Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Brinkley Girls

Nell Brinkley in her studio.

I'm trying to work my fashion-mojo back up [it is hard to feel snazzy when you've been wearing nothing but leggings, T-shirts, and fuzzy socks around the house for weeks on end...], so in the meantime, I thought I would share these amazing images by an artist I recently discovered. Her name is Nell Brinkley, and she created the "Brinkley Girl". The Brinkley Girl came to replace the iconic Gibson Girl in America the early 20th century...

She became an artist for Hearst syndicate in 1907 and her drawings of fashionable, curly-headed beauties became all the rage in New York. She was dubbed the "Queen of Comics" by the media...

According to the Nell Brinkley Archives, "Within a year, she had become a household name. Flo Ziegfeld dressed his dancers as “Brinkley Girls,” in the Ziegfeld Follies in 1908. Three popular songs were written about her. Women, aspiring to the masses of curly hair with which Nell adorned her creations, could buy Nell Brinkley Hair Curlers for ten cents a card. Young girls cut out and saved her drawings, copied them, colored them, and pasted them in scrapbooks..."

The Brinkley Girl was feminine, fun-loving and independent. One of Brinkley's cartoons that was syndicated nationally, The Three Graces, helped establish this character as an icon. The piece, displaying three women singing the praises of suffrage, preparedness and Americanism with regards to love of country, was one of the first to link young, attractive women with the concept of suffrage [Wikipedia].

For more info on Nell, check out:
OSU Archives of Nell Brinkley
The Brinkley Girls by Trina Robbins
American Beauties from Library of Congress/Swann Foundation


StrikeMatch said...

Wow! I love the Ziegfield Follies but I've never heard of Nell. Thanks so much!

Paul Pincus said...

you post the best posts ; ) loved this.

happy you're back!

Anonymous said... women vote!

[Tara] said...

Strike match -- Of course; she was new to me as well. She had such an interesting career and influence.

Paul -- Coming from you, that is extremely flattering! Thanks!

Spring -- LOL! Well, at this time there was still the angry suffragette stereotype.

Aurélie Muller said...

oh i love these drawings! i love i love i love!

michiko said...

oh I love these drawings, so charming!

izzit said...

Thanks - I never saw this anywhere else - though I saw those WW1 proto-flappers on posters and couldn't define them.