Primary Source Spotlight: Gibson Girls

Picturesque America, anywhere in the mountains

From the Library of Congress:

An acclaimed master of pen-and-ink drawing, Charles Dana Gibson (1867–1944) came of age when the expansion of women’s roles and increasing social mobility were changing America. After training at the Art Students League in New York City and in Europe, Gibson began to create satirical illustrations based on his observations of upper-middle-class life for such mainstream magazines as Life, Collier’s Weekly, Harper’s Weekly, Scribner’s, and Century. In the 1890s he created the “Gibson Girl,” a vibrant, new feminine ideal who was the visual embodiment of what writers of the period described as the “New Woman.” The Gibson Girl pursued higher education, romance, marriage, physical well-being, and individuality with unprecedented independence.

The Gibson Girl’s America: Drawings by Charles Dana Gibson online exhibition

Gibson Girl image set

The Gibson bathing girl sheet music

Topics in Chronicling America – The Gibson Girl select historic newspaper articles

More Gibson Girl historic newspaper coverage