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10 Original Photos and Illustrations of Flappers

Original 1920s flapper illustration

Flappers were rather different in the 1920s than they are portrayed in fancy dress shops and I much prefer the original versions. As Billie Dove shows us on the cover of ‘The Flapper’ magazine (“Not for Old Fogies”) it wasn’t all about shimmying around in beaded dresses, being a ‘bright young thing’ was about bucking the trends, even if that means wearing a football uniform!  The illustrations from this time were beautiful too, and graced the covers of lots of magazines, I particularly love the cover of Life magazine with the butterfly flapper.

Above: “Where there’s smoke there’s fire” by American artist Russell Patterson (1893-1977). Full-length illustration of a fashionably dressed flapper standing with one hand on her hip and a cigarette in the other hand. A stream of smoke from the cigarette forms a curving, twisting, decorative line.

Original 1920s flapper illustration

Saturday Evening Post cover from February 1922 by Ellen Bernard Thompson Pyle of Wilmington, Delaware. Title “Flapper”

Original 1920s flapper illustration

Life Magazine cover “The Flapper” by Frank Xavier Leyendecker, 2 February, 1922

Original 1920s flapper illustration

“Verboten!” Flapper balancing on one leg on foot stool in her apartment; cover of “Pro-German Number” issue of Puck magazine, 1916 Sep 23.

Original 1920s flapper photo

Alice Joyce photographed in 1926

Original 1920s flapper photo

Barbara LaMarr showing some great flapper makeup

Original 1920s flapper photo

Photo of a girl in “flapper” garb. Taken in Moscow, Idaho in 1922.

Original 1920s flapper photo

Cover of magazine “The Flapper” for November 1922. Shows actress Billie Dove in football uniform.

Original 1920s flapper photo

Mlle. Rhea retrieving a hip flask from the garter on her leg


Image source and copyright: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, This media file is in the public domain in the United States. 6, This is a press photograph from the George Grantham Bain collection, which was purchased by the Library of Congress in 1948. According to the library, there are no known restrictions on the use of these photos.

  • Missy

    Love this era, it’s hard to believe just how colorful things were from black and white photos … And a Happy Birthday to Barbara LaMarr, dubbed “The Girl Who Was Too Beautiful” (For her own good!) (1896-1926)

    • http://weheartvintage.co/ Mary, WHV

      You’re right, it’s such a shame the photos are black and white – I would have loved to see how bright and colourful everything was. Perhaps it WAS just like in The Great Gatsby…!

  • Kim

    The Life cover was hung up in the apartment of the American version of “Man About the House” “Three’s Company”.

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