Kotex Goes to War

Some old women’s magazines from the 1940s turned up when we emptied my grandparents’ house. You would expect the articles and advertisements to address their ideal audience of conscientious housewives, transitioning from the wood stove of her mother’s generation to the modern 1950s kitchen fantasy, with a little wartime effort thrown in.

This advertisement for Kotex  in the Woman’s Home Companion from May 1942 (15 cents) admonishes the reader not to mope about during her period because it’s her duty to cheer up the troops and keep active during war time.  I love that there’s a whole wartime story line in order to persuade the reader that Kotex will spur the reader onto patriotic action during those trying days of the month.

I’d particularly like to know why the soldier and sailor are wearing frilly aprons while the gal inspects the batter their making – the storyline doesn’t cover that detail! Does this serve as a primary source document regarding little known uniform components? Don’t miss the “Intimate Hints for Girls!” at the end of the advertisement.

Kotex Advertisement, Woman’s Home Companion, May 1942.


About Becky Fifield

Becky Fifield is a cultural heritage professional with 25 years experience in institutions large and small. She is currently Head of Collection Management for the Special Collections of the New York Public Library. An advocate for preventive conservation, Ms. Fifield is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation, Chair of the AIC Collection Care Network, and former Chair of Alliance for Response NYC. She is also a scholar of 18th century female unfree labor and dress. There's a bit of pun in the title The Still Room, delineating a quiet space brimming with the ingredients of memory, where consideration, analysis, and wordcraft can take place. Ms. Fifield’s interests include museum practice, dress history, historic preservation, transit, social and women’s history, food, current events, geneaology, roadtrips, and considerations on general sense of place. Becky and her husband, Dr. V, live in the Hudson Valley.

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