Department Store Mannequins, L. Frank Baum, and Automatonophobia, of course

Six things (or more  — but who’s counting) about the history of department store MANNEQUINS that everyone needs to know   1. The Dutch word mannekijn, which meant “little man,” evolved to mannequin in France, where it first referred to an artist’s jointed model. By the 1800s, shops in Paris used full-size mannequins made of wicker or paper mache to display clothing. 2. Around the turn of the 20th century, the first...

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Feminine Hygiene Products — Stephanie’s Mini-History (Part 2)

(Continued from Part 1 — The Bloody Reality)   Have you ever seen a menstrual stain on something a woman was wearing?   Or in the chair she just got out of? I haven’t. Not once. That’s kind of amazing. How do women do it? Because, lets face it: feminine hygiene products are not that great. Leaking can and does occur. I suppose underwear conceals the evidence of most accidents, but I also suspect that women are so deathly...

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Astor Place Vintage Enhanced

I was so happy when my editor told me I’d get to include some photographs in ASTOR PLACE VINTAGE. I immediately began to go through months and months of images I’d accumulated on my computer hard drive from the Library of Congress and other sources. These photos had been a huge source of inspiration throughout the writing of my novel. They’d also been a huge distraction that undoubtedly slowed down my progress. I was...

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Hitching a Ride

Making Shopping Fun The limit of the human race’s stair-climbing tolerance seems to be six floors. The will to buy seems to be unlimited. So it’s only natural the very first elevators and escalators turned up in department stores. My first memory of riding an escalator is in a department store, and I bet that’s the same for many of us. What kid doesn’t worry about getting trapped underneath one of those stairs that...

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