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Gibson Girl: Topics in Chronicling America

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.

Introduction

"The American girl's evolution in beauty. Charles Dana Gibson modifying his types of our refined young womanhood." October 25, 1903. The St. Louis Republic (St. Louis, MO), Image 51. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

“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.

Timeline

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.