Which do you think were boy/girl? Boy? Girl? Which were available in pink? Will post answers later this week.
UPDATE. Here are the answers:
21 is the only one listed as a boy's hat; it was available in blue or white.
19 is the only one listed as a girl's hat; it was available in pink or white.
All the rest were described as being for either a boy or a girl. 16 and 20 were offered in white only, 17 in a choice of white or light blue. The mitts (18) came in a set of two pair, one in white and one in blue).
My interpretation is that while pink was definitely a girl color at this point, blue was still considered a neutral option. I am also trying to figure out if the faces are made to look "masculine" or "feminine", but except for 19, it's seems too close to call.
I just acquired a 1962 Fall/Winter Sears catalog from a new friend, and have been enjoying the trip down memory lane.
So many of the play clothes, like those on the left, were neutral -- plain, solid color styles that could be worn by either boys or girls and handed down to younger siblings.
I'd forgotten that pink used to be pretty much a spring color. Fall clothes meant fall colors: more saturated hues, fewer pastels, heavier fabrics.
There were four pages of "school dresses" like these, and not a pink dress among them.
These blanket sleepers came in three colors: blue, yellow and a "nursery print" of pink and blue animals on a white background.
This longish (17 minutes +) interview gives a nice overview of the book, beyond the chapter on pink and blue.
Let the wild rumpus start!
Just in time for our book party at our local brewpub. (See EVENTS tab for details). It has been a long time in the making; I hope it answers all those pesky questions...
Let me be clear: the supposed connection between Nazi Germany pink/blue symbolism does not appear in my book. In fact, although I am frequently asked about it, I have never volunteered the explanation that our pink and blue symbolism comes from the Nazi practice of identifying male homosexuals with pink triangles. It annoys me that this theory pops up in articles based on interviews with me as if I had discussed it, when it didn't even come up in the conversation.
The problems with the Nazi-pink triangle explanation are multiple. It is too simple. The symbolic messages are too mixed.The timing is wrong. Where do I begin?
It is too simple If I am sure about anything after decades of studying fashion, it is that simple connections make great stories, but usually bad explanations. Pink and blue symbolism became popular in the United States over the course of several generations, and varied considerably by region, even after 1940. This made me skeptical that pink triangles in Germany somehow quickly effected change in the US. Furthermore, the pink triangle was not a universal symbol for homosexuality in the German camps. It is most commonly associated with Dachau (other camps had their own systems) and was used for sexual offenders, not just for homosexual men.
The symbolic messages are too mixed. Pink symbolizes male homosexuality. Or femininity. Or communist sympathies. Or romance. Or sexuality (in the olden days, pornographic images that showed female genitals were called "pink shots".) You get the picture.
The timing is wrong. The use of pink badges was more common in the middle and later years of the war, and the general American public knew very little about the realities and details of the concentration camps until later. My research places the "tipping point" for pink being considered a feminine color in most (not all!!) of the U.S. sometime in the 1930s, later rather than earlier. Some articles turn this into "around 1940" in order to connect it with the Nazi pink triangle. tsk tsk.
The other timing issue is that in the 1940s and 1950s, homosexuality was still a taboo subject. The pink triangle did not really emerge in the American symbolic lexicon until the late 1970s at the earliest, and for many straight Americans was unknown until the 1990s. This makes it unlikely that parents and manufacturers associated pink with the Nazi symbolism in the 1940s.
The bottom line, in my opinion, is that the dots between the Nazi pink triangle and pink as a little girls' color are strictly imaginary.
Baby announcements, gift and greeting cards from the UCLA Biomedical Library collection of Baby Books. The shower cards were received before the baby was born. Announcements were often purchased or made in advance, and filled out afterwards. Notice the use of blue for girls and pink for boys in the 1910s and 1920s, and the use of pink and blue in combination for both boys and girls.
A set of greeting cards for a baby girl born in 1960. Notice the use of pink and blue in the cards that were designed for "baby" as opposed to "girl". In 1960, pink and blue were still used together as baby colors (even for boys). I would love to see more vintage baby cards!