A Miniature Laundry for the Summer Girl: 1904

little girl laundry

According to a writer in the Chicago Chronicle, New York Girls are indulging in a fad for laundry work this summer.

In one of her summer trunks the girl of Gotham takes a miniature laundry outfit. Everything is dolls’ size, but very useful just the same.

There is the tiny washboard. There is the little bit of a washtub, no bigger than a little girl would need for her doll clothes. There is the little box of fine starch and the salt to make it smooth and glossy. There are the tiny clothespins, and there is the blueing and there are the dyes. Fine washing, nowadays, includes the knowledge of ecru tints, cream and blue and gray.

For ironing purposes the Gotham girl takes with her a little charcoal iron. You build a fire in it and it stays hot all through the ironing. It is the neatest, safest thing that ever was, and the summer girl who owns such an iron is quite independent of gas and electricity, of stoves and uncertain heat.

Washing one’s own clothes in one’s own room is a great fad. The boarding-house keeper and the proprietor do not like it, but what can the poor girl do when there is no laundry handy or when the prices are ruinous?

It is a fad to give a laundry party. All the other boarders are invited in your room, while you slap out your fine laces, wash your organdies and lawns and do a little lace handkerchief ironing on the looking-glass and window pane. There is many a dollar saved this way, so it is a very useful fad.

Times-Picayune [New Orleans, LA] 3 July 1904: p. 2

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Unless one has unlimited funds or a laundry staff of unlimited patience, Mrs Daffodil advises the summer girl to choose textured garments: seer-sucker, crape, or coarse linen of the Aesthetic variety. These may be shaken out and hung up to dry with little or no need for that tiny charcoal iron. Add a chiffon frock for evening, which may be steamed over a pan of hot water, if mussed in a moonlit embrace. One’s time at the summer resorts may be more profitably spent flirting with a handsome gentleman on the esplanade rather than rinsing one’s embroidered lawn frock or trying to reconcile one’s laundry list with the returned items.

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.

 

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3 thoughts on “A Miniature Laundry for the Summer Girl: 1904

  1. chriswoodyard Post author

    Mrs Tiggy-Winkle is a charming character, but one compares a Summer Girl to that industrious creature at one’s peril. Stout, spikey, and wearing a most matronly cap and apron–no, no that analogy will not do for the smart Young Things!

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