Friday, March 20, 2015

A Woman's Column from The Railroad Trainman 1890

Below is a copy of the "Women's Department" in an 1890 Railroad Trainman journal. Please note this was a two column article, which will make sense of the order and wording of some of the text below.

In the recent election of School Board in Boston, over six thousand ladies cast ballots.
The veil is said to have originated with the Hebrews, and was made of silk instead of lace.
The color of the Eiffel tower will have its influence in the world of fashion. Its brownish red will be conspicuous in French novelties this season.'

Mes. Ellen M. Giffoed, of New Haven, has given over 1116,000 to institutions and societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals. $30,000 of it was donated to a home for suffering animals in Boston.
We desire to again call attention to the necessity of sending all contributions for the Woman's Department directly to this office. They must reach Galesburg early in the month to appear in the following issue.

Conteirutions of several pages must possess unusual merit to be accepted. Observe that no long articles now appear in the Journal. We prefer those which make less than a page in print, and which never exceed two pages.

The Trainmen's Journal has undertaken to present each month the portrait of a remarkable woman. It is not possible, of course, to always give our readers the likeness and sketch of a woman conspicuous in labor circles. Such an undertaking would not only be impossible, but would confine us to a circle too limited to be thoroughly interesting. The intention is to have the range of subjects such as will give the life and variety that is pleasing.

Advice For American Women.
"I say to American girls who want to marry English dukes and marquises, earls and barons, lords and honorables and sirs, preserve your beauty; wear your veils and broad brimmed hats; keep out of the sun and wind: dread tan and freckles as you would the bite of a rattlesnake; retain your peach-like skins and your fragile figures. English dukes and marquises, earls and barons, lords, and honorables, and sirs, have enough bronze, leather-faced young women to choose from in Engiand without wanting any more from America. Give up tennis, unless beneath a wideawake, and even then just think of your poor hands! A backhander, which skims the net may cause you a thrill of delight, but it adds to the circumference of your wrist every time.
"It is my belief that in their endeavor to be rough and mannish, brawny and brown-skinned, the American girls are overdoing it. It is a fad that will soon fade. It is too hot to last. There is really no stay in it. Unaccustomed to exercise, as exercise and for exercise's sake, these American girls will presently tire of their muscle and brown skins. Muscle and brown skins will then cease to be the fashion, and the pale faces and pink-and-white complexions will 'come in' again. In England, however,there will be no change."—[A London Press Correspondent.

It is fortunate for American women that the writer of the above advice lived to get across the Atlantic. Had anything prevented him studying the tastes of English noblemen American girls might have gone on indefinitely taking a little exercise, venturing out into the open air,and occasionally allowing a stray sunbeam to peep into their windows. It is quite unfortnnate this information didn't come months ago. The young women have been encouraged to ride and row and tramp through the woods, and even to play tennis, never dreaming, poor things, that it is dreadfully coarse and vulgar to increase the strength and circumference of their white wrists. They have even ventured to become florists and cultivate roses in the greenhouse without suspecting that it was foolish to bring the roses of health to their cheeks. And more; they have even dared to be gardeners and actually take right hold of a common hoe and massacre the -weeds in an onion bed. Ugh! The horrid creatures! And all this time they were unconscious of the fact that this was all wrong—that it is not what English nobility wants them to do, at all. This is a truly dreadful state of affairs and must be stopped instanter. The Journal hastens to assure tha London correspondent that the advice is fully appreciated on this side of the pond, and that it will leave nothing undone to hasten the "pink-and-white" millennium. And venturing to speak for the ladies, we further assure him that their only desire is to please Englishmen, and that the ambition of their lives is to lessen the frowns of English disapproval. In fact they don't give any other excuse for being in existence at all.

The correspondent may rest assured that all these awful practices will be promptly stopped. He did the proper thing by springing right into the gap. These relics of barbarism must be stamped out. Tennis must be tabooed. The sidesaddle must go. The hoe must be everlastingly banished. It may be a little unpleasant for the girls to stay out of the open air all the time, but they will have it to do. It may seriously injure their health, but that is a small matter if they can win an English smile. It may kill half of them off. What of it? The survivors will be sure of "pale faces and pink-and-white complexions," and it shall be done. Just let the nobility have a little patience and feminine barbarism over here will get a black eye.

A Woman with a record is Mrs. Emma Bull, of Maple, Maine, now ninety years old. She was one of the first settlers on the Aroostook river, and during the first three months did not see even an Indian woman.

On the opposite page we present the portrait (recently published by Leslies') of a young woman who has performed a remarkable feat. Without employing any unusual mode of conveyance—without chartering any fast special trains or using any other than the ordinary mode of transportation at the command of every traveler, and being subjected to the same delays as the regular tourist, she circumnavigated the globe in seventy-five days — the best record ever made without employing special facilities. In this remarkable trip the courageous young woman traveled entirely alone, and whiled away her time by preparing a description of what she saw and learned, for publication in the Cosmopolitan upon her return.
Miss Bisland is a native of the South, and made her first appearance as a writer by occasional sketches in the New Orleans newspapers. After attracting some attention by literary ability she went to New York city about three years ago and became a contributor to a number of excellent publications. About three months ago the Cosmopolitan made an arrangement whereby her entire time is to be devoted to that rising star in the literary firmament, and her first work written while circumnavigating the globe, will be eagerly awaited by everybody who longs to see the strange sights of foreign countries as pictured by her pen.

1 comment:

  1. So THAT'S why I didn't marry an English nobleman! Those frightful freckles! :-) What an interesting perspective from another time.