Philobiblon: Beauty and fashion as a cultural construct

Monday, April 10, 2006

Beauty and fashion as a cultural construct


This is a postcard postmarked in Bristol at 10pm on April 11, 1907, labelled "Miss Edna May". That anyone could have considered that hat a flattering or attractive piece of fashion is beyond me...

I think this must be the actress who was born Edna May Nutter (can see why she dropped the surname...) although the photographer (or perhaps retoucher) has done a good job in this pic in hiding her "horse face". (Who says the past was genteel?)

The message on the back, sent to a Miss E.M. Ingles of 71 Marle Hill Pde, Cheltenham, is equally blunt: "Dear Eva, Just a postcard to help you on. Can you let know by Sunday morn. the name of the Sec.y of the Education Cmm.ttee for Cheltenham. That means I want a letter. Yours etc. Percy."

The tone is definitely exasperated and blunt. You have to wonder why it mattered...

UPDATE: Thanks to Penny, who in the comments pointed out that I had the wrong actress Edna May.

3 Comments:

Blogger Penny L. Richards said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4/11/2006 12:45:00 am  
Blogger Penny L. Richards said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4/11/2006 12:48:00 am  
Blogger Penny L. Richards said...

Sorry about cluttering your comments with deleted posts. She's Edna May Pettie, not Edna May Nutter--different actresses. Here's a definitive page about Pettie (in the gallery, there's a detail from the image you show, I think):

http://www.dgillan.screaming.net/stage/th-frames.html?http&&&www.dgillan.screaming.net/stage/may/may-e.html

There's also a website devoted to Pettie here:

http://www.edna-may.com/

And another image of her in a completely ridiculous hat, here:

http://www.the-eastern-window.com/EWcc-index.html?row1col2=EWcc9-04.html

4/11/2006 12:58:00 am  

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