Of Another Fashion

An alternative archive of the not-quite-hidden but too often ignored fashion histories of U.S. women of color

Free Twitter buttons from languageisavirus.com

A promotional photograph of dancer and musical comedy star Aida Overton Walker, who as some of you may recall was credited with popularizing the cakewalk.
Credit: Photographs and Prints Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library
Submitted by Lynn Mally (Irvine, CA)

A promotional photograph of dancer and musical comedy star Aida Overton Walker, who as some of you may recall was credited with popularizing the cakewalk.

Credit: Photographs and Prints Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library

Submitted by Lynn Mally (Irvine, CA)

Tagged with:  #1900s  #African American

This is Mary F. Clifford, a student at Storer College in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia (1906). I think, although I’m not sure, that this is the daughter of J.R. Clifford, West Virginia’s first African American attorney, and original member of the Niagara Movement.

According to this source, Clifford’s daughter Mary delivered the credo at the Harper’s Ferry meeting of the Niagara Movement in 1906. The name and location are right, so it’s possible that the Mary Clifford in the photograph is Clifford’s daughter. Either way, her outfit is lovely.

Submitted by Molly Dolan, Digital Initiatives and Scholarly Communications Librarian at West Virginia University Libraries (Morgantown, West Virginia)

This family portrait was taken in 1900 in Gainesville, Florida. It’s part of a collection at the State Library and Archives of Florida.

This Gibson Girl is my great-grandmother. Her name was Bessie Henderson. I know nothing for certain about this photo, but, from the surrounding circumstances of her life, can deduce quite a bit. The photo would have been taken in either Mount Olive or Goldsboro, North Carolina - probably the latter. She was 19 when she died in early 1911, and she was pregnant during much of 1910, so I’d guess the photo was taken in 1908 or 1909. She lived on a small farm with her ailing grandparents. Her arms are burned dark from work in the sun, but she would have shielded her fair face with a bonnet or straw hat. The lockets mystify and sadden me. Neither my grandmother nor her sister ever saw them. They had nothing of their mother’s, save this picture.

Submitted by Lisa Henderson (Atlanta, Georgia).

Although Aida Overton Walker (1880-1914) is little-known today, she was a premiere vaudevillian performer in her own day. Some historians even credit her with popularizing the cakewalk. When she could no longer perform for health reasons, she became an integral force for raising funding for the Industrial Home for Colored Working Girls.

Here she is at her sultry best. The photo is undated but my guess is that it was taken in the early 1900s, at the height of her career.

This stunning photograph (reblogged from vintagegal) of African American vaudevillian showgirls is a reminder that mainstream American culture - even cultural forms that have historically trafficked in racial and gender stereotypes like vaudeville - has always included women of color (if in limited and uneven ways). The caption from the Black History Album reads:
"African American vaudeville performers (showgirls/chorus line) dressed in very risque (for the time) feline costumes. Undated. Very likely early 1900s."
For more on this history of cultural intervention, see Brenda Dixon Gottschild’s Waltzing in the Dark: African American Race Politics in the Swing Era (Palgrave MacMillan 2002) and Krystyn Moon’s essay "The Rise of Asians and Asian Americans in Vaudeville, 1880s-1930s."

This stunning photograph (reblogged from vintagegal) of African American vaudevillian showgirls is a reminder that mainstream American culture - even cultural forms that have historically trafficked in racial and gender stereotypes like vaudeville - has always included women of color (if in limited and uneven ways). The caption from the Black History Album reads:

"African American vaudeville performers (showgirls/chorus line) dressed in very risque (for the time) feline costumes. Undated. Very likely early 1900s."

For more on this history of cultural intervention, see Brenda Dixon Gottschild’s Waltzing in the Dark: African American Race Politics in the Swing Era (Palgrave MacMillan 2002) and Krystyn Moon’s essay "The Rise of Asians and Asian Americans in Vaudeville, 1880s-1930s."

(via garconniere)

Tagged with:  #African American  #1900s

Madam Flora Batson Bergen. This image appears in G.F. Richings’ book Evidences of Progress Among Colored People, 1902.

Many thanks to Sarah Scaturro for bringing this image to my attention.