Thursday, 1 May 2014

Hairstyles for women

In an earlier blog post, we explored the 'taxonomy of fashion', which can be used to date photographs. This was based on a blog post by Walter Cook  from The National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga O Aotearoa, which focused on photographs of middle class women from 1850s to 1920s. Apart from clothes, other the 'tricks of the trade' which let you play photo detective, include paying close attention to hairstyles.

Women's hair can be a defining feature, marking their own personal sense of style. Some points in history have celebrated more elaborate 'dos' more so than others. The images below are drawn from 1909/1910 and were taken by Herman John Schmidt (1872-1959), an Auckland photographer based at a studio in the Edson Building, 270 Queen Street. This photographs are from the collections held at the Sir George Grey Special Collections at the Central City Library and you can find out more about Schmidt here.

Walter Scott notes that the piled up hair look came into its own in 1907. Looking through our collections, we certainly have a large number of Schmidt photos which fall into this category. Requiring a lot of pins and ornamentation and all without the aid of a hairdryer, these look very high maintenance styles!

Also popular in the Schmidt photos are very large bows and feathers, ringlets (not just for girls!) and frizzed hair (this was also popular during the 1880s-1890s) and bouffed hair. Long hair, an ever popular hairstyle is generally only seen worn down by children but our photo of Nurse Cooper shows that women did also occasionally 'let their hair down' so to speak!

Auckland Libraries has a two books by Maureen Taylor  in its heritage collections relating to hairstyles, family history and photographs as well as a fascinating book about the tikanga of hair for Māori.

Hair up:
Ref: Herman Schmidt, Miss Murphy (on right), no location, 1909, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 31-55982
Ref: Herman Schmidt, Miss Stitt, no location, 1910, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 31-60862
Ref: Herman Schmidt, Miss Nolan, no location, 1909, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 31-56831
Ref: Herman Schmidt, Miss Russell, no location, 1909, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 31-57524
Big bows:
Ref: Herman Schmidt, Miss Sawyer, no location, 1909, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 31-56921

Ref: Herman Schmidt, Robertson group, no location, 1909, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 31-58304
Feathers:
Ref: Herman Schmidt, Miss F Adams, no location, 1909, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 31-56314
Frizzed or bouffed hair:

Ref: Herman Schmidt, Miss Logan, no location, 1909, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 31-58182
Ref: Herman Schmidt, Miss Morpeth, no location, 1909, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 31-56760
Long hair:
Ref: Herman Schmidt, Nurse Cooper, no location, 1909, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 31-57923
Ref: Herman Schmidt, Missie Beck, no location, 1909, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 31-55621
Ringlets (even for boys - see if you can spot the boy!):

Ref: Herman Schmidt, Missie McLean, no location, 1909, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 31-58165

Ref: Herman Schmidt, Warn children, no location, no date, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 31-56228
Ref: Herman Schmidt, Master Holyday, no location, 1909, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 31-55871
Ref: Herman Schmidt, Mr Frederick in fancy dress, no location, no date, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 31-57252
Ref: Herman Schmidt, Missie Rona William, no location, no date, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 31-57064

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