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The 1910s Fads & Fun


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1910s Fads & Fun


Rose O'Neill created the Kewpie in 1909. These exceedingly cute little creatures first appeared in magazine drawings and poems. The name "kewpie" comes from the word "cupid."

The first Kewpie books were published in 1910. Before too long there were Kewpie Kutouts (paper dolls), Whiting's Kewpie Papers (note paper for children), Kewpie comic strips, Kewpie postcards and every other type of collectible imaginable. The Kewpie Doll was introduced in 1913.

All About Kewpies
Kewpie Postcards

Playing marbles, 1915


dances & balls

Dances were extremely popular during the 1910s. During the cold winter months, hardly a weekend went by that didn't include a dance sponsored by a fraternal organization or local pleasure club. In the summer you could usually find a dance every night of the week, especially if there were summer resorts nearby.

For the well-to-do, the social season included plenty of elegant balls. Wealthy people enjoyed holding balls in their homes. Charity, holiday and debutante balls were held in the finest hotel in town.

Ladies wore beautiful gowns and above-the-elbow white gloves. Their hairstyles consisted of upswept creations held in place with ribbons, beads, headbands and feathers. Spectators gathered outside to watch the guests arrive, hoping to catch a glimpse of the beautiful fashions, carriages and automobiles.

Ladies carried dance cards listing the dances that would be played that evening, followed by blank lines. Men reserved dances with the ladies by writing their names on the blank lines.

In the 1910s, this type of glamorous social function was approaching the end of its popularity. In the 1920s, it would be replaced by informal dances and nightclubs.


dinners, socials & card parties

People loved to get together for dinner parties, birthday parties and anniversaries. Tea parties and oyster suppers were great fun for everyone. In addition to this, most clubs found excuses to hold socials on a regular basis.

Almost every gathering included card games and prizes. This made the card party the most popular type of social in the 1910s.

pleasant diversions
piano sing-alongs
games & brain teasers
card games
recitations & vocal solos
orchestra music for dancing
selections from the gramophone
a box social fundraiser

for the upper classes
a nine-course meal
expensive party favors

*A box social or basket social was a great way to raise money for a worthy cause. Each young lady prepared a tasty lunch, which was packed in a pretty basket and put up for auction. In addition to winning the lunch, the gentleman with the highest bid also won the company of the lady who prepared it. Her identity was supposed to be a secret until the bidding was over, but usually the bidder received "advance information" from his sweetheart.

*In a frappe, flavorings are poured over ice cream, sherbet or cracked ice. Sometimes the ingredients are blended into a cool, refreshing slushy mix. Common flavorings include fruit juices, soda, wines and liqueurs.

*All manner of frozen desserts fell into the category of ices....custards, sorbets, mousses, cream ices and flavored ice water.

----- The best socials had decorations, refreshments and games united by a theme. Here are some theme socials that were held in my town:

Colonial Party: to celebrate George Washington's birthday. Red, white and blue streamers, candlelight, New England dishes, placecards in the shape of small hatchets decorated with cherries.

Dutch Luncheon: red and blue streamers, brightly-colored paper flowers, wooden shoes, stenciled Dutch figures, Dutch foods, hostess and helpers dressed like the "Dutch cleanser" girl.

Jitney Social: a jitney was a cross between a taxicab and a shuttle bus. Guests played auto games, matched autos to determine lunch partners, ate lunch on the lawn and took the jitney back home.

Hobo Convention: also known as a "hard times party," the guests dressed as tramps and the games and decorations had a "tramp" theme.

delicious treats
a dainty supper
frappe & wafers
cool, refreshing ices

Click here to see more socials and parties!