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A Prisoner of the Boxer Rebellion, 1900

The Galveston Hurricane of 1900

Farm Wife, 1900

The Death of Queen Victoria, 1901

The Assassination of President William McKinley, 1901

The Roosevelts Move Into the White House, 1901

Riding a Rural Free Delivery Route, 1903

First Flight, 1903

The Gibson Girl

Early Adventures With The Automobile

Immigrating to America, 1905

San Francisco Earthquake, 1906

Henry Ford Changes the World, 1908

A Walk with President Roosevelt, 1908

Children At Work, 1908-1912

On Safari, 1909

Birth of the Hollywood Cowboy, 1911

Doomed Expedition to the South Pole, 1912

Sinking of the Titanic, 1912

1st Woman to Fly the English Channel, 1912

The Massacre of the Armenians, 1915

The Bolsheviks Storm the Winter Palace, 1917

The Execution of Tsar Nicholas II, 1918

President Wilson Suffers a Stroke, 1919

Making Movies, 1920

King Tut's Tomb, 1922

Coolidge Becomes President, 1923

Adolf Hitler Attempts a Coup, 1923

Air Conditioning Goes to the Movies, 1925

Prohibition, 1927

Lindbergh Flies the Atlantic, 1927

Babe Ruth Hits His 60th Home Run, 1927

The Wall Street Crash, 1929

The Bonus Army Invades Washington, D.C., 1932

The Reichstag Fire, 1933

Shoot-out with Bonnie and Clyde, 1933

Migrant Mother, 1936

The Bombing of Guernica, 1937

The Rape of Nanking, 1937

Dining with the King and Queen of England, 1938

Images Of War 1918-1971

The Death of President Franklin Roosevelt, 1945

Thoughts Of A President, 1945

Jackie Robinson Breaks Baseball's Color Barrier, 1945

The Assassination of Gandhi, 1948

The Russians Discover a Spy Tunnel in Berlin, 1956

The Hungarian Revolution, 1956

The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, 1963

First Voyage to the Moon, 1968

President Nixon Meets Elvis, 1970

Payoff to the Vice President, 1971

President Nixon Leaves the White House 1974

The Gibson Girl

The Ideal Woman of the Early 1900s

The pen-and-ink drawings of illustrator Charles Gibson came to represent the spirit of the early twentieth century in America. His illustrations, appearing in a number of popular magazines, both influenced and reflected attitudes, behaviors and mores in this country. His drawings attracted instant recognition and admiration by the general public. The "Gibson Girl" became a model for fashion mimicked by women and admired by men, while the adventures of "Mr. Pipp" amused his audience and his satirical drawings provided social commentary. His drawings appeared in such popular magazines as Scribner's, Harpers, Collier's, and The Century. His images permeated popular culture, appearing in such non-print items as wallpaper, china plates, matchboxes and umbrella stands in much the same way that today's popular icons grace T-shirts and sweat shirts.

The "Gibson Girl" is probably the best remembered of the artist's images. With her hair piled atop her head and a waist so tiny as to defy belief, the Gibson Girl represented a serene self-confidence that could surmount any problem. The envy of all who knew her, the Gibson Girl remained aloof of her surroundings but not to the extent of haughtiness. She was at once remote but yet accessible. The "Gibson Man," equally as handsome and self-assured as the Gibson Girl, provided her perfect partner. The Gibson Girl and the Gibson Man in some ways represent the "Barbie and Ken" dolls of the early 1900s as icons of popular Culture.

The coming of the First World War ended the public's romance with Gibson's images. The collective outlook changed from confident optimism to reserved cynicism - an outlook in which Gibson's perspective seemed out of place. His popularity waned but there is no ignoring his influence on popular culture during the first decades of the twentieth century.

"The Gibson Look"
Actress Camille Clifford
Some of Gibson's images: click to enlarge

   Gillon, Edmund V. Jr., The Gibson Girl and Her America (1969).

How To Cite This Article:
"The Gibson Girl" EyeWitness to History, (2001).

When the United States entered World War I, Charles Gibson gathered a group of prominent artists - all volunteers - that produced hundreds of propaganda posters supporting the war effort. Link to: Posters at War
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