Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Feature on Depression-Era Vanity Glassware and a Very Special Gift

A few weeks ago, Boyfriend told me in passing conversation that his mom collects powder jars from the Depression era. Unbelievably, he actually seemed surprised that I was instantly riveted and wanted to hear more about them. The next time he went over to visit at his parents' house, he came home with two wonderful surprises for me: a powder jar from his mom's collection that she wanted me to have (!) and a fascinating book about them with lots of pictures that I have tremendously enjoyed poring over the past few days.

I figured at least a few of you would be as interested in this as I am, so I thought I'd share some of my favorite parts of the book with you. First, though, I want to show you the beautiful powder jar Boyfriend's mom gave me (Thank you, Glenda!). Based on the categorizations in the book, I think this is considered a "Dancing Girl" - the other option that looked similar was the "Southern Belle," but the Southern Belles seem to all be holding bouquets of flowers, and mine is not.

This image is less clear, but more accurately shows the real-life color and appearance of the frosted glass:

After much debate, I decided to use this powder jar - I keep finding myself wanting to refer to it as "her" - for my Guerlain Meteorites finishing powder in the shade Teint Rose. I think the feeling of luxury evoked by the delicate violet scent and colors of these little powder balls honors the elegant nature of the Dancing Girl, and they make a wonderful tinkling sound against the frosted glass when I swirl my powder brush around in them.


I also want to share with you some of my favorite pieces from the book - I scanned about twenty of its pages. I have not watermarked these pictures since, of course, these images do not belong to me. On that note, I first want to credit the book these images are from, Bedroom & Bathroom Glassware of the Depression Years by Margaret & Kenn Whitmyer:

Now, let's begin with the ones similar to my Dancing Girl, called human figurals. These are Colonial Lady figurines. I love how the jade-colored one has its original lavender dusting powder still inside it!

This is "Babs II," which I love for its cobalt color:

Here we have the "Dolly Sisters," two kneeling nude women supporting the powder container on their backs.

Elephants are a common theme in the animal figurals:

But there are other animals too. These are a "Woodsy" owl, a trio of Scottish terriers - isn't the cobalt beautiful? - and the crystal "Mama Quack," which always makes me smile!

How about a blue sedan, or maybe a sailboat?

Now let's take a look at some beautiful vanity boxes:

I love everything in this picture! The cranberry and gold theme in particular, I find very elegant.

Here are a couple of singular vanity boxes I adore.

And now for some vanity sets:

These are the most beautiful perfume bottles I've ever seen, both delicately handpainted:

And finally, several perfume lamps that simply took my breath away. See them in daylight, and then illuminated in darkness:

I hope you have enjoyed looking at some of the highlights from this book as much as I have. As we've all heard, "they really don't make things the way they used to" - it was such a treat for me to experience some of these truly special vanity pieces, and I know I will cherish my Dancing Girl powder jar for a very long time. I hope I can see more of Glenda's collection soon!


  1. What a gorgeous piece! That's so nice of your boyfriend's mom to give it to you. I love vintage glass. My grandma has a few pieces that are just gorgeous, including a little raspberry colored sugar and creamer set. I agree, they don't make things the way they used to! You just don't see glass items like that anymore.

  2. Great post: following you now!!! Want to follow me back??

  3. Wow the Meteorites look really good in the powder jar. I want one for mine now! :D

  4. This was an absolutely splendid post! I'm so glad you took the time to scan in these pics for us to dribble over. The third one from the bottom, you can find ones just like these, and better, in Saudi Arabia. I had several and they weren't pricey.

  5. This is a post I'll be coming back to again and again. Thanks for sharing <3


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