Front cover image for Reflecting self-image : "girlhood" interiors, 1875-1910

Reflecting self-image : "girlhood" interiors, 1875-1910

This thesis considers two main categories of spaces: adolescent girls' bedrooms at home and dormitory rooms at school. Through photographic and manuscript sources, enhanced by design books, fiction, and periodicals, the rooms and the objects in them are tools for understanding white, elite adolescent girls and college women coming of age between 1875 and 1910. The adolescent girls' bedroom at home was a transitional and a highly charged space. As girls matured they made the transition from nursery to bedroom. Adolescent girls' active participation in room design explicitly connected maturity with the power to design and to create an independent identity. With a focus on Smith College, college dorm rooms complicated this notion. Public opinions concerning "college girls," personal relationships, financial pressures and personal interests shaped the process of individualizing the suite of standard issue bedroom furniture. Captured in photographs, constellations of objects and ephemera in the dorm room, especially the decoration on the dressing table, reflected various ways in which adolescent girls and college women saw themselves and wanted to be perceived. Carefully arranged dorm rooms offered college women the opportunity to craft a self-image of femininity and independence through interior design
Thesis, Dissertation, English, 2004
ProQuest Information and Learning Company, Ann Arbor, 2004
University of Delaware
Academic Dissertation
1 online resource ( pages) : illustrations
Principal faculty advisor: J. Ritchie Garrison, Department of History
Degree concentration and program. Early American Culture, in the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture
"Copyrighted materials in this document have not been scanned at the request of the author. They are available for consultation in the author's university library; fig 2-8a pg 67-71, fig 12-22 pg 74-78, fig 24 pg 80, fig 30-31 pg 84-85, fig 39-42 pg 89-91"--Unnumbered page inserted by UMI Access to citation, abstract, and download form provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company; downloadable PDF file, ix, 106 p. Access to citation and download form provided by University of Delaware Institutional Repository; downloadable PDF file, 5.409 Mb; [2], ix, 106 p.