Books of the 1950s: The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet

The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron was first published in 1954, and it’s a truly odd and lovely book. So when I was looking for books that would interest Harriet, the science-loving protagonist of my 1950s coming-of-age romance novella Tomboy, it naturally came to mind. … Read more

Rainbow Snippets: Katharine Hepburn as role model in the 1950s

Decades before it became socially acceptable in the United States for women to wear pants anytime they liked, movie star Katharine Hepburn was doing it on-screen and off. She was also known for playing career women who refused to give up on their ambitions to please the men in their lives. So it’s only natural that Harriet, the narrator of my 1950s coming-of-age romance novella Tomboy, thinks of Hepburn every time a woman bends gender roles. … Read more

Rainbow Snippets: Who got the best dress at Wanamaker’s 1951 back-to-school sale ?

Harriet, the narrator of my coming-of-age romance novella Tomboy, never explicitly states where she grew up in the United States, but she drops some clues. Probably the biggest one is when she mentions her fellow classmates going back-to-school shopping at Wanamaker’s. … Read more

Politics of the 1950s: Revising the Pledge of Allegiance

In the first scene of my 1950s coming-of-age romance novella Tomboy, Harriet Little is at school for her first day of fourth grade. It’s 1951, and they start out the day by saying the Pledge of Allegiance. The pledge recited by school children back then differed from the one Americans use today. It had two fewer words. Do you know what they were? … Read more

Rainbow Snippets: Learning to ‘duck and cover’ from atomic bombs in the 1950s

cover of a nuclear preparedness booklet from 1950

This week’s Rainbow Snippet takes place right at the beginning of Harriet’s school year in 1951, the year the Federal Civil Defense Administration was set up to teach Americans ways to survive atomic attacks. One popular survival tactic was “duck and cover,” which began to be taught widely in schools. … Read more