- Education and Science»
- History & Archaeology»
- History of the Americas
Gibson Girl Gilded Age American Beauty
Charles Dana Gibson was born in 1867 in Massachusetts to a prominent family. He started drawing from a young age and eventually went to art school in New York City. By 1886, he was selling illustrations to magazines and book publishers. Gibson was fairly successful but it was his 1890 creation of the Gibson Girl that made his famous.
Gibson based his beautiful Gibson Girls on American women, specificially women he saw on the streets of New York. Gibson Girls invariably tall with a trim, corseted waist. They were full figured and wore their long hair in complicated hairdos.
The Turning Tide
At the Ball
Their First Quarrel
Gibson Girls were usually wealthy, confident, independent and more interesting than the typical Gibson Man, an exception to this was men based on the looks of popular writer Richard Harding Davis.
The Gibson Girl was extremely popular for about 20 years, the slimmer, boyish figure of the Flapper Girl came into fashion and Gibson’s creations faded from view. But for a time Gibson Girls were the American standard of beauty and Gibson made a fortune selling illustrations for magazines and newspapers. He made a second fortune with the merchandise offered for sale including souvenirs, ashtrays, and household goods.
The Costume Party
Most of Gibson's images presented his women as being in control and having the upper hand. They breezed through upper class society with bumbling men falling all over here, but some of his illustrations hinted as some problems in the life of a Gibson girl.
Ignored for Woman of Greater Fortune
Forced By Family to Marry
However those images were not common and there were much more illustrations of an American woman that many girls studied and wanted to emulate.