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Cool Things - Newspaper Dress

Minnie Biglin wearing a newspaper dressThis dress and hat are among the more unusual items of apparel from the early 20th century.

In late March 1902, the Alta Vista Journal (Wabaunsee County, Kansas) printed an open invitation to its readers to attend a costume ball on April 1 in the nearby town of Dwight. Such events must have been a popular form of entertainment, as the town had hosted a similar party on Saint Patrick's Day, less than two weeks earlier. The April 1 gathering was billed as "the last masquerade of the season," and the newspaper urged everyone "to mask and come out and have a good time."

Minnie Biglin, who gathered neighborhood news for the Journal, decided to dress for the event as "Miss Newspaper." She persuaded the editor to print several yards of muslin with the front page of the March 28 issue. The resulting costume was the hit of the party and received one of five prizes.

The newspaper dress is in the collections of the Kansas Museum of History.

Also in the collections is a photograph of Miss Biglin wearing the costume, along with her brother Earl dressed as the "printer's devil"--a slang term for the apprentice in a printing office. Click on the image at right to see the complete view of Minnie and Earl together.

Entry: Cool Things - Newspaper Dress

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: November 1997

Date Modified: March 2013

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.