Easter—a century ago

Vintage Scrapbook, Wikimedia image, contributed 1/12/02 by KirNata, source Vintage Scrapbook, Tulane Public Relations (File licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license)

Vintage Scrapbook, Wikimedia image, contributed 1/12/02 by KirNata, source Vintage Scrapbook, Tulane Public Relations (File licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license)

Easter 1915. Ever wonder what things may have ‘looked like’ back then? Thanks to the Library of Congress and the Fulton History website, I’ve been able to gather a few items to share with you today that give a glimpse into that moment in the past.

I love old photos—I enjoy seeing the outfits and faces, and, in this case, checking out all the ladies bonnets floating about the images of Easter parades and throngs of churchgoers. This was the big opportunity for those of means to show off their new spring wardrobes and a chance for bystanders to witness quite a spectacle.  Irving Berlin’s 1948 musical Easter Parade, starring Fred Astaire and Judy Garland and set in the Manhattan of 1912-1913, brings to life the fabulous parades of that era.

Judy Garland as Hannah Brown and Fred Astaire as Don Hewes in the finale of the 1948 musical Easter Parade

Judy Garland as Hannah Brown and Fred Astaire as Don Hewes in the finale of the 1948 musical Easter Parade (Image from Wikipedia)

And what would Easter be without bunnies? Check out the article about the ‘bunny trade’ back then—it was quite a brisk business. American bunnies. Bunnies from Australia. Bunnies from Belgium. The Australian bunnies ruled supreme. And apparently some folks took their bunny purchases very seriously, accommodating their tiny, new little friends in elaborate apartment-like ‘digs’! Thankfully I think (and I hope) a bit more common sense prevails nowadays when it comes to acquiring—or should I say ‘not acquiring’ bunnies at Easter time. Back then, it appears to have been de rigueur.

And, as always, the advertisements are very revealing. Ladies, don’t forget to purchase the ‘hair switches’ you’ll need to enhance the look of your Easter bonnet! And, gents, it may be time to invest in a new $15 balmacaan*!

Anyway, I hope you find something of interest here~ Best wishes to you all for a very Happy Easter!

*Per Merriam-Webster’s: “a loose single-breasted overcoat usually having raglan sleeves and a short turnover collar”

Fifth Avenue Easter Parade (Library of Congress -  LC-DIG-ggbain-09337)

Fifth Avenue Easter Parade (ca 1910 – ca 1915, Library of Congress – LC-DIG-ggbain-09337)

Easter - entering St. Thomas's (ca 1910 - ca 1915 - Library of Congress, LC-DIG-ggbain-11681)

Easter – entering St. Thomas’s (ca 1910 – ca 1915 – Library of Congress, LC-DIG-ggbain-11681)

Easter egg rolling, White House, [Washington, D.C.], 1915 (Library of Congress,  LC-DIG-npcc-27674)

Easter egg rolling, White House, [Washington, D.C.], 1915 (Library of Congress, LC-DIG-npcc-27674)

Easter egg rolling, White House, [Washington, D.C.], 1915 (Library of Congress,  LC-DIG-npcc-27675)

Easter egg rolling, White House, [Washington, D.C.], 1915 (Library of Congress, LC-DIG-npcc-27675)

EASTER. CHILDREN OF RODIER, WHITE HOUSE TELEGRAPH OPERATOR, READY FOR EGG ROLLING, 1915 (Library of Congress,  LC-DIG-hec-06371)

EASTER. CHILDREN OF RODIER, WHITE HOUSE TELEGRAPH OPERATOR, READY FOR EGG ROLLING, 1915 (Library of Congress, LC-DIG-hec-06371)

Easter Bunnies in Great Demand (The Troy Times, 1 April 1915)

Rabbits for Easter souvenirs are unusually large and varied this season. The prices are comparatively high. A little bunny, which would be dear at a quarter of a dollar at any other time, is quickly snapped up for a dollar, sometimes more, just before Easter. As is customary at this time of year, the supply is far behind the demand.

The little fellows are offered for sale in expensive nests in great variety. These vary from simply little baskets just large enough for a single occupant to miniature kennels or houses with every modern convenience. These little homes often contain several apartments, carpeted with cotton or even raw silk. It often costs many dollars, to provide an Easter rabbit with one of these luxurious homes.

The pure white rabbits, as is customary, bring the best prices. They are generally preferred above any other color. The supply of white rabbits is very limited. They are imported especially for the Easter trade from Australia. This particular market is very difficult to supply, since it is necessary for the little bunnies to be not more than a few days old on Easter Sunday They quickly outgrow the size most in demand by the Easter trade.

The young of the native-born American rabbits are a grayish white in color. The color makes all the difference in the world when it comes to selling them at Easter.

The growth of late of the Belgian hare industry has made a large supply of their young available at Easter, but the color is not satisfactory. They are reddish brown in color and slightly larger than the older breeds. It is hoped by the trade that the young of the Belgian hare will eventually come into favor, thus solving the difficult problem of the Easter rabbit supply.

Illustrated is an Easter bunny that came to live with two little boys. These little boys have a game which they invariably play, on Easter morning. “Hunting the eggs” it is called. Their mamma buys candy eggs in beautiful colors, and on the night before Easter when the kiddies are slumbering she makes little nests of hay, using as a foundation old hats; then she fills these nests with the colored candy Easter eggs and secretes them in the most unheard of places. With shouts of glee these youngsters pass the early morning hours of Easter day searching for these nests.

The Troy Times, 1 April 1915

The Troy Times, 1 April 1915

The Troy Times, 1 April 1915

CLICK TO ENLARGE – The Troy Times, 1 April 1915

easter_clothes_1915

Poughkeepsie Daily Eagle, 31 March 1915

The Post-Standard, Syracuse, NY, 3 April 1915

The Post-Standard, Syracuse, NY, 3 April 1915

Poughkeepsie Daily Eagle, 31 March 1915

Poughkeepsie Daily Eagle, 31 March 1915

Categories: 1900s, Advertisements, Easter, Holidays & Festivities | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Easter—a century ago

  1. I enjoyed the photos and description of Easter a hundred years ago. It’s one of my favorite time periods. 🙂

    Like

  2. These things are so fascinating! 🙂 Have a blessed Easter!

    Like

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