Ornament Magazine

VOL37.1 2014

Ornament is the leading magazine celebrating wearable art. Explore jewelry, fashion, beads; contemporary, ancient and ethnographic.

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38 ORNAMENT 37.1.2013 "all wrapped up in newspaper work" (1917) suggests how hostesses could throw newspaper parties by decorating their tables with miniature telegraph poles, offering menus listing food by its advertising slogans, and organizing games in which couples could be paired through custom "want ads" or attendees could edit their own paper. She suggests guests attend such parties wearing "a newspaper dunce cap and long flowing cape; a complete robe fashioned of newspapers, belted in at the waist; a large brimmed hat of several thicknesses of newspapers; long flowing skirts, plaited ones, sailor collars, and puffed sleeves, all of newspaper." 7 For some parties attendees created their newspaper attire as part of the festivities, often with humorous restraints such as the men being required to make the costumes on their dates, without the women giving "so much as a hint to their awkward dressmakers."8 Newspaper costumes and parties generally were associated with youth. Even children participated in the recurring fad, and the Sun and New York Herald described a costume, worn to a fancy masquerade ball in 1920 by young Miss Sarita Mejia, as having a "pleated underskirt of the general news, pleated overskirt, cut pointed, with front piece of the comic page and side of the magazine section."9 The Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle reported on a girls' newspaper fashion parade in 1922 in which the winner, a seven-year-old named Albersina Schieber, wore a "work of extreme art" that was "carefully cuffled, scalloped and sewed from the colored pages of a comic sheet."10 Often newspaper costumes served as promotional tools, including a dress, ca. 1893, in the collection of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, made of cotton with newspaper advertisements glued on and oversized text on patches appliqu├ęd along the hem reading "SUBSCRIBE FOR THE ECHO," a newspaper from Sugar Grove, Pennsylvania.11 In 1910 a young woman at a benefit fair at the Richmond County fair grounds in Dongan Hills on Staten Island dressed "in a frock made from 'the family newspaper of Staten Island'" and walked around asking attendees to buy one. According to the New York Sun, "a man who spied his picture on the newspaper dress approached her and gently poking the half tone cut that covered a section of her side exclaimed, 'Why, that's me!' "12 Mrs. John F. Deegan, who attended a fancy dress ball in 1927 wearing a dress printed with pages of the Pelham (NY) Sun distributed "miniature copies of The Sun which were prized as souvenirs and were specially printed for the occasion."13 In 1902 another society editor, Minnie Biglin of Wabaunsee County, Kansas, had pages of the Alta Vista Journal, her employer, printed on muslin that she then made into a dress to wear to a costume ball hosted by the paper. She attended the event with her brother, Earl Biglin, who dressed as a printer's devil, a term for a printer's apprentice. Like Martha Lin Manly, Biglin won a prize for her costume, which, along with a photograph of the siblings, is now in the collection of the Kansas State Historical Society.14 Though more modest than Manly's later flapperstyle dress, Biglin's long-sleeve dress with a sailor collar also proclaims her modernity. Literally wearing their work proclaimed their status as working women, and donning garments with dates printed on them illustrated their contemporary interests. Manly, a college-educated woman who advocated for equal pay for women, even placed the society page section heading with her name daringly in the front center, just below the dropped waist; the newspaper's mast head is more modestly arranged across the top of the dress.15 That both women, and others like them, chose to make their costumes of

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