes to the factory! I depend on your judgment implicitly. Okay?”… She acts like an early Christian about to be lunch for a lion, but gives in.
So help me – two weeks later she has a big pink bow on the handle of the postage meter – like it was an orchid or something. I give it the gape. 
“Kinda cute, ain’t it,” says Miss Morissey. “But a very efficient machine, Mr. Jones. Now the mail is out early enough so I get to the girls’ room in time to hear all the dirt”…I wonder, is it always illegal to kill a woman?
This advertisement throws into stark relief one of the great gaping inconsistencies of the ‘50s era: the fascist illustrator has blatantly failed to include the big pink orchid-rendering bow on the postage meter’s handle.


This is another ad campaign that uses feminine hygiene to sell its product. And again, it sows the seeds of self doubt by declaring, “she keeps her home immaculate, looks as pretty as she can and really loves her husband, BUT she neglects that one essential…personal feminine hygiene”. Again, the stereotype of women as housebound husband-pleasers is reinforced – not only is she responsible for the maintenance of the house, but for maintaining his sexual libidinousness too. But perhaps the most disturbing part of this ad is its suggested use for Lysol, nowadays used as a hospital disinfectant, as a douching agent.


This advertising campaign from the 1890’s is ever more vintage than the purple/teal sweater clashtastrophes that your average hipster fawns over. Heralding the advent of the newest innovation in home laundering, this advertisement gives a useful illustration of the life of a woman in those times – note especially the illustration in the top right, with its depiction of a little perving Geronimo.

Interesting Vintage Pictures of Russians Drinking Vodka From the Past

Vodka has traditionally been made by processing equal amounts of alcohol and water with some trace additives to soften the taste and then filtering the alcohol water mixture through carbon. The word vodka is a diminutive form of the Russian word for water. It was coined in the late 19th century by the famous Russian chemist Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev, who formulated the Periodic Law, classifying elements according to their atomic numbers. Before that time vodka was simply known as “grain wine."

According to some studies a typical Russian man drinks 180 bottles of vodka a year, or one every two days. In Russia, vodka is very cheap, about $1 for half a liter, and greatly cherished. One Moscow liquor store owner said, "In our country, vodka is a purchase of the highest importance. Russians will never skimp on vodka---they'll just eat less."

By the early 16th century, vodka drinking was enormously popular. Most of the vodka was produced by local tavern owners who became very rich at the expense of their customers. By the mid 17th century the consumption of vodka had gotten so out of hand that a third of the male population was deeply in debt to the taverns and many farmers were too drunk to cultivate their land. The state took over and monopolized the sale of the drink.

In the mid 17th century, the Orthodox Church declared that vodka was an invention of the devil and destroyed all the documents that related to vodka's early history. The church's and the government attempt to crackdown on vodkas drinking only drove the drink underground and encouraged people to make their own vodka at home, a custom that continues to this day.

Disturbed by the impact that vodka was having on his people, Czar Alexander III decided to improve the quality of vodka by hiring the famed Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev. Among the improvements he made were fixing the alcohol content at 40 percent and basing the amounts of water and alcohol used to make vodka on volume rather than weight.

27 Color Pictures of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus Performing in Oakland, California, 1971

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus was an American traveling circus company billed as The Greatest Show on Earth. It and its predecessor shows ran from 1871 to 2017.

Known as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows, the circus started in 1919 when the Barnum & Bailey's Greatest Show on Earth, a circus created by P. T. Barnum and James Anthony Bailey, was merged with the Ringling Bros. World's Greatest Shows. The Ringling brothers had purchased Barnum & Bailey Ltd. following Bailey's death in 1906, but ran the circuses separately until they were merged in 1919.

With weakening attendance and high operating costs, the circus closed on May 21, 2017 after 146 years.

These color slides from nick dewolf photo archive that captured performing of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in in Oakland, California, 1971.

February 17, 2018

30 Amazing Vintage Photographs of New York City From Between the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries

The earliest forms of mass transit in the City were the horse-cars, which were trolleys pulled by horses. Then came street railways, which in Manhattan were elevated. These would have been the main means of mass transit before the subway began operating around the turn of the 20th century. Horse drawn cabs were ubiquitous until they were replaced by motor powered ones.

Most people in the late 1800s did not travel around cities/metros as we do today. They lived closer to where they worked and mostly walked to their jobs or to their do their errands/keep appointments. Here, below is a collection of 30 amazing vintage photographs that capture street scenes of New York City from between the late 19th and early 20th century.

Central Park, near the Sixth Avenue and 59th Street entrance, 1864

Wall Street, around 1872

Brooklyn Bridge, 1873

Prospect Park, Brooklyn, 1880

Mott Street, about 1890


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