Monday, October 3, 2011

Boston RBS Chapter Learns about Grace and Glamour in 1930s Fashion

On Sunday, October 2, 2011, the Boston "We've Come for the Davenport" Chapter of the Robert Benchley Society enjoyed a "Round-up" in Lowell, Mass., to hear "Hollywood & Fashion: The Golden Age," a lecture by Patricia Warner, Professor Emeritus, UMass Amherst, at the American Textile History Museum. According to Professor Warner,
"In 1932, despite the Depression, some 60 million Americans—more than half the total population—went to the movies every single week. Most of them were women. The producers catered to them, giving them glamour and romance, but more importantly, wonderful cloths, makeup, and hairstyles to copy cheaply at home."
Professor Warner explained why clothes in the movies mattered. Society members arrived in period or period-inspired costumes.

After the lecture the group, consisting of Sharon Clark of Framingham, Mass., Jimmy and Eileen Keck of Providence, R.I., Jean Wilson of Charlestown, Mass., and David and Mary Trumbull of Beacon Hill, Boston, viewed the special exhibit "Grace and Glamour: 1930s Fashions" in the
Stevens Gallery of the American Textile History Museum.
"In the 1930s, graceful cuts and glamorous fabrics replaced the boxy, boyish styles of the previous decade. In the face of economic hardship, people embraced the streamlined shape, elegant styles and newly invented fibers of a hopeful modernism. This exhibit, open through October 16th, shows dresses and accessories typical of this extraordinary decade."

"Great exhibit for glamour pusses like us!" said Mary DiZazzo-Trumbull, a sentiment echoed by Eileen Keck who said, "It was lovely. We will certainly stop back and have a longer visit." Referring to the the group's after-museum-visiting cocktails and dinner at Cobblestones of Lowell, Eileen added, "And dinner & cocktails were wonderful. Good choice, Mary."

The Robert Benchley Society was founded in 2003 as a forum for appreciation and discussion of the work and life of twentieth-century American humorist Robert Benchley. The Boston chapter, "We've Come for the Davenport" is the oldest of the six local chapters located in American cities in on the East Coast, West Coast, and Great Lakes area and takes its name from an incident in Mr. Benchley's life that took place in Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood. There are also at-large members of the Society throughout the United States and other nations.

Upcoming Robert Benchley Society events include a Round-up of the Washington, D.C. "Lost Locomotive" Chapter this week. Next month the Robert Benchley Society will hold it's Eighth International Annual Gathering "A Capitol Idea" in Washington, D.C., November 11-13. This event will include the Annual Robert Benchley Society Humor Awards Ceremony and Dinner. This year's humor awards judge is pianist and humorist, Mark Russell.

Mr. Benchley, in the 1920s and '30s, wrote several essays that touch on the topic of wearing apparel, among them:
  • The Benchley-Whittier Correspondence
  • Ding-Dong, School Bells,
  • Dress Complexes,
  • The Four-in-Hand Outrage,
  • “I am in the Book”,
  • The Last Day,
  • My White Suit,
  • Old Suits For New,
  • Plans for Eclipse Day,
  • Summer Shirtings, and
  • What to Loll In.
as well as in his 1940 motion picture "That Inferior Feeling."

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Robert Benchley Society

For more information about the Robert Benchley Society, local chapters near you, our annual Award for Humor, and our Annual Gathering, visit The RBS Website