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The fragile pages give off the scent of dust and printing ink from January of 1959. Advertisements for floor cleaners, recipes for left-overs and fascinating articles revealing life of women fifty-six years ago. One piece promised to unveil the mysteries of  “How to make Skirts the NEW Way!” The cut-out and assemble, Woman’s Day Calendar for the new year, was a bonus feature; each month included inspirational bible quotes. Religion was as much a part of the media then, as sex is today.

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They got me with GERMISOL! Does it get rid of “Outside” toys??!!

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Wilson has cleaned out his mom’s house and saved this particular gem for me. It just happened that he stuck it in my mailbox the same day I also, spontaneously, received a free copy of People Magazine’s Fall Style Watch. I don’t do much watching of style here in New Hampshire. The general population shifts fairly seamlessly from t-shirts to plaid flannel and back again with the seasons.

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Not exactly my idea of a “dream kitchen make-over” though it does remind me vaguely of my childhood…

Fifty-six years ago, this ad for “A New Idea In Smoking!” graced the back cover of the premier, female-oriented media. How did she get out on those rocks in the middle of a raging river in that dress?

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It was a fascinating read. I pored over the skirt designs and sweaters I could knit for the whole family! A particularly engaging article schooled me in gestures that would make me look older.

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Don’t lie! You tried to read this tiny type too!

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I looked diligently for two ads to compare over the years of media evolution. These two fit the bill.

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Was life that much simpler and better? Or were we on the cusp of changes and just as anxiety ridden by that subtle shift as the disconnect of today? Communication: by book, magazine, by telegraph, telex, fax, letter and text. Advertising influencing how we view our bodies and life choices. Are there lessons to be learned from the distances leapt? By advances in the ability to communicate with each?

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23 comments on “Woman’s Day

  1. great photo essay, thanks for posting. curious to see the ad featuring a skateboard, i thought that was a very recent invention in the world of sport.

    1. I really missed the mark on this one, Shellie. The Modess ad was for “feminine hygiene” products from 1959, they only hinted at what the product was with the tag line “because…” The ad with the skate board was from the PEOPLE Style Magazine that arrived the same day and was rather detailed about the same subject. That was the idea I was going for. Sorry for the confusion. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

      1. oh i get it now. haha. thanks for the clarification. 🙂

  2. Touring NH says:

    I love looking at “old” magazines and their ads. It is such visual clue as to how much society has changed. How many young women today do you think could sew their own skirts (hell, how many young women even wear skirts). I guess I am more old fashion that I thought, a large part of me really misses the simplicity.

    1. And some day these will be the simpler times, Laura. Right?! Thank you.

      1. Touring NH says:

        That is a terrifying thought.

  3. Personally I’d love to go back to those days for another round at life, especially if I could hold on to what I know now.

    1. I would be so happy to lose some of the technology!

  4. I remember that magazine. Truly, it makes me happy that I don’t waste my time reading magazines these days. Who needs to be told to knit the family sweaters or to gear-up my fashion sense? I’d rather read your analysis of them.

    1. Aw, thank you Susan. It was fun to just peruse and see the differences that have occurred over the past 56 years in ads and what was considered relevant to women.

      1. There are some things about that age that seem simpler, but these expectations of what I should have become certainly didn’t have simple outcomes!

  5. What a total hoot, Martha. I nearly split a gut laughing at a few of these. Yes, how the heck did she get drip free out in the middle of that river – did he carry her?
    I love the kitchen, the colors, the perfect cake in the background.
    And I think my favorite is the Scandanavian sweaters. The male model’s face has me snorting. All the photos are really a stitch. What a treasure to find these.

    1. So happy you enjoyed it Shelley! I have to say the pink kitchen got me giggling too. Thanks for laughing along.

  6. Lexie Lou says:

    Definitely my idea of a dream kitchen!

    1. Some how I figured that had your name all over it!

      1. Chris says:

        Sorry but I can’t possibly imagine Barbara with a pink and turquoise kitchen.
        Red and black and chrome maybe….

      2. Thank you Chris. We did have a pretty funky kitchen in Byfield with the “inside-out window” but never anything this strange!

  7. Marie Keates says:

    What an interesting look back in time. I remember looking at my sisters magazine when I was small and they seemed to be much like this one although a few years later. How times have changed.m

    1. Some day, some one will look back at today’s magazines and think the same thing, change is good!

      1. Marie Keates says:

        I was thinking the same

  8. Nolsie says:

    Loved it! That kitchen was my favourite, and it will probably come back into fashion soon. They must have lowered that girl into the centre of that steam by helicopter!

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