Thursday, March 31, 2011

Poster of the Week

Three's company in this poster from Italy, which features the hapless Ashley Wilkes surrounded on each arm by the women who love him. 

Image from

Monday, March 28, 2011

Honeymoon Shopping Spree, Part 2: "Delicate Convent-Made Underwear"

"And the darling little bonnets that were not really bonnets at all, but flat little affairs worn over one eye and laden with fruits and flowers, dancing plumes and fluttering ribbons!  (If only Rhett had not been so silly and burned the false curls she bought to augment her knot of Indian-straight hair that peeked from the rear of these little hats!)  And the delicate convent-made underwear!  How lovely it was and how many sets she had!  Chemises and nightgowns and petticoats of the finest linen trimmed with dainty embroidery and infinitesimal tucks.  And the satin slippers Rhett bought her!  They had heels three inches high and huge glittering paste buckles on them." 
--Gone with the Wind, Chapter XLVIII

Today we're back with the second installment in our Honeymoon Shopping Spree series, where we take a look at some of the fabulous goods Scarlett purchased (or had purchased for her) during her honeymoon in New Orleans. Last week, we explored bonnets and up next is lingerie, an obvious honeymoon staple of time eternal, it seems. So what kinds of delicate underthings would a fashionable 1868 bride like Scarlett have tucked away in her trousseau?

To help answer that question, we've gathered some helpful pointers from articles appearing in 1868-69 editions of Godey's Lady's Book that describe the latest trends in ladies' undergarments. With MM's description as our guide in this matter, it's of course safe bet that Scarlett had the very best of everything, especially if Rhett was actively involved in the selection process as he likely was. To round out our overview, we also found a full-color fashion plate that illustrates the latest French lingerie fashions from 1868. Go ahead and check it all out. 

A bridal trousseau should include at least 18 sets of undergarments.
"As it is often a difficult matter for young ladies to know what articles to get in purchasing a trousseau, perhaps a few hints on the subject would not be objectionable to our readers....In all purchases care should be taken to remember that it is better to have one really good article than two of an inferior quality. In under-clothing a dozen and a half of the principal articles is a fair quantity, and not too much."

What undergarments should include tucks, puffs, and ruffles? Why, all of them!  
"Tucks, puffs, and ruffles, adorn all underclothing, and, since the advent of sewing-machines, the labor of making them is small, beside the endless stitching formerly done by the hands, with such detriment to health and eyesight."
For chemises, use the finest linen and have matching drawers.
"The imported chemise of finest linen is made in the sack shape, with sleeves and skirt in one... The fall should be richly trimmed and made deep enough to reach to the waist. A cluster of tucks above the hem is the only trimming admissible on the skirt. Drawers are buttoned at the sides, and worn narrow and short, reaching just below the knee. They should be trimmed to match the chemise."

Night-dresses are enchanting when adorned with elaborate lace and silk details.
"Night-dresses can be had most elaborately trimmed; we have lately seen some fronts composed almost entirely of one broad piece of Valenciennes lace made on purpose, and stitched in with a band of jaconet muslin. This was of course lined with colored silk, and was very elegant."

Corset covers look lovely with several inches of trimming about the neck.
"Corset covers, or under-bodies, have short darts in front, and are sloped over the hips. The trimming around the neck is two or three inches deep. The sleeves are a single short puff, or else entirely formed of trimming."

Imitation lace? Perish the thought!   
"One word of advice— never purchase imitation lace. The plainest linen collar, and plain hemmed handkerchief are more to be desired than the best imitation lace ones that can be bought."

Petit courrier de dames, 1868.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Rue de la Paix

Occasionally, I'll dabble in making a few GWTW collages myself. So this week, here is a simple little collage I made of Rhett and Scarlett, featuring one of our all-time blog favorite photos (the sideways look-and-kiss shot...awww!) 

Rhett and Scarlett
Rhett and Scarlett by gwtwscrapbook on

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Poster of the Week

With bold colors set against a fiery sky, this French poster offers a dramatic portrayal of Rhett and Scarlett's flight from Atlanta.  

Image from

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Honeymoon Shopping Spree, Part 1: "Darling Little Bonnets"

"And the darling little bonnets that were not really bonnets at all, but flat little affairs worn over one eye and laden with fruits and flowers, dancing plumes and fluttering ribbons!  (If only Rhett had not been so silly and burned the false curls she bought to augment her knot of Indian-straight hair that peeked from the rear of these little hats!)  And the delicate convent-made underwear!  How lovely it was and how many sets she had!  Chemises and nightgowns and petticoats of the finest linen trimmed with dainty embroidery and infinitesimal tucks.  And the satin slippers Rhett bought her!  They had heels three inches high and huge glittering paste buckles on them."
--Gone with the Wind, Chapter XLVIII

As frequent readers of the blog, you are no doubt familiar with two key facts: we have a penchant for series here and I in particular am enthralled by old fashion plates. So it's only natural that today we offer you a new, albeit small, series featuring--you guessed it!--more vintage fashion plates! And while much of our fashion coverage to date has focused on dresses, we're turning the page for a while and giving accessories their turn in the sun. Over the next three weeks, we'll be exploring the fantastic loot, as described in the quote above, that Scarlett amassed on her honeymoon: bonnets, lingerie, and shoes.

Up first is a look at the "darling little bonnets" the new Mrs. Butler procured during her stay in New Orleans. As we've seen time and time again, Margaret Mitchell's description here is uncannily faithful to the historical record.  Although we can't be certain of the exact timing of Rhett and Scarlett's wedding and subsequent honeymoon, we do know that they announced their engagement a week after the Georgia gubernatorial election, held from April 20-24 1868. And by the early summer of 1868, Godey's Lady's Book was bemoaning the present state of bonnets, which were becoming increasingly small and flower-laden:
"How are we to speak of bonnets each time it falls to our lot to describe them? They are smaller than the last; those now worn are the smallest yet seen. If they go on decreasing, soon they will be nothing but illusion strings fastened on the top by a spray of flowers. The latest novelty is a bonnet (we had better say a small headdress) entirely composed of flowers; we saw them of small roses, pansies, field daisies, violets, etc."
--excerpted from Godey's Lady's Book, June 1868
Godey's notes a month later that the trend of the-incredible-shrinking-bonnet had continued on unabated--and also put forth an interesting explanation as to why. As it was rather en vogue at the time for ladies to sport wildly elaborate hairstyles, piled high with masses of curls and jewelry, bonnets needed to be very small to complement such coiffures. Perhaps that's why Rhett consigned Scarlett's false curls to the fire?
"In bonnets there is no change from last month; the only difference consists in the size, which, as the weather grows warmer, seems to become smaller; in fact, so elaborate is the hair-dressing, that we cannot better describe it than in the words of a foreign journal, which gives the following amusing advice on the subject: “One general receipt, somewhat in the style adopted in cookery-books, may be given. Take as much hair as you can, either in the shape of curls, bows, frizzed chignons, or otherwise (as yet, hair of the same color as your own is preferred) arrange it in a confused mass as high on the head as you can, and you can then add as much gold, or silver, or steel ornaments, or diamonds, or, in fact, anything shining, as you can lay your hands on, and you will not be far out of the fashion.” While the dressing of the hair continues so elaborate bonnets must decrease in size, for there is really no place on the head for the bonnet to rest."
--excerpted from Godey's Lady's Book, July 1868
After the jump, we've collected five 1868 fashion plates of bonnets, so you can get a sense of the fanciful creations that Scarlett could have donned. Take a look and let us know what you think. Are there any that you believe Scarlett would have especially liked? 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Rue de la Paix

We've got a very trippy collage this week. Perhaps it's meant to represent the dizzying effect of Rhett's kisses? 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tara, the Seat of Ancient Irish Kings

"The only Latin he knew was the responses of the Mass and the only history the manifold wrongs of Ireland. He knew no poetry save that of Moore and no music except the songs of Ireland that had come down through the years."
--Gone with the Wind, Chapter III 

Irish identity plays such an important role in Gone with the Wind and is present on so many different levels that it was hard to pick just one aspect to write about in honor of St. Patrick's Day. But then, why not go with the obvious? Tara. Ancient seat for the kings of Ireland  and home for one Southern Belle with her Irish up. It is after all an important subject that we have never discussed on the blog so far *cue white elephant in the room jokes here*. So, first we'll discuss Tara in connection with the themes and characters in the novel and then take a look at a historical tidbit about how Mitchell chose this name for the O'Hara plantation. 

Tara stands as a central element in defining the character of Gerald O'Hara, an Irish immigrant attaining a 19th century version of the American Dream. Though fully determined to fit in into the Southern society and be accepted as a Southern gentleman, in his heart (and the eyes of his neighbors) Gerald remains an Irishman. Far away from Ireland, he clings to the symbols and values that constitute Irish identity and that extends to his choice of a name for the plantation he won gambling.

But the name "Tara" shows more than Gerald's inherent patriotism. The Hill of Tara in County Meath (Gerald's home county) was the political and spiritual center of Ireland before the Norman invasion. It was the seat of the Irish kings. Choosing that name for his plantation is a subtle indicator of Gerald's grandiloquence (after all, it would be the equivalent of an American moving to Europe and baptizing their house "The White House") but also of something else. 

You see, the Irish were not that well seen in 19th century America. You will notice how, even in Gone the Wind, every Irish person outside of Scarlett's family is a parvenu or morally questionable (good examples: Bridget Flaherty and Johnnie Gallagher) and  Rhett, and occasionally the narrator too, pair Irishmen with "Yankees, white trash and Carpetbagger parvenus." It is telling of the mentality at the time. Both by class and ethnic origin, Gerald doesn't belong to Southern society. He is, as Rhett observes, "a smart Mick on the make," but he overcompensates by associating himself with the kings of Ireland and the lost glory of the old country. 

And the idea of lost glory is strong in the ballad that Margaret Mitchell hoped her readers would have in mind when reading the book. The author (Thomas Moore) is even referenced in Gone with the Wind as the only poet whose work Gerald O'Hara knew. Here is the story, in MM's words:
"The program is a work of art and I thank you for the 'Gone with the Wind' mention. I was so happy to read on the first page 'The Harp That Once Through Tara's Hall.' I wish it were possible for this timeless and beautiful and once popular poem and song to have a wider circulation. I realize that making a statement like this to a member of the Hibernian Society calls for some explanation and here it is. Until 'Gone with the Wind' was published, I took it for granted that practically everyone who could read or sing knew 'The Harp' and knew of Tara's hill so famous in history as the seat of ancient Irish kings. As I had my character, Gerald O'Hara, come from County Meath, I thought it would be understandable to every reader that he called his Georgia plantation 'Tara' in memory of a famous spot in his old home. But it seems I took too much for granted; for three and a half years letters have come in, and phone calls too, from people who never heard of Tara in song or in history. Most of them did not even know how to pronounce the name! I was appalled that this beautiful song seems to have passed from the knowledge of this present generation." 
--Margaret Mitchell in a letter to Hibernian Society of Savannah dated March 20, 1940 (letter and image from here)
Below are the lyrics for Moore's ballad. Knowing that Margaret Mitchell expected her readers to be familiar with this ballad, doesn't it strike you as a very appropriate connection to a novel about grandeur lost?

                                        The Harp That Once Through Tara's Halls

The harp that once through Tara’s halls
  The soul of music shed,
Now hangs as mute on Tara’s walls
  As if that soul were fled.
So sleeps the pride of former days,       
  So glory’s thrill is o’er,
And hearts, that once beat high for praise,
  Now feel that pulse no more.
No more to chiefs and ladies bright
  The harp of Tara swells:       
The chord alone, that breaks at night,
  Its tale of ruin tells.
Thus Freedom now so seldom wakes,
  The only throb she gives,
Is when some heart indignant breaks,       
  To show that still she lives.

Poster of the Week

What can we say? Between Rhett going shirtless, Scarlett ditching her custom red wrapper for a green one (Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!) and the useful circle in the right corner informing us that this is not suitable viewing material for children, this Australian poster,  date unknown, kind of speaks for itself, doesn't it? And if ever the adult industry decides to attach itself to Gone with the Wind, they don't need to look far for a poster either...

Image from

Sunday, March 13, 2011

More Glister than Gold? Exploring Scarlett O'Hara's Engagement Ring

"The ring Rhett brought back from England was large indeed, so large it embarrassed Scarlett to wear it.  She loved gaudy and expensive jewelry but she had an uneasy feeling that everyone was saying, with perfect truth, that this ring was vulgar.  The central stone was a four-carat diamond and, surrounding it, were a number of emeralds.  It reached to the knuckle of her finger and gave her hand the appearance of being weighted down.  Scarlett had a suspicion that Rhett had gone to great pains to have the ring made up and, for pure meanness, had ordered it made as ostentatious as possible."
--Gone with the Wind, Chapter XLVII

Did you ever wonder about the infamous engagement ring Rhett bought for his beloved? Being sure as we are that this topic did keep you up at night, we thought we'd round up a few period rings that could fit the description and let you be the judges. With a few exceptions, we tried to stay as close to the range 1860-1870 as possible. Word of warning, though:  not all of the rings we found fit the description color-wise (or gemstone-wise, for that matter), so, for the ones who don't, you will just have to use your imagination and picture them in the right color. 

So now it's time for you pick your favorite and let us know about it in the comments! Which number is the winner?

Ring 1
Image from
Date: 1860-1870
Stones: Old mine cut diamonds
Material: 18k gold with black enamel engraving
Carat Size: 2.5 carats total 
(0.75 carat center stone and 8 side stones of 0.15-0.35 carats each) 

Ring 2
Image from
Date: 1876
Place of Origin: Birmingham, England
Stones: Cushion cut diamond and garnets
Material: 18k gold
Carat Size: Approx. 2 carats total
(0.4 carat center diamond surrounded by 8 slightly smaller garnets)

Ring 3
Image from
Date: 1890-1900
Stones: Pear-shaped emerald and old mine cut diamonds
 Material: 14k gold
Carat size: 1.5 carats total
(0.75 carat center emerald and 15 diamonds of 0.5 carats each)

Ring 4
Image from
Date: 1865
Stones: Oval cut Burma ruby and old mine cut diamonds
Materials: 18k gold
Carat size: 4.5 carats total
(2.75 carat center ruby and 13 diamonds totaling 1.75 carats 

Ring 5
Image from
 Date: 1880
Stones: Emerald and diamonds
Material: 18k gold
Carat size: Unknown

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Rue de la Paix

This week's collage brings us a celebration of Gone with the Wind and old-school Hollywood glamour. It's a pairing that's as perfect as, well, Rhett and Scarlett!  

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Poster of the Week

This week, Poland offers up a monochromatic interpretation of Rhett and Scarlett at the Atlanta bazaar. Oh Polska, why must you come up with the gloomiest Gone with the Wind posters ever

Image from

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Quotable Rhett Butler: The Giant Antaeus

Well, friends, long time no see, isn’t it? Come to think of it, I should have probably started this post with “How We Do Run On has the pleasure of featuring yet another guest blogger today, one you might remember from many months ago. Please welcome Bugsie, the girl who doesn’t really know fashion!” In my defense, it was not (only) laziness that kept me away from you and our favorite heroes. Moving to a country that values beer above all other things helped too.

But now that I am back, and now that everyone’s favorite series, Doppelganger Dresses, reached its end, I am afraid you will have to put up with my endless analyses of Mr. Butler’s every word again. For those of you who are not familiar with it, The Quotable Rhett Butler is a series that tries to highlight and explain some of Rhett Butler's lines with a focus on the references (historical, literary or mythological) he uses. You can have a taste of the quotes we covered so far here.

The quote I selected for this week belongs to chapter LVII and was a suggestion from our reader Bella:
"'Yes. Tara will do her good,' he said smiling. 'Sometimes I think she's like the giant Antaeus who became stronger each time he touched Mother Earth.'" 
--Gone with the Wind, Chapter LVII
This comes from Rhett's conversation with Melanie after Scarlett's departure to Tara after the miscarriage. Since Scarlett's leaving for Tara had already been described by Mitchell in  quite similar terms in a previous scene ("As she had once fled Atlanta before an invading army, so she was fleeing it again (...). It seemed that if she could only get back to the stillness and the green cotton fields of home, all her troubles would fall away and she would somehow be able to mold her shattered thoughts into something she could live by."), we could say this is a case of a character making its author's symbols transparent.

Antaeus - the character Rhett compares his wife with - was a mythological giant with a passion for wrestling (and killing) innocent passersby. His secret weapon? A privileged relationship with his mother, Gaia, aka Mother Earth. In other words, he drew his invincible strength from the soil. So when he had the imprudence of challenging Hercules to a wrestling match, all the famous hero had to do was keep him flailing above the soil for enough time to drain him of strength and then it was game over for Antaeus. 

It is easy to see how the reference to this legend functions as a good comparison for Scarlett's character. For, while she loses everything or almost everything on more than one occasion, as long as she still has Tara as a refuge, she can survive. But this also raises a question that I want to pose for discussion today. Antaeus'  dependence on one source of strength proved a disadvantage to him in the end. Similarly, while her relationship with Tara certainly had its advantages (both material and psychological), could Scarlett’s attachment to the plantation also prove a weakness in some ways?  What do you think? Consider the period after the war and the lengths she goes to to keep Tara. Wouldn’t it have been easier and perhaps more profitable for everyone if she let go? 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Rue de la Paix

This week's collage continues our look at bridal splendor on the blog--although in the absence of Rhett-and-Scarlett wedding footage from GWTW (sniff, sniff), we revert to Scarlett's first wedding to Charles Hamilton. But unfortunate unions aside, Scarlett still makes a lovely bride, doesn't she? 

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Slideshow of Bridal Fashions from the Gone with the Wind Era

Although we wrapped up our Doppelganger Dresses series last week, that doesn't mean that we're done covering Victorian fashion here at How We Do Run On! We'll still be bringing you plenty of fashion tidbits from the Gone with the Wind era. Up first is a slideshow of 11 full-color bridal fashion plates, all circa 1867-69, to go along with our earlier look at Scarlett's bridal style for her wedding to Rhett. You see, although that post was chock-full of information about circa-1868 wedding fashions, it had one glaring weakness we needed to correct: the absence of many full-color fashion plates! 

Joking aside, we hope the slideshow below gives you a better insight into the many beautiful dress styles that Scarlett could have worn to become Mrs. Rhett Butler. Check them out and let us know what you think. Which dresses can you see Scarlett wearing?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Poster of the Week

Our favorite couple appear enthralled with each other in this vintage poster, which circulated throughout 1939-40.

Image from
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