Friday, January 20, 2012

Mid-Century Marvelous!

Oh, how I love the middle of the 20th century.  The jazz, the clothes, the decor, the post-war optimism - from my standpoint, it just seems like a cool time.  I'll be the first to admit that I don't know if, knowing what I know now, I could ever live back then - the racism, gender inequality, political climate, homophobia - are areas that are not gray to me and the repression would be STIFLING.  Nevertheless, the period between about 1948 and 1960, my favorite, very generously willed us some wonderful music, design and fashion.

Well looky what I have here!  Isn't this catalog AMAZING?!  My very generous friend Suze bequeathed this to me a couple of weeks ago.  It's intact and fabulous!  It's also a little heartbreaking, considering that it's a Montgomery Ward catalog.  I always get nostalgic for department stores that used to be so popular but are now relegated to the history books (head to Pleasant Family Shopping for the most comprehensive Montgomery Ward history you'll ever read).  Speaking of history books, if you really want kids to learn how life was in any particular era, hand them a copy of a catalog and a Life magazine.  In my opinion, these two things capture the zeitgeist better than any textbook!  Throw in a couple of You Tube videos of old commercials and you're all set!

Okay, back to the catalog - it's page after page of wonderful clothes, linens, toys, household items, furniture sporting goods, tools, name it, Ward's had it!  Look at these wonderful pages - and of course, this a minute fraction of what this glorious digest contains:

I hope shirtwaist dresses come back into fashion!  :D
Ride 'em, Coyboys!

SWOON - paint-by-number sets!

Great example
of the huge
change in

Chenille bedding - now with AVISCO!  :D

UPDATE:  I just finished a collage made with the "lady in red" from the shirtwaist dress page!  :D  Here it is:

And it's for sale at!  :D

I also love creating collages with this mid-century fodder!  Here are just a few examples:



  1. I for one also hope that shirtdresses come back in style. They are really hard to find and make me appear thinner than reality!

  2. Hee hee, Amy - that's why I love them! They're so flattering! :D

  3. I am completely jealous! What a great gift - its my favorite period too for doing "retro" art. And yes I totally agree about Life magazines - I scooped a few from the late 50's at the recycling center - seems like everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) quite happily smoked (how naive we were)...