Like many people, I am a book lover. It might sound silly, but I think books have personalities and not wanting to go too ‘Toy Story’ but it breaks my heart to see books that are never read, their very purpose in life stolen from them. Equally all the discarded books that line the charity shop shelves have a kind of sadness about them.
Well, this week I rescued one of them. Positioned proudly in the window of the Oxfam book shop was ‘Modern Miss – A book for the Girl in her ‘teens‘ and I had to have it. Not because I am in my teens nor do I have a daughter in hers, but because it was published in 1954 and I just love these books on lifestyle advice that give the modern reader a glimpse of what it was like to be living in a different age. I have a ‘Modern Guide to Marriage Etiquette’ from the ’50s that literally had me weeping with laughter; the firm instruction to pack promenade shoes for my honeymoon lives with me still.
Anyway, I had to share my ‘treasure’ with you. It contains excerpts of novels, plays and poems, advice on how to wear your hair depending on your face shape (and what clothes to wear for your body shape – Trinny and Susannah, you were behind the times!). There are questionnaires, career advice and even a competition, but the closing date was 30th June 1954 so alas, I cannot partake! What makes it all the more adorable for me is that in 1954 my mother was 16 – maybe she even had the book! It gives an insight into how her life was shaped for her and how we have progressed in the last 50 years. Or not. I long for a more mannered society, but that’s a blog post for another time.
I have photographed some of my favourite pages for you to enjoy – click on the first photo and hopefully the pictures will enlarge for you to scroll through….
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