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Charles Dana Gibson and "The Gibson Girl"

Charles Dana Gibson and With her hourglass figure, her expertly upswept hair, and her decidedly aristocratic air, she was everything American women in 1900 aspired to be. In the company of men, she clearly held them captive to her obvious charms. "Before her," wrote the New York World, "the American girl was vague, nondescript, inchoate." Who was this icon of genteel femininity? She was a figment of the imagination and product of the pen of illustrator Charles Dana Gibson. Never given a name of her own, she was simply referred to as The Gibson Girl. The Gibson Girl graced the pages of nationally read magazines such as Harper's, Collier's Weekly, and Life. Often she was accompanied by the Gibson Man. Together, these two archetypes of femininity and masculinity instructed a whole generation on matters of dress and attitude. From Ivy League dormitories to rude country cabins, men and woman alike looked to Massachusetts native Charles Dana Gibson's creations for inspiration and illustration on how to conduct themselves as forward-moving, optimistic, witty, and urbane modern Americans.
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