The Attic: Visions of Women in 1920s Magazine Advertising
The Attic explores advertising images in McClure's Magazine, a popular women's periodical and muckraking magazine. In the 1920s, advertising was coming into its own, buoyed by an incorporated America that produced innumerable products for women and the home as part of an emerging consumer society. These excesses came to a head in the roaring 20s, as these images from McClure's show. At left, Earl Christy's January 1923 cover gives a Gibson-Girl spin on the '20s' woman of fashion. I decided to work on advertising because it is a byproduct of consumerism, which is increasingly becoming the foundation of America. Consumerism has changed everything from the art world to the domestic world. McClure's in particular shows this through these four images I have selected. Products like hosiery and makeup were marketed as essential for the modern woman. The Cream of Wheat ad tells women how to "start the new year right" -- with a bowlful of cream of wheat. The washing machine ad depicts a woman happily washing her clothes in the lastest washing machine. This ad reveals not only the changes in technology from the '20s, but the impact it could have on women's everyday lives. These advertising images, and even the covers of the magazine that housed them, can give us one vision of the 1920s woman.

Advertising Images in McClure's
Hosiery, 1922
Makeup, 1928
Cream of Wheat, 1923
Washing Machine, 1923

At left, John Held, Jr's illustrated February 1928 cover.

In Behalf of Advertising: Introduction: N.W. Ayer & Son explain their vision of advertising in this book of essays. Here are a few sample articles.
The Power of the Printed Page
The Little Woman G.P.A.
A Nation's Shopping List

Books, Articles, Links on the subjects of advertising, women, and 1920s magazines.