My Womenâ€™s Collection consists of over 1,200 images and scanned texts representing objects and printed matter that reflect the lives of women from the mid 1800s through the mid 1900s.
I collected the items for almost two decades, starting in the early 1980s. It is my hope that viewing these items allows us to peek into the personal lives of the average American woman, whose stories rarely included fame and fortune.
In the early 60s I was influenced by the beginnings of the feminist liberation movement, reading Betty Friedanâ€™s The Feminine Mystique, Gloria Steinem and others and realized about how dramatically womenâ€™s needs, desires and place in society had evolved over the generations. Years later, when my daughter Rachel was just going into her teen years, I wanted her to be proud to be a girl today as well as a woman of tomorrow.
But how to impart this sense of pride, I felt words werenâ€™t enough to hold her interest. Then one day I was drawn to a vintage compact displayed at a house sale. Eureka, the collection was born and the hunt began. The â€śthrill of the huntâ€ť took me and my husband Mike throughout the Midwest and across the country to collectable and antique shows where I was able to learn from and enjoy the company of the dealers and other collectors.
As my collection grew I decided to created a Womenâ€™s Room, my own little mini museum in a former bedroom in my home. The room told a story. . .The fainting couch which allowed women to rest and refresh after succumbing to the pain of corsets laced too tightly; the dressers filled with underwear from bustles to brassieres, stockings, gloves, swimwear, handkerchieves; an antique coat rack on which hung parasols, hats and other accessories; In the closet dresses from the Victorian period through the 50s, on the floor shoes from high laced leather boots to the platform shoes of the 40s, and hat boxes filled with hats of every period and style lining the closet shelves. Combs, hand mirrors, talcum tins and perfume bottles adorned the dressing table while make up and compacts filled the drawers. a china case displayed bottles of menstrual relief products from the late 1800s through the 20s, African American make-up and hair products from the 30s and 40s and an array of hair combs, hat pins and hand fans. A side table with a ladyâ€™s ceramic spittoon and magazines such as The Ladies Home Journal and Modern Priscilla spoke to the interests and fashion of the day. Completing the room were the walls lined with WWI and WWII posters of women
who joined the military and the Red Cross and the women who stayed home caring for the children, buying War Bonds, working in the factories, and struggling to keep family farms.
Then came Ebay and gradually there were fewer and fewer sellers at the shows and the stores began to disappear. It was then that I decided it was time to stop collecting and start researching and photographing each piece in the collection.
If mistakes are found in the text descriptions, I welcome hearing from anyone who can correct errors or provide additional pertinent information. If I have infringed on a copyright please contact me and I will remove the item.
Many of the items in the collection are available for sale, although ideally I would like a museum to have the entire collection. Interested parties should contact Mrs. Horvitz via firstname.lastname@example.org