Tag Archives: summer resorts

Plaster Casts of Their Pretty Faces, a Summer Fad: 1888

plaster cast life mask anna pavlova

Plaster life-mask of the face of ballerina Anna Pavlova. http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O1113998/mask/

The Latest Fashionable Folly.

Some few of the summer girls before gathering their butterfly raiment about them for flight left souvenirs of themselves with the business-tied young men who remain in the city. These souvenirs were neither more nor less than plaster casts of their pretty faces, and as the fashion in which these casts are obtained is by no means a pleasant one they must be judged to have displayed heroism worthy of a better cause. A cast, they argue, has no more significance than a photograph, while it is a much newer method of giving a token of one’s regard. The damsel who designs to honor any friend masculine after this mode send for one of those swarthy, under-sized Italian modelers who abound in certain quarters down town. The little man attends in the lady’s boudoir and a studio is extemporized. This means that some convenient sister or girl friend hold her hand and calms her rising terrors while the victim is laid back in a reclining chair or extending on a table.

The hair is snooded up carefully and covered that no touch of plaster may come near it. Then some variety of sweet oil is rubbed upon the skin, tubes of one description or another are put into the nostrils and the mixture is poured on. It does not take many minutes for it to set nor many more for it to be got off, discovering the summer girl very commonly in a state bordering on hysteria and as glad to be released as if she were jumping from a dentist’s clutches. There is no real discomfort attending the operation, the oil preventing any adhesion of the skin and the castee soon recovers sufficiently to describe the whole thing as “real fun,” and to discuss the number of copies of her countenance she will have made from the mold.

A bachelor’s den, in case the bachelor chances to have a number of girl friends, presents an interesting appearance just now. Rows of white faces look down from the mantel, more stand around on tables or bookshelves. Some are set in plaques, some hung up in frames. Some, it grieves one to record, are not treated with due consideration, one irreverent dog of a youngster, for instance, turning the plaster mask of his best girl over and using the reverse side for an ash tray.

The Plain Dealer [Cleveland OH] 29 July 1888: p. 10

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  Irreverent dog, indeed. Mrs Daffodil appreciates that the summer girl feels a life-mask to be more of a “speaking likeness” than a photograph. Still, even the most skillful modeller cannot hide their shuddersome resemblance to a death mask. Unless one’s beloved bachelor has some strange tastes indeed, one feels that a portrait in tasteful evening costume would more effectively call the girl friend to the bachelor’s mind.

The photograph at the head of this post is a cast-plaster life-mask of ballerina Anna Pavlova. Here is a bronze cast taken from the plaster mold:

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.


My Lady’s Hammock: 1895

The Hammock, James Tissot. Source: Wikigallery


It Is a Gorgeous Affair This Season And There are Fetching Gowns Which Go With It and Hosiery Like a Beautiful Italian Sunset

The girl who is spending the season at a fashionable hotel is forced to miss one of the most fascinating pleasures of summertime, namely, the hammock. At the really swell hotels now-a-days one rarely sees a hammock, for the reason, perhaps, that the hammock is a sure destroyer of lace, chiffon or the fashionable costumes that custom demands must be worn all day at the popular watering places.

It is only that fortunate young woman who is summering at some country farm house or big, roomy mountain hotel where there are plenty of trees about the shady piazza nooks that can enjoy the true comfort of the hammock. The watering place girl can only dream of the luxury and the piazza rocking chair is the nearest approach to the graceful swinging couch, canopied by green waving branches which her sister in the mountains spends the long morning hours in.

The tactful maiden studies her “type” before she makes up her mind to adopt the hammock as a permanent summer back ground. There are certain styles of girl that look as though made for a hammock. In it they are marvels of grace and prettiness, but the stout, comfortable, well fed young woman who may make a fetching picture on a bicycle is as much out of place in a hammock as it is possible to imagine. The slim waisted, “fluffy” girl is the kind that looks well in a hammock. She becomes a soft, limp mass of lace and ribbon, the moment she adjusts herself to its meshes, and if an inch or two of her stocking shows beneath the white lace of her skirt it doesn’t look at all shocking, but on the contrary, chic and appropriate. The Burne-Jones type of girl is therefore the special kind who makes her hammock the piece de resistance in the artillery with which she will wage successful warfare on the heart of the  Summer Man.

First, she selects her hammock. If she is a blond she gets one of cool looking white cording, or in blue and white stripes, with bamboo rods stretched across the head and foot. Then she selects the place where it is to hang, always a corner somewhere out of the general.

If she is of a romantic disposition she finds out some rippling resting place, where the tree branches bend across, and she will have her pretty resting place suspended right across the water, climbing into it each time at the risk of a wetting. Here she makes a veritable illustration of the verse: “Summer day; babbling brook/Girl in hammock reading book!”

The girl with dark eyes and brown hair selects a hammock of brilliant red Mexican grass, or some other Oriental looking weave. She piles it with silken cushions of the same rich hues; deep crimson and olive greens and here and there a Persian covering that stands out among the others, making an effect that delights the soul of any artist which may be in the vicinity until he begs for the privilege of sketching the hammock’s occupant.

The fair haired blue eyed girl has blue and white cushions and little pillows for her ears, covered with white dotted Swiss and trimmed with Val. Lace. I picked up one of these ridiculous little things the other day and learned for the first time that they existed. Just imagine a cushion about five inches square stuffed with cotton and a suspicion of violet sachet, made specially for to tuck under your ear among the larger pillows.

The heart shaped cushion is one of the novelties for my lady’s hammock this year. It is shaped exactly like the real article which is supposed to exist even in the bosom of summer’s merriest maiden and it is embroidered over with its owner’s favorite flower, and sometimes a motto or sentiment.

One of the prettiest that I have seen is covered with marguerites embroidered in their natural colors and through the blossoms runs the line in gold thread: “He loves me; he loves me not?”

Another with a border of the ox-eyed daisies says:

“I don’t care what the daisies say;

I know I’ll be married some fine day!”

This summer girl not only has the regulation tag upon her hammock with her name thereon, but she attaches it with a huge bow of ribbon matching her cushions in color. The ends of this hang so low that they sweep the grass beneath the float in every passing breeze.

Of course there are frocks specially for hammock wear, and stockings and shoes of attractive design to be worn when reposing in this luxurious swing.

At no time in the career of a summer girl are her feet more in evidence than when she is poised in her hammock or getting in or out of it.

This last operation is one which it takes considerable dexterity and grace to accomplish successfully, but after a while most of these clever young women manage to do it without turning an eyelash and with a not-too-reckless display of ankle. It looks wonderfully difficult to a mere man, but it all depends on a little quickness and a certain curves of the limbs in getting out, which keeps the skirts in place.

A man is apt to get all tangled up in a hammock, and he emerges from one as a rule looking as though he had been in a collision. But the hammock maiden has it all down to a science.

She fixes up her last summer’s dresses to wear in the hammock. Of course there must not be too many buttons upon any frock for this purpose, as they catch in the meshes and come off, as a usual thing. But plenty of lace and soft ribbons can be worn and a gown which could never be worn anywhere else, owing to its last season’s cut, makes a most effective costume for hammock wear.

A pretty little girl who affects the hammock pose to a considerable extent, confided to me the other day that she discarded stays in her hours of open air repose. She wore some mysterious sort of waist made with whale bone, but without steels.

“When I’ve been out tramping, or fishing, or driving, and get home tired out,” she told me, “I just run up to my room and have a sponge bath. Then I slip into one of these waists, which is ever so much cooler you know, put on my loosest and fluffiest hammock frock and get down here under the trees, and in a minute I’m enjoying as pleasant a nap as it is possible to imagine.”

This girl has a collection of pretty hosiery and shoes for her afternoon siesta. She has one pair of the daintiest French morocco “mules” or slippers without any upper part in the back, which she wears with red silk stockings. Then she has Japanese slippers in all colors and hose to match, some of them quite vivid in design. One of the oddest conceits are her “rainbow” stockings.

Her pleasure in wearing them must be that of the small boy with his first cigar; “purely intellectual,” for they are strictly invisible, but I suppose there must be sort of conscious delight in the possession of such frivols as these. They are worn with a small, innocent-looking brown suede slipper which buttons over the instep with three large brown buttons. The stocking which shows over the ankle is brown, the same as the shoe, but as it reaches the calf of the leg it lightens by degrees to a golden yellow, turning with a sort of beautiful Italian sunset effect into palest violet, and then deepening into purple at the top. The garters worn with this are of black elastic, through which runs a violet ribbon. The side knot is of the same ribbon and the buckles are of engraved and oxidized silver, an owl on one symbolizing night, and a lark on the other for morning. These are the most fetching of all her hammock properties, and it seems a pity that they are so unobtrusively worn undiscovered, unless a hammock costume of bloomers be adopted.

The Herald [Los Angeles CA] 25 August 1895: p. 16

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Pleasant as are the solitary delights of the hammock, dual occupancy is where the sparks really fly:


A Potent Factor in Midsummer Joys and Midwinter Repentance.

The hammock has much to answer for.

It has developed from nothing into a potent factor in midsummer social joys and sorrows.

A decade ago the hammock was sporadic. It is now universal. Certain tourists from this heretofore unhammocked land of the free, journeying into Mexico and in Cuba noted the meshed crescent with interest first and with admiration afterwards, insomuch that they brought one of the swaying couches with them.

The result has been remarkable. Americans have taken the hammock to their very hearts, and American ingenuity has devised machinery capable of turning out hammocks almost as fast as the finished article will turn out its occupant. A summer bereft of a hammock would be to the American lad and lass a dreary and unromantic period.

Given a good article of moonlight and a hammock big enough for two, and there is no combination which will more rapidly and thoroughly advance the cause of Cupid and bring about the lighting of Hymen’s torch.

Between the moon and the hammock there is a certain analogy. A young moon is very like a hammock, and when Luna appears in the west, her crescent apparently swung between two invisible trees and fastened with a pair of bright stars, the analogy is complete. One can readily fancy an angel swaying in the celestial hammock, which is said also to contain a man. And the idea is so apt to fix itself in the mind of the ardent mortal who gazes westward that his first impulse is to get a hammock, and an earthly angel of his own, and then to sway joyously to the rhythm of two hearts that beat as one.

As an aid to flirtation it is twin sister to a fan.

If a young couple ever trust themselves to the support of the same hammock at the same time, Cupid has his own way thereafter. The pair must of necessity be brought into such sweet proximity that every particle of formality and reserve is melted away. One may withdraw from his fair one on a bench, may hold aloof while seated on the same grassy bank, and may hitch his chair away, or closer, as his feelings dictate. But in the same hammock one can do none of these things. He can only submit to fate and propinquity and  be led delightfully to the momentous question.

The hammock…is fashioned much like a spider’s web. But who would not willingly be a fly when the web holds a charming maiden? And what man is there with soul so dead who is not glad that the hammock has come to stay.

The Macon [MS] Beacon 16 August 1890: p. 4


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.


The Man Who Saw The Sea Serpent: 1883

The announcement that the first sea serpent of the season is only eight feet long shows that the summer resort romancer is not yet in first-class condition.

 State Ledger [Topeka, KS] 26 July 1902: p. 2

It is, Mrs Daffodil is given to understand, “Sea Serpent Day,” and time to share a story of a fearsome saurian creature of the Deep.

He Saw A Sea-Serpent

“Say” ejaculated a man as he rushed up and grabbed a Herald reporter by the arm, “have you interviewed the man that saw the sea-serpent?”

The reporter replied that he had not, and asked to be immediately taken to the fortunate individual.

Now, if there is anything which Chicago has been backward in it is the production of sea-serpents, and while such towns as Boston and New Bedford and Cincinnati and St. Louis have been giving out tales of monsters of the deep, Chicago, with ample lake facilities and any quantity of the breed, has been strangely silent. The reporter consequently made haste to interview the gentleman who, it being a story, will be hereafter referred to as “a gentleman of undoubted veracity.” The man who had seen the monster was interviewed by the reporter in the not over commodious quarters which he occupied. He had a wild, startled look, from which the reporter surmised that he had not recovered from the terrible sight. His name was James Smithington, and on being requested to detail his experiences, he at once proceeded to business, first casting a furtive glance around to make sure that the animal was not in the apartment with him.

“I left the lake front about 7 o’clock last evening, in company with a friend. When about two miles off the north end of the Government pier at the entrance to the Chicago River, my attention was called to a singular looking object which was advancing upon me at a terrible rate of speed. When within a few thousand feet of us it seemed to raise its immense body, or neck, some ten foot out of the water, and at the same time twenty feet in the rear, its tail was seen to rise up, and at times lash the water. All at once the fish or serpent vanished from sight.”

At this point in the narrative the gentleman of undoubted veracity suddenly stopped, and, pulling off his boot, shook it, and then grasping it by the straps he suddenly sprang forward and crushed an inoffensive tobacco quid which lay upon the floor.

“It had become quite dark by this time,” he resumed, “and when I returned I again saw the terrible thing advancing upon me at a great rate of speed. When about twenty-five yards from me it stopped, but in an instant it shot ahead with a ringing and rumbling noise. Its single eye, of a blood-red color, was directed upon me, and I was powerless to move from beneath its baleful glare.”

The reporter shuddered a first-class shudder.

“The rumbling noise increased, the glare of its single eye became fiercer, and I seemed paralyzed. Its body was about ten feet high and equally wide, and it was nearly fifty feet long. It was a bright yellow, and the head resembled that of a bull-dog. A large flat prong extended out from either side of its jaws, and it was terrible! terrible!”

At this point in the narrative, which corresponded exactly with that of the New Bedford sea serpent, a man tapped the reporter on the shoulder and drew him aside. He wore a star upon his left breast.

“Well, young feller, I guess I’ll have ter take him along. He’s got ’em pretty bad, hasn’t he?” remarked the facetious personage with the twinkle on his coat.

“I found him a-wrestling wid the red llght on the grip-car last night. Ole Wallace gave him sixty days at the House”

The reporter silently folded up his notes and stole away, and the last thing that he saw when he looked back was the “gentleman of undoubted veracity” extracting an imaginary sea-serpent from the back of his neck. The reporter wonders if the men who saw the New Bedford serpent are getting better.

Chicago Herald.

Alpena [MI] Weekly Argus 24 January 1883: p. 4

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  Sea serpents were a recognised attraction of the American summer resort. One properly deployed story of a sea serpent was worth hundreds of pounds to sea-side establishments, so journalists became adept at creating stories about leviathans of the deep—each larger and scalier than the previous ones—for what came to be called the Silly Season. Some of the monsters were very silly indeed and were almost always narrated by a “gentleman of undoubted veracity.” See this post over at the Haunted Ohio blog for some vintage images of sea-serpents. And this thrilling tale of a “sea serpent” in a Kansas river.

To be Relentlessly Informative, the illustration below is of a “grip-car.”

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.


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.


Don’t’s for the Summer Man: 1904


Edna Wallace Hopper

Edna Wallace Hopper in the New York World delivers herself of the following advice to the man who stays in town during the time his wife is away on her vacation:

Don’t look too resigned on the day of your wife’s departure—women sometimes change their minds.

Don’t wear your gladdest rags the day after. Be moderate. A gradual change in the style of your attire is less noticeable.

Don’t at any time affect too jaunty a manner or too noisy raiment. You are undoubtedly young and lovely, but there might be the suspicion of the would-be-“devil-of-a-fellow” about you, which the knowing instantly ticket as belonging to the man left behind.

Beware of the fascination of the peek-a-boo waist—the man hanging on the strap may belong to her.

Don’t start in with $10 dinners the first week. The summer is long.

Don’t mix your drinks just because it’s summer. It’s a strong stomach that knows no turning.

Don’t assume a virtuous air with your green complexion and say you are sticking too close to your desk and expect people to believe you.

Don’t forget to go to bed. You will look better the next day at the office.

Don’t invite too many bibulous friends to the house. They don’t improve the appearance of things.

Don’t play poker on the best polished mahogany table. Chips scratch.

Don’t fail to change your address if your next door neighbors are at home. You will save yourself future trouble if you do.

Don’t forget to visit the family the first Sunday or two. You will enjoy your week in town better and your wife’s vacation will probably be extended.

Don’t forget the box of candy, new magazines, and, if possible, a trifling present when you do visit your family. Your popularity will surprise you.

Don’t send a telegram saying that important business detains you in town. Your infant daughter won’t believe that gag nowadays.

Don’t acquire too many roof garden songs. Your office boy couldn’t teach them all to you.

Better wait till afternoon before writing your daily epistle to your family—your hand will be steadier. A little shaking is an obvious thing.

Don’t expect much sympathy from your family when you dilate upon the horrors of being left in town all through the hot summer. They know a thing or two, sometimes.

San Francisco [CA] Call 2 September 1904: p. 8

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: It was an American tradition for city-dwellers to send their wives and children to the sea-side or the country to avoid the worst of the summer heat. It was a great hardship for family men who had to eat all of their meals at restaurants or clubs, who whiled away the lonely evening hours with drink, card games and vulgar songs, and who, longing for the touch of a female hand, sought the company of peroxided blondes in low haunts they otherwise would have shunned. Desperation does strange things to lonely men….

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.