Annabelle Whitford Moore Buchan And The Original “Gibson Girl”
The epitome of feminine beauty at the turn of the century was captured in artist Charles Dana Gibson’s skillful drawings of women, that came to be known as “Gibson Girls.”
Annabelle Whitford was 15 years old when she achieved notoriety dancing at the Columbian World Exposition in Chicago in 1893. Annabelle appeared in movies performing her dances under the name Annabelle Moore from 1896 -1902. She went onto a successful stage career hitting the top as a star in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1908 playing one of the “Nell Brinkley Girls.” Brinkley (September 5, 1886 – October 21, 1944) was a female newspaper artist whose creations were very similar to the Gibson Girls. In 1910 Annabelle married Dr. Edward James Buchan and retired from performing.
In her obituary in the New York Times it was said Annabelle “was the symbol of beauty in her day. She was billed as ‘the original Gibson Girl’ because of her striking resemblance to the Charles Dana Gibson portrait.” The illustrations below are from Gibson’s 1902 book The Social Ladder.
I picked a random day 103 years ago to see what was in the news. I read the entire New York Times newspaper for Thursday, January 21, 1909 to come up with the some interesting stories and unusual items. The paper was only 18 pages! The major differences compared to current newspapers: few photographs accompany any story and articles of different types are interspersed on the same page, so the news is not sectioned by category. I have put the article summary in blue and my comments are in black italics.
Crowds flocked to the Auto Show at Madison Square Garden. Lots of famous people showed up including Colonel John Jacob Astor and Mr. & Mrs. George J. Gould. There was a selection in gasoline powered and electric cars on display.
Not many people realize that in the early days of automobile manufacturing gasoline and electric cars were battling for market share. Steam cars were also an option, but were left unmentioned in the article. Before 1909 over 600 companies in the United States had at one time started manufacturing automobiles and half of them had already run out of business. An estimated 200,000 automobiles were in use in the United States according to the Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers. What would our current energy situation be like today had the electric car won the battle for vehicular supremacy over the gasoline powered engine?
An advertisement for Renault showed they led all automobile companies in US imports with 214 in 1907 and 244 in 1908.
The runner-up for sales in each year (by half as much) were in order: Mercedes, Fiat and Panhard?!
The Conference Committee of the Independent Telephone Officers to meet the following week on plans to build a long distance telephone line from Boston to Omaha. The cost: $5,000,000 immediate expenditure and $30,000,000 over the next four years!Continue reading →