This humorous illustration is part of an ink drawing printed in the “Gibson Book II.” It is titled “At the Dressmaker’s ‘STOUT? Oh Dear, No!!!’” It also reads “Copyright, 1904, Life Publishing Co., New York” at the bottom. The artist is Charles Dana Gibson (1867-1944) who was a master of pen and ink drawings. He began to create satirical illustrations of upper-middle-class life based on his observations. Here, the husband looks on as his wife is fitted at the dressmaker’s. From the 1890s until World War I, the glamorous “Gibson Girl” set the standard for beauty, fashion and manners which brought Gibson unrivaled professional and popular success. Gibson’s prolific output and skill was perfect for illustrations in magazines. His “Gibson Girl” was a vibrant, new feminine ideal who was the visual embodiment of what writers of the period described as the “New Woman.” She was a woman who pursued higher education, romance, marriage, physical well-being and individuality with unprecedented independence. Although this Gibson style of fashionable dress is relegated to history, some of these ideals are still popular today. Visitors to the Botetourt History Museum can see this “Gibson Book II” and other historical women’s artifacts in the large Family Life display case upstairs.
The museum is open at 26 East Main St, Fincastle, Monday-Saturday, 10-2, and Sunday, 2-4.
~ Botetourt History Museum