Towards the end of the year after nearly ten months blogging I fell into a blogging rut for reasons unknown to me. I felt the passion, and quality, of my blog posts were lacking and decided to re-set and re-start in the New Year whilst I tried to get my blogging inspiration back.
The kitsch red text and bright turquoise background of the cover of Dear, Mrs Bird by A.J. Pearce piqued my interest from my local libraries ‘Recent Reads’ table. * The doubly beautiful end papers of a stylized bird holding an envelope in it’s beak drew me further in to read the first few pages** and instantly I knew that I would love reading this book as it covers several of my favourite historical topics at once; women’s magazines, women’s roles in World War Two and the struggle women faced to get themselves recognized in jobs in the early to mid-twentieth century.
With sadness the world learned about the demise of the world’s oldest travel company; Thomas Cook after a last minute bid to secure the company’s future failed on Sunday. Stories of people trapped abroad and airline staff learning they had lost their jobs whilst in the air have littered the news over the past few days. As an historian the first thing that came to my mind was what is going to happen to the Thomas Cook Archive?
Greta Garbo is often misquoted of saying ‘I want to be alone’ in the 1932 film Grand Hotel whenever she said ‘I want to be let alone’ according to John Gainbridge’s 1955 book entitled Garbo. Garbo’s character utters these words before other character’s leave, and she relishes her ‘aloneness’ when she closes the door to her hotel room. The satisfaction in her face is palatable as she finally relaxes after a hectic ordeal but how realistic is this satisfaction for women who crave, indeed need, as Virginia Woolf describes both a room of one’s own and time to oneself in order to pursue hobbies, self-employment or any other activity that requires time alone?
Today marks the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s historic Apollo 11 mission to the moon. When Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the moon, they were wearing state of the art space suits designed by Playtex. Playtex as in the company that pioneered the use of latex in women’s undergarments including girdles and long-line bras. The spacesuits where designed by Playtex and where stitched by female seamstresses who already worked for the company such as Hazel Fellows, Anna Lee Minner, Lillie Elliott and Ruth Anna Ratledge. There is even a somewhat hilarious video of a man wearing an early version of one of the space suits to test out the limitations of the suit itself.