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Gibson Girl Gilded Age American Beauty

Updated on March 31, 2014

Haughty 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

Girl's Background

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 Crush

The Costume Party

Darker Side

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.

Preparing for the Ball

Surrounded By Admirers


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