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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Halloween Costumes

With Halloween fast approaching, I'm sharing some holiday photos and postcards over the next couple of weeks.

Halloween costumes for adults and children became popular in the early 1900s in North America.
Shown here is an unidentified girl dressed as an "Indian Princess" circa 1905. The photo is credited to Bess Dunn, a county historian and photography enthusiast.

More than likely the girl's dress is homemade. There are three beaded appliques sewn to the front of the skirt. The appliques are reminiscent of detailing seen on women's dresses of this period or slightly before.

The costume is embellished with layers of jewelry. The girl's headpiece appears to be a string of pearls, and her bracelets have heart-shaped charms. The many beaded necklaces consist of shells and unknown materials.

In this circa 1920 photograph (left) is one of the sons of Robert and Frances (Crane) Leatherbee of Lake Forest. Yes, that's a boy with a pageboy haircut, wearing a Native American inspired shirt and pants, and an embroidered pillbox style cap.

The photo was taken at Brae Burn Farm, Lake Forest, more than likely by Dorothy Gleiser, the daughter of the farm manager. The 400-acre gentleman's farm was owned by Robert Leatherbee, an executive of the Crane Company of Chicago. The family lived in a sprawling one-story stucco home, from about 1914-1922 before selling the property to a developer and moving to Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

As represented in these children's costumes, Native American culture was romanticized and appropriated by non-native peoples. Today, awareness of cultural sensitivity has led to discussions about the portrayal of Native Americans and their heritage in Halloween costumes and popular culture.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Indian Princess photo is completely mesmerizing. She needs to be featured on an indie album cover or a movie poster. :)