Bazaars and Fair Ladies: The History of the American Fundraising Fair

Front Cover
Univ. of Tennessee Press, 1998 - 285 pages
Although women's charitable bazaars have contributed millions of dollars to important causes and institutions, they have long been thought of--by both historians and the public--as trivial events. Beverly Gordon corrects this view in Bazaars and Fair Ladies, the first history of women's fundraising fairs in the United States. Tracing their development from the early 1800s to the present day, Gordon show how women's fairs have reflected and influenced American culture, including styles of display and presentation, forms of public entertainment, attitudes about consumption and commodities, and perceptions of other cultures and of the past.

Gordon surveys the fundraising fair phenomenon through its various names and incarnations, including ladies' sales, ladies' fairs, fancy fairs, fetes, festivals, carnivals, boutiques, and church or charity bazaars, and the many causes these events have benefitted, such as abolition, suffrage, and war relief. Drawing on a wide variety of historical documents--newspaper and magazine accounts, souvenir programs, photos, scrapbooks--as well as on fictional representations, interviews with fairgivers, and participant observation, Gordon provides detailed descriptions of fairs characteristic of specific periods, recreating what it felt like to walk into a Civil War sanitary fair or into Boston's "Atlantic City Boardwalk" fair of 1922. Throughout, she analyzes the ways in which the fundraising fair functioned as a vehicle for aesthetic and social meaning, creating rich environments that celebrated communal bonds.

Gordon stresses the role women's bazaars played within the larger fair culture, demonstrating that many of the trends evident in American agricultural and trade fairs and international exhibitions had their origins in women's fundraisers. Highlighting changes in fair themes, aesthetic environments, consumer fashions, and critical responses from the public, Gordon also looks at similarities and differences among participants from varied ethnic and geographic communities. Gracefully written and abundantly illustrated, Gordon's study of this vital American cultural institution sheds light on 175 years of women's creativity, fellowship, and community-building.

The Author: Beverly Gordon is a professor in the Environment, Textiles, and Design Department and serves the folklore and women's studies programs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the author of several books, including Shaker Textile Arts and American Indian Art: The Collecting Experience.
 

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Contents

one The Many Meanings of the Fundraising Fair
1
The Advent of GenderIdentified Fairs in the Industrial Era
7
Their Pleasures and Deep Satisfactions
16
Unidentified Bazaar in Vicinity of Watertown Wisconsin 1890s
18
Sanitary Fair Polka Sheet Music Cover 1864
20
Brittany Theme Fair Lemonade Vendors 1914
25
Lady Winter at Her Booth 1916
26
Suggestions for Fair Booths from The Delineator 1895
27
Women at the Knickerbocker Kitchen Metropolitan Fair 1864
77
Hearth at Knickerbocker Kitchen Metropolitan Fair 1864
78
Main Building Second Northwest Fair 1865
79
Interior View Union Hall Second Northwest Fair 1865
80
The Rarified Atmosphere of the Sanitary Fair Art Gallery
81
34 Burdens Booth Second Northwest Fair 1865
82
35 Matthew Brady Stereograph of Metropolitan Fair Art Gallery 1864
83
37 Artist Album at Brooklyn and Long Island Fair Art Gallery 1864
85

Toy Booth with Hoop Design 1907
28
May and Seeing 1893
29
LampDecorated Candy Booth 1917
30
Menu from Confederate Memorial Bazaar 1893
31
Oriental Water Lemonade Carrier 1919
32
Moral Crusades
35
Handbill Fair for Colored Ladies 1847
41
An Atmosphere of Abundance Pleasure and Romance
42
Crowding at Fairs 1861
45
The MidCentury Proliferation of Fairs and New Kinds
49
Cartoon of Wheedling Women at Fairs 1864
53
Antislavery Pothholder before 1860
56
viii
58
Mary Livermore 1860s
62
Cover Page Spirit of the Fair 1864
63
Lake County Delegation Northwest Fair 1863
64
Northwest Fair Dining Hall 1863
65
Costumed Characters and Theatrical Presentation
72
Layout Metropolitan Fair 1864
74
25 Costumed Participants at Yankee Booth Albany Army Relief Bazaar 1864
75
Apple Paring at the New England Kitchen Brooklyn and Long Island Fair 1864
76
Layout of Floral Hall Northern Ohio Fair 1864
88
39 View of Floral Hall Northern Ohio Fair 1864
89
The Evolution Efficacy and Legacy of the Sanitary Fairs
90
Curiosity Department Mourning Badge Second Northwest Fair 1865
92
Doll Raffled at Second Northwest Fair 1865
98
Fair upon a Doorstep 1863
100
Old Woman and Shoe Booth 1860s no 45 Fish Pincushion ca 1870 na 46 Apple Pincushion ca 1890
114
47 Wheat Penwiper 1870 n5 48 Wheelbarrow Pinholder 1888
115
Anything to Attract
116
The Juvenilization of the Fair and the Role of the Socialite
128
49 Fairy Girl 1919
130
51 Classical Booth 1904
133
Satire Puns and Doll Fairs
134
53 Windmill Booth 1904
136
54 Milwaukee Beauties 1896
137
55 Chrysanthemum 1904
139
57 Maid in the Garden Vignette Handkerchief Booth 1904
140
Celebrities Commercialism and Changing Handmade Gifts
146
Northampton Doll Fair 1893
147
The AntiBazaar Movement and New Fundraising Schemes
152
Copyright

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Page 269 - Goodrich (Frank B.) The Tribute Book. A Record of the Munificence, SelfSacrifice, and Patriotism of the American People during the War for the Union.

About the author (1998)

Beverly Gordon is a professor in the Environment, Textiles, and Design Department and serves the folklore and women's studies programs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the author of several books, including Shaker Textile Arts and American Indian Art: The Collecting Experience.

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