The Delineator March 1902

An Art Nouveau Fashion Magazine With Color Illustrations. The March 1902 Delineator Features Antique Embroidery, Millinery, Knitting, Lace Making, Roses, Fairies and More.


This is the March 1902 issue of The Delineator Magazine. This superb Edwardian-era publication is packed with lovely fashion illustrations, craft patterns, household tips & advice, and more! This magazine is “A Journal of Fashion, Culture, and Fine Arts”. It was published monthly by the Butterick Publishing Company/Paris London New York Toronto. The original price was 15 cents a copy or $1.00 for the whole year!I think that one of the coolest things about this magazine is, it shows pictures of many garments that Butterick actually made patterns for. So if you find an outfit you like when you look through the magazine, there is a chance you could find it on ebay (or at a flea market or antique store). I guess in a way it was sort of like the Victorian version of “Butterick Patterns”, only a much better version because it had so much more than just fashion.The numbered pages in this issue run from 364 through 542, and I think my copy of it is complete (except the front cover of mine is in such terrible condition that I did not photograph it). There are also 7 more pages in the front that are not numbered. That’s a LOT of pages, with a lot of fantastic content!

Tidbits from this issue:

There are FOUR color illustrations in this issue as follows:

1) Early Spring Street Styles- shows 2 fashion figures wearing suits & accessories that were trendy in 1902- one has a sophisticated fur stole or wrap. Both are wearing elegant millinery. The figures are drawn with a lovely pale yellow floral art nouveau border and background- the entire illustration is utterly charming.

2) Afternoon Gowns- 2 different ladies dressed in sweet, romantic Edwardian style gowns- lots of lace & dainty feminine touches. One lady is holding a parasol. Both have fancy hats. This illustration also has a floral background/border- an arch of tulips gracefully surrounds the fashion figures. Very art nouveau.

3) Section of Design (Working Size) for Portiere, showing the combination of tinting and embroidery. Described in “Fancy Stitches and Embroideries”. On the reverse of this colorful illustration is a black and white illustration, shown in a reduced scale, that shows the complete design. The subtitle is “Tinting and Embroidery Design For Portiere, described in Fancy Stitches and Embroideries”.

There is an article that goes along with this illustration called “Suggestions For Curtains and Portieres”.

Edwardian Era Hats and Millinery From the March 1902 Delineator Magazine

4) Pretty Hats For Easter- this illustration is simply amazing. It shows 5 ladies wearing their Sunday best. There are lots of artistic little touches that make this illustration very special. For starters, there is a cherub whispering in the ear of the model on the lower left. Her dreamy expression leads one to wonder just what that cherub might be saying! Then there are the flowers and scrollwork that were drawn in so skillfully, creating differentiation between the ladies- yet the illustration looks completely unified. And don’t even get me started on the hats themselves! There is a complete description of each hat in the text of the accompanying article- the hats are made with felt, silk, velvet, tulle, etc. They are then trimmed with violets, pink roses, bows, ostrich feathers, etc. One is a popular sailor hat; another is a toque. It is really neat to read about all these delightful antique hats!

A couple of related articles in this issue:

one is called “Lessons in Modern Millinery”.

Quoting from the article:

“The Accompanying illustrations represent a charming carriage or summer hat in the various stages of progression, from the wire frame to the completely trimmed model”.

Then there is “Early Spring Millinery with pictures showing models in floral hats for Easter Wear”.

Edwardian Era Hats and Millinery From the March 1902 Delineator Magazine Edwardian Era Millinery From the March 1902 Delineator Magazine

Fashion illustrations:

This issue of the Delineator has some of the prettiest fashion illustrations ever.

A partial list:

  • Two attractive bodices
  • Promenade toilettes
  • Smart Tailor Gowns
  • Jaunty Short Jackets
  • Shirt-blouses for Early Spring
  • A Pretty Tea Gown
  • Reception Gowns
  • Gowns For Visiting
  • Calling Toilettes
  • Dressy Toilettes
  • Early Spring Styles For Misses And Children
  • Dainty Frocks
  • Pretty Modes For Young People

I just love looking at pictures of Edwardian era fashions. I think my favorite thing about them is that they are dainty, gorgeous and old-fashioned, without being as heavy and cumbersome as the fashions the Victorian Era were. This was sort of the “last stop” before the art deco & flapper eras and all that went along with them, including all the skimpier, free-er fashions that became popular. The ladies in the Edwardian era were still wearing corsets (there are lots of ads for different corset makers in this issue!) and the clothing, lingerie and accessories were so much more complex than they are now…it’s all very intriguing to study…so romantic!

Antique Edwardian Era Corset Ad From the March 1902 Delineator Fashion Magazine
An Antique Ad For W.B. Erect Form Corsets, From the Back Cover of the March 1902 Delineator Magazine

A fascinating article in this issue called “The Dressmaker”- it discusses “The bouffant effect in coats; embroidery for gowns; etc.”

Some interesting illustrations show embroidery stitches called janina, bird’s-eye, beading, bullion, borders, leaf, and more.

Spring Dress Fabrics-lots of great pictures of fabrics that were popular at the time this magazine was published.

Buttons and Braids as Dress Trimmings- when I first got this magazine I spent one full hour gazing longingly at the buttons shown in this article. They are soooo pretty! Dresden buttons, gunmetal buttons, cut-steel buttons, and more- all very ornate with lots of art nouveau motifs. The braid is pretty too.
Antique Art Nouveau and Edwardian Buttons. Dresden buttons, gunmetal buttons, cut steel buttons, etc
”The Fashions of London””Dress and Gossip of Paris””Fashions For Stout Women”- things were not quite so politically correct at that time I guess. Interestingly enough, the women in the illustrations really don’t look too “stout” if you ask me…and I do think the clothes are very pretty.
“Modern Lace Making”~ Beautiful pictures of a ladies’ lace collar of fancy braid; an appliqué leaf in honiton lace; and a lace rose applique; some descriptive info is given about these items, including some general instructions for the collar…an advanced lacemaker could probably make good use of this, but specific step-by-step instructions are not given for making the featured items.


There is a second lacemaking article in this issue called “Brazilian Point”. This article has much more specific instructions on how to do the featured project; One of the illustrations does show the work in progress, and explains how to work it using a muslin circle as the frame/hoop. However it looks to me like this is not a project for a total beginner. If you have a foundational knowledge of the craft you should really enjoy this! The project shown is an infants’ cap. It is exquisite! Very fancy! The cap is made of circular medallion type motifs that you could actually adapt to any design you wanted to- I think you could use the motif in many other ways as well. My mother had a very old lace shawl that was made from circular wheel type motifs that looked a lot like these. If you like designing your own lace projects it would be interesting to see what else you could make of this motif!

The Art of Knitting~ In this issue are instructions for a knitted circular mat.
The Art of Knitting: An Antique Edwardian Era Knitted Circular Mat From the March 1902 Delineator Magazine

One of the BEST things in this issue is “Dimple-Cheek and the Brownies” by Silas Pratt, with decoration by Orson Lowell. In this charming fairy tale, Dimple Cheek is the heroine- she gets kidnapped by gypsies, rescued by the Brownies, and made into a fairy queen…the illustrations are stunning and very art nouveau! Even better, there is a 2-page song called “The Brownie Gavotte” with music for playing the piano (or other instruments).

”A Colonial House”- discusses houses of the 18th & 19th centuries. I always find it interesting to read these articles- antique insights about antiques, so to speak. There are lots of fantastic photos in this article and even some house plans, although they are drawn very small.”Practical Aids in House Furnishings” has some really beautiful furniture illustrations. There is a wonderful heart-backed chair and a sideboard in Mission style and a sanitary wash-stand. This is the kind of stuff that people really covet to use in furnishing their little Bungalow houses- very Arts & Crafts style.

Antique Mission Style Sideboard, Arts and Crafts Era, From the March 1902 Delineator Magazine.

”Social Observances”- it is fascinating to read old etiquette columns such as this one. Times have really, really changed. One tidbit that I got a giggle out of- “It is bad form to eat candies at a theatre”. Well, shame on you if you’ve ever done that!!! LOL! Many of the other bits of advice are equally fun to read… What a fascinating article, and it is such an intriguing look at cultural history!”Characteristic Dishes” is another article with outstanding graphic design & art nouveau influences. The focus is cooking. Drawings of Mexican Tamales, Kentucky Burgoo, Milwaukee Bock Sausages, Boston Baked Beans, and more. Plus there are a couple more cooking articles with great old-fashioned recipes.Another highlight of this issue is the article called “The Cabinet As A Social Factor”. The best part is the illustration of Mrs. Roosevelt, which is absolutely stunning. She is seated on an elaborate chair, gazing down at a book. She wears a beautiful collar of lace. There is a gorgeous floral border surrounding her photo.Antique Illustration of Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt, From The March 1902 Delineator MagazineThe other photos are intriguing as well. There are photos of Miss Roosevelt, the President’s eldest daughter; Mrs. John Hay, wife of the Secretary of State; Miss Alice Hay, eldest daughter of the Secretary of State;Mrs. Payne Whitney, youngest daughter of the Secretary of State; Mrs. John D. Long, wife of the Secretary of the Navy; Mrs. E. A. Hitchcock, wife of the Secretary of the Interior; Miss Wilson, daughter of the Secretary of Agriculture; Mrs. Leslie M. Shaw, wife of the Secretary of the Treasury; Miss Erma Shaw; Miss Enid Shaw; Mrs. Root, wife of the Secretary of War; Miss Edith Root; Mrs. Henry C. Payne, wife of the new (at the time) Postmaster-General; Miss Louise Van Dyke Jones, niece of Mrs. Payne; and Mrs and Miss Knox, wife and daughter of the Attorney-General.Women in Politics, From the March 1902 Delineator MagazineWomen in Politics, From the March 1902 Delineator MagazineThe page layouts for this entire article are beautifully done, with floral borders and motifs accompanying most of the photos.The article itself is amazing. I had been under the impression that antique women’s magazines tended to avoid the topic of politics, but this is one noteable exception. Of course the focus of the article is more along the lines of social politics, as it discusses the social lives of past presidents and their cabinet members. It is truly fascinating reading!One quote I found interesting from the article:

“The daughters of cabinet members have frequently vied with the older ladies of the circle in popularity and weight of influence. A most notable example was afforded by the famous Kate Chase, whose father, Salmon P. Chase, was at one time Secretary of the Treasury. This beautiful woman was one of the most powerful of the unseen players on the stage of American affairs during the Civil War, and it was largely her influence which kept General McClellan at the head of the Union Army”.

”A Bride By Bequest”- a charming piece of romantic fiction- antique “chick lit”.

”Stories of Authors Loves- The Transformation of George Eliot”.

”Pictorial Photography: Photographing the Landscape”

A Harvest Scene, Photograph by Alfred Stieglitz (the famous photographer who was married to the artist, Georgia O’Keefe; Stieglitz was well known for his portraits of her.)

A Harvest Scene, Photograph by Alfred Stieglitz as it Appeared In the March 1902 Delineator Magazine

”A June Rose, A Pastoral”

”Athletics For Women” – the photos in this article are really something. I had not realized that exercise equipment had such a long history! One photo shows a “Swedish Plinth and Chest Machine Combined”. Even better, the workout clothes- no leotards here! This is great reading!

Athletics For Women, From the March 1902 Issue of the Delineator Magazine

Thigh and Abdominal Exercise, From the March 1902 Delineator MagazineAntique Swedish Plinth and Chest Machine Combined, From the March 1902 Delineator MagazineAntique Medicine Ball, Antique Flying Rings, From the March 1902 Delineator Magazine.

”Stories and Pastimes For Children”- in this section you will learn how to make interesting little toys out of empty thread spools. I frequently see empty old spools offered for sale on ebay, especially the old wooden ones…the ones I have seen never really go for much money…I wonder if it’s because nobody knows what to do with them any more? Anyway if you have old spools lying around, here’s your chance to learn how to make crafts such as a spool Parthenon, a spool memorial arch, spool furniture, etc.

”Among the Newest Books” (Among the oldest books?) If any of the descriptions of the old books in this column catch your eye, you can have a lot of fun searching ebay and antique stores for them.

College News- The Masculine Contingent- has illustration of basketball day at Smith College. Mentions Williams, Amherst College, Northwestern University, the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, and the University of Chicago; discusses social life, fraternities & sororities plus more.

College News: Antique Photograph of Basketball Day at Smith College, March 1902, From the Delineator Magazine.

The advertising in this magazine is truly entertaining. Many of the ads are partial page ads. Lots of corset ads; clothing and catalog ads; Butterick cutlery (scissors etc.); full-page ad for Ivory Soap; partial page ads for 1847 Rogers Bros Spoons, forks, silver plate’ Corticelli Spool Sewing Silk Thread; James Pyle’s Pearline Washing Compound; Gold Dust; Ralston Purina Cereals; Fischer Pianos; Burpee’s Seeds by Mail; Sozodont Tooth Powder; Vose Pianos; Spenser Automatic Sewing Machine; Warren’s Featherbone; many more. The back cover is an ad for “the latest W.B. Erect Form Corset. The inside back cover is an ad for Fairy soap.

Advertisement for Fairy Soap, as it appeared in the March 1902 Issue of the Delineator Magazine.Antique Advertising From the Delineator Magazine March 1902An Antique Corticelli Advertisement Featuring the Famous Corticelli Kitten With a Spool of Silk Thread.Antique Advertisement From 1902 Featuring a Woman With Washing Board Doing Laundry.

This magazine would make be of interest to a vintage clothes hound, a re-enactor, an aspiring costume designer, a needlecrafter, an art historian, a theatre buff, or a fashion designer!

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