A glimpse into the past – Women’s Budget Magazines, 1913

Women's Budget Magazine

One of the advantages of having a father who is an antiquarian bookbinder and bookseller is that I get to see a lot of really cool old books. (The other advantages mainly revolve around having ample opportunity to make Black Books references.)

A scene from Black Books. Bernard says to Manny, customers! Why didn't you lock the door?
I feel like we share a similar business model.

Dad’s latest gem was a bound volume of Australia Women’s Budget magazines, dated July – December 1913. I can’t find anything about them online, so I would be grateful if someone could enlighten me as to their provenance. They feature a range of columns, such as cooking, home economy, fashions and hair styles, sewing ideas, and of course, lots and lots of ads. The ads surprise me most – some of the topics addressed are so similar to ads featured today that it seems like we’ve had the same concerns for 100 years.

I love reading anything that gives me a glimpse into the past, and these magazines provide a fascinating insight into the lives of Australian women in the early 1900s. I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I did.

Women's Budget Magazine
I AM sick of my corset rusting.
Women's Budget Magazine
The magazines have a lot of lovely and very intricate filet crochet designs.
Women's Budget Magazine
For the sewing lovers!

Here comes the ads! A lot of ads and topics were repeated again and again, probably reflecting the concern women had with these issues at the time. The most featured topics were constipation, drunkenness, personal care such as hair, eczema and pimples, hypnotism (??), and of course WEIGHT. In 1913, women could be too fat or too thin, but luckily, there is a pill to cure you of either malady.

Women's Budget Magazine

Women's Budget Magazine

Women's Budget Magazine
Pretty sure she could strangle someone with that hair.

Women's Budget Magazine

Women's Budget Magazine
I don’t think you’d see an ad for being too thin in 2016!

Women's Budget Magazine

Women's Budget Magazine
There are a lot of ads for soap. I don’t think I’ll try Kugelmann’s, as this woman appears to be possessed by the devil.

Fashion! As lovely as these garments are to look at, I can’t imagine they would be at all practical in Australia in 1913. I find the attempts of early British immigrants to retain their way of life in a completely unsuited climate very amusing. We still insist on having Christmas roasts when it is usually a sweltering summer day.

Women's Budget Magazine

Women's Budget Magazine

Women's Budget Magazine

Women's Budget Magazine

The magazines had a lot of abysmal short stories printed. I wonder what Betty is planning this time….

Women's Budget Magazine

Women's Budget Magazine

Women's Budget Magazine

Author: Siobhan S

20 something, living in country Australia. Spoonie profile: ME/CFS, dysautonomia, anxiety. All about sewing, knitting and food. Unapologetic feminist and disability advocate.

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