The 1870s were unforgettable. The U.S. Democratic party was assigned
their Donkey symbol while the elephant appeared for the Republicans.
France declared war on Prussia, Britain fought the Zulus, and Jesse James
was at the height of his bank and train robbing career. The U.S. allowed
Blacks to vote and soon after, the U.S. Senate proposed that women should
have the right. P.T. Barnum opened his Greatest Show on Earth in New
York, while out west the shows were real and tragic with the massacre of
173 Blackfoot in Montana by the U.S. army, including 140 women and
children, then a few years later, a return punch at Little Big Horn when
the Sioux wiped out George Custer and his troops. Chicago suffered its
great fire which killed 300 hundred, and the Mary Celeste was found
floating with all on board mysteriously absent. Inventions were at an
all-time high including, the telephone, phonograph, electric lights, the
hearing aid, the gas-powered engine, the electric dental drill, the first
primitive motion picture machine, and lawn tennis. Margarine and Vaseline
were invented, and the first U.S. postcard was issued. The Pope was
proclaimed infallible, Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India, and
milk was sold in glass bottles. In Canada, the RCMP was founded, and the
first recorded hockey game occurred in Montreal.
The first National baseball pennant was won by Philadelphia, the first female telephone operator began work in Boston, the first cable cars rolled out in California, the world's first cat show occurred in the Crystal Palace in London, and the largest gold nugget was found in Australia weighing in at 215 kg (almost 475 pounds).
The fashion world followed suit with its own notorious inventions. The full skirt was shifted to the rear where overskirts were anchored and supported by the never-before-seen bustle. The woman had become a walking wedding cake, a symbol of success and elegance. The fashion did not live long, though it would make a second appearance in the next decade. Women had different fashions for different occasions and locations, such as leisure dress which one wore at the seaside. It was more daring, and brighter, and even incorporated the bustle.
Hair was pulled back at the sides, giving the ears full revelation. The styles appeared shorter, but remaining hair was shifted to the top in knots, ringlets, and assisted commonly with additions of false hair. A fringe of bangs was still present at times. The hairdos were elaborate. Much of what was happening around the fashion world occurred first in the courts of Europe and England. The elegant widow, Queen Victoria, was a worldwide symbol of all that was fashionable and moral. Hair styles of the cultured socialite were high and crowned with lace, ribbons, and flowers. The Wild West woman still wanted to appear feminine, but her hair was long and often received little more than curling, otherwise it cascaded over her shoulders and down her back. A woman's version of the modern-day mullet appeared, with a long tail down the back, and high top with the sides pulled back. The influence of the actress became greater as the decade advanced, though it was still considered an undesirable profession for the average woman.
actress Maud Granger
actress Agnes Booth
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