Bluestocking Journal

Real history, through the eyes of a fictional person

Tag: clothing

Should Trousers Become General


This cartoon appeared in the Urbana Courier-Herald on December 24, 1912. The word balloon reads, “Mother! Sis has gone to the theatre in my dress suit and I haven’t a thing to wear to the shop.”


Saturday, December 14, 1912

In Lincoln, Illinois, a fire started in the Moose lodge while a candidate for membership was “riding the goat,” ending the initiation and causing a lot of damage. “During the stampede the Moose saved all their furnishings except two pool tables. The goat butted his way out safely.”

This evening hat is very striking, but who would have the courage to wear such a thing? It is made of black tulle, trimmed with rows of black pearls, and covered with a great number of bird of paradise feathers. Are they really wearing this in Paris now?

kind of a Robert Smith vibe, actually

Monday, December 9, 1912

“Make a bonfire of your hats, throw away your corsets and wear trousers instead of those ridiculous tight skirts,” said Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt to the Equal Suffrage club in New York. For the past two years, she has traveled around the world promoting the idea of votes for women. “My trip around the globe convinced me that my own country women are the most fettered, sartorially, to be found anywhere. It is time for the western woman to kick herself free of the swaddling draperies which the Parisian sends over to us. We should declare our independence in dress as we have in politics, and the sooner we do it the better for health, happiness and the cause.”

This does sound rather comfortable, but I certainly won’t be setting my hats on fire! Here is a picture of Mrs. Catt:

Carrie Chapman Catt

Wednesday, November 13, 1912

Am I the only one who finds typographical errors amusing? I was amazed to see that in this Kaufman & Company advertisement, they managed to spell “chrysanthemums” correctly but failed utterly at “Illinoisans,” “Champaign’s,” and “loyalty.” I don’t even know what to say about “There are FREE.”

A man in Benton, Illinois, purchased a revolver and vowed to kill all the “Bull Moosers” with whom he came in contact. First he entered a grocery store, but the weapon failed to discharge, and he was arrested and later adjudged insane and taken to the asylum.

In New York, the notorious suffragist Maud Malone was found guilty of wilfully disturbing a public meeting. When Woodrow Wilson spoke in the Brooklyn academy of Music on October 20, Miss Malone insisted on knowing his views on woman suffrage. “Since Mr. Wilson has never committed himself on that subject he evaded her question. Miss Malone insisted, and was arrested.”

Wednesday, November 6, 1912

Woodrow Wilson will be our next president, and it looks as though the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives will go from 64 to 100; the Senate will probably go from a Republican majority of seven to a Democratic majority of one. Theodore Roosevelt said, “The American people by a great plurality have decided in favor of Mr. Wilson and the Democratic party. Like all other good citizens I accept the result with entire good humor and contentment.” The progressives did far better than the republicans overall. Governor Wilson said a great many things, but the odd bit that struck me was this: “I got up on a chair so that you could not see the patch upon my head.”

The democratic landslide was felt here as well. Congressman McKinley’s re-election bid was defeated by 800. “Boyd Blain, republican candidate for circuit clerk, alone survives the slaughter.” The unofficial chart of local district votes shows the progressives to be very strong. Roosevelt won in Illinois by over 85,000 votes. A straw vote at my school and and Leal School likewise went badly for Taft, although McKinley did far better.

An intoxicated man fired a shotgun at another man at the polling booth at the Collins store on Hill street. His first shot missed, but his sister managed to disarm him before he could get off another shot.

And to wrap up today’s election journal entry, I feel I must paste in this clothing shop advertisement:

Tuesday, November 5, 1912

All I have to report upon today is loads of madness and death. Perhaps it is is somehow indicative of my character that I should find these stories interesting, out of all the stories in the paper, but I think I will avoid dwelling upon that.

The big news from Chicago is that Conway, “the wooden-footed clown,” has confessed to the murder of Miss Sophia Singer. He said, “Sophia came to the rooms where we were living together and asked my wife to go out with her with two men. She wanted her to do something that was immoral. That made me angry and we got into a quarrel.” His wife, he said, left the room, and Miss Singer attacked him with a handkerchief containing a doorknob. He seized it from her, she snatched up a nearby razor, and he struck her with the doorknob-kerchief. Not knowing she was dead, he said, he gagged her and tied her up, and left with his wife. “I did not mean to kill her, but if a man cannot protect the name of his own wife, who in the world will?”

A woman named Pansy Lesh has confessed in Los Angeles to the murders of two women in Missouri by poison; a prominent alienist says she is sane, and Mrs. Lesh agrees, although she says she has no idea why she killed either of them. A Chicago negress (who is a spirit medium and crystal gazer) was found guilty of poisoning her son for the purpose of collecting life insurance; five other members of her family (two husbands, a brother-in-law, and two children) were also murdered, but it is not known whether she poisoned them too. And a millionaire cigar manufacturer was taken to the Boston Hospital for the Insane because he fears that someone is trying to poison him.

Here is news from Joliet: “Driven insane by the constant clicking of a telegraph sounder, Mrs. Mabel Plumbe, an employe [sic] of the Postal Telegraph company for twenty-five years, killed herself by firing a bullet into her brain.”

A horrible ten-year-old girl in Pennsylvania named Gazelle buried a five-year-old girl alive in the woods. Detectives with bloodhounds found the child, and she is now in critical condition.

I will end this day’s report of death and madness with the sad story of an actor whose corset was laced too tightly while impersonating a woman. He was stricken with apoplexy onstage, and he died in the hospital.

Sunday, October 27, 1912

Things That I Learned Reading the Daily Illini Today

1. They are calling female university students “co-ednas.”

2. In order to appear up-to-date, a young man must be properly “hatted and cravatted.”

3. Eyestrain can be fatal!

Friday, October 18, 1912

Francis Ganalon, the “wild man” who took possession of a house in Tolono and who claimed to own all of the public buildings and farmland in this county, has escaped from the asylum for the insane. As Mr. Ganalon tends not to keep such a low profile, I believe we have not heard the last of him.

“A wild-eyed stranger, hatless and poorly clothed and excitedly claiming to have witnessed a frightful train wreck,” appeared at the Johnson residence just south of Sidney early this morning. Sidney officers brought the stranger, who first gave his name as Con Graney and later as Dan Conley, to Urbana, where he was adjudged insane. The prisoner imagined himself to be in Chicago. Although clad in the attire of a common laborer, the mystery man has a refined face, and his hands are small and uncalloused. “The rough exterior does not disguise the refined and intellectual appearance of the man and the authorities are considerably puzzled.”

Myrtle Bowers, employed in a knitting mill, put her name and address into a stocking before it was shipped. A Florida man bought the stocking, the two corresponded, and they were married in Rockford, Illinois.

George R. Lunn, Socialist mayor of Schenectady, New York, and six of his Socialist co-workers have been arrested on a charge of rioting and thrown in jail in Little Falls. The mayor, his wife, and a number of others had attempted to address groups of striking employees in the streets there without a permit.

Sunday, October 13, 1912

I have grown so weary of Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, and in casting about for something else to report on, I found a copy of today’s Daily Illini, the university paper. Mother was about to use it to line the birdcage, but I rescued it and had a look.

Apart from a lot about how the staff of the paper desire distinctive hats, quite a lot about sports, some church information, and a “Campus Scout” column that I cannot make heads or tails of, the paper seems to be mainly advertisements. I have snipped out a few that interested me in some small fashion, and the rest of the paper is now safely inside the birdcage.

be a distinct individual

Just Look At Those Hats

This ad appeared in the Urbana Courier-Herald on October 4, 1912.