Racial, War Time

Inauguration of Jefferson Davis As Confederate President, February 18, 1861, Montgomery, AL

Fads, Fashion, Racial, Sexual History, Social Movements

Niches In America Through Time: The Gibson Girl, 1890s Tinder Favorite

One of the niche groups that emerged in America during the 1890s was the Gibson Girl. The caricature was an upper middle class or wealthier young white woman who was said to epitomize feminine beauty, grace, spirited and confident, but who delighted in her feminine nature and had no wish to challenge male patriarchy or associate with the suffragette movement. Indeed, the suffragettes were often derisively depicted as mannish domineering old maids and the antithesis of Gibson Girls.

She was often, in fact, seen to have power through her feminine beauty that surpassed any power a man might hold and could reduce even the most desirable alpha man to a drooling fool she wrapped around her finger. Unlike earlier feminine ideals, she was allowed to be athletic and active, which did not devalue her feminine appeal in any way. On the contrary, a Gibson Girl briskly cycling by was thought an enchanting sight. The ideal Gibson Girl was to be slender, but with ample busom and tush, though not vulgarly so. This figure was emphasized by a tight corset she wore around her waist. Her hair was one of her greatest attributes, and should be ample and piled on top of her head in graceful shapes and waves.

As mentioned previously, she was in no way expected to be a meek wallflower. Her playful witty banter with men was thought one of her attractive qualities. While her main focus was to be of her home and husband, she was at the same time seen as engaging frequently in promoting social causes and perhaps even attending college. It is a bit hard to determine whether the Gibson Girl existed originally or whether she was created based on a male fantasy of the ideal female. It may have been a bit of both.

Racial, Social Movements, War Time

Camp Nordland: American Nazi Summer Camp, 1937-1941, Andover, NJ

In the years before the Second World War, the Bund held events at the facility to encourage pro-German, pro-Nazi values—many of these events attracting over 10,000 visitors. On 18 August 1940, it was the site of a joint rally with the Ku Klux Klan, organized by Alton Milford Young and Arthur Hornbui Bell. On 30 April 1941, Sussex County sheriff Denton Quick led a law-enforcement raid with ten deputized American Legionnaires on the camp which resulted in its closure, confiscation, and the arrests and trials of key Bund leaders. One of those convicted, August Klapprott, a naturalized American citizen, later petitioned the Supreme Court of the United States in Klapprott v. United States, 335 U.S. 601 (1949), to intervene in the revocation of his citizenship and the proposed deportation that resulted from his conviction.
After being seized by the government, the property was eventually turned over to Andover Township and became the township’s “Hillside Park.” Today, the facility houses the township’s police headquarters and several recreational fields. The property’s banquet hall is used for township events and frequently rented for wedding receptions. While much of its history and notoriety has faded over the last 70 years, many local residents of Sussex County still refer to the area as the “bund camp.

Maude Gets A New Maid: Carol Burnett Parody

The issue of race was a part of America’s past and sure to be a part of it’s future, at least for the foreseeable future. The 1970’s were a strange time when it came to racial relations. At least on paper racial discrimination was no longer supported and the inner city riots of the sixties were in the past. However there was this kind of uneasy truce where both whites and blacks approached each other with sort of awkward smiles and not relaxed interaction. Some might say that it constantly pervades the public discourse today, but for myself I prefer it to that strange kind of dynamic that persisted in the seventies when I was a kid.