In the 1890's, Charles Gibson created the Gibson Girl-- an iconic representation of the American woman. This guide provides access to materials related to the "Gibson Girl” in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.
Chronicling America is a searchable digital collection of historic newspaper pages from 1777-1963 sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.
Included in the website is the Directory of US Newspapers in American Libraries, a searchable index to newspapers published in the United States since 1690, which helps researchers identify what titles exist for a specific place and time, and how to access them.
“By George, I’ve never seen so many pretty girls in my life. I should have come to California to create the Gibson Girl!,” exclaimed American graphic artist Charles Dana Gibson, in the November 23, 1895 San Francisco Examiner. Gibson is know for his creation of “The Gibson Girl,” a popular version of the New Woman of 1900, long-legged and graceful with her expertly upswept hair, a young educated socialite portrayed in terms of personal independence and sexual freedom. Read more about it!
The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.
The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.
1890 - 1910
Artist and illustrator Charles Dana Gibson creates an image of the ideal American Girl, setting the standard of feminine beauty that endured for decades. Gibson’s eponymous female character, the “Gibson Girl,” becomes popularly known throughout the United States as her look was widely emulated. Some of Gibson’s models include Virginia socialites, the Langhorne sisters, and actresses Evelyn Nesbit and Camille Clifford.
November 7, 1895
Charles marries one of his models, Virginia socialite and sister of Nancy Astor, Irene Langhorne.