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

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

The history of Tomboy: Dress codes in the 1950s

One of the main characters in my 1950s coming-of-age romance novella Tomboy, Jackie, goes against convention by wearing pants whenever she can get away with it—and for a lot of her childhood, she can’t get away with it. During that period in the United States, school dress codes crimped the style of their students, but especially of girls. … Read more