After the advent of Victorian commercially prepared gelatin came colored, flavored boxed gelatin. The Jell-O brand was born in 1899. The new brand’s four-flavor line-up was well-received by housekeepers (wives), and continually promoted by the food manufacturer. Newspaper recipes urged cooks to rely on Jell-O brand gelatin in dessert making.
Don’t miss any one of this 8-part blog series on Victorian America’s Jellies.
The Art of Courtship: Vintage wisdom relayed from the mid-nineteenth century to a newspaperman thirty years later (in 1887) sheds light on choosing a wife, beginning a courtship, different types of girls (shy, coquette [flirt], “vidders” [widows], and old maids, etc.). Victorian attitudes are prevalent, including the general idea that the sick and infirm aren’t suitable to marriage (think of the children!). Everything you wished your great-great grandpa had told you about courting… and more.
An unnamed Dress Reformer, utterly against “tight lacing” (corsets), uses the art of poetry to explain that everything that ills a woman–from her attitude to her nature, from length of life to a red-tipped nose–is all a result of the ill-fated habit of tightly cinched corsets. This vintage newspaper publication is an example of the American Victorian’s use of humor to blame fashion on craziness with a price too steep to pay.
Though women wore their hair (for the most part) very long during the Victorian era, they still “styled” their hair with curls and bangs (false or real), twists, braids, updos of all kinds… Vintage newspaper articles illustrate women’s hair fashions of the late Victorian era.
The term “Mail-Order Bride” is a 20th century development, though current popular fiction suggests it was common as early as the Civil War.
Matrimonial advertisements were published in newspapers far more often than a “catalog” of sorts. In fact more than one Matrimonial-type newspaper started up in the late 19th Century. The Matrimonial News did quite well in London, Germany, and the United States.