Lydia Oh Lydia, Tell Me Have You Met Lydia?

By mid-summer, 1902, the female members of Washington D.C.’s social set had grown bored with the latest fad; an afternoon teas given in honor of their dogs. The weather was simply too hot for the costume parties which had carried them through the winter and spring. As it was wont to do society came up with a new fad, and the female members of society’s upper crust were visited in their turns by a little Japanese man carrying a wicker basket. He was escorted into the lady ‘s boudoir, and the family butler ordered to inform callers that she was not at home.

The Japanese man got to work, bringing out a handsome embroidered case, in which resided needles of various shapes, sizes and weights. Holding his needle with the air of a Rembrandt, the artist began to rapidly prick the delicate skin, then deftly moving to soak the raw flesh in one of any number of inks he’d brought along.

A few painful hours later, the man finished, and quietly took his leave, and now the society gal had herself 1902’s favorite, permanent, fashion accessory, a tattoo. One woman chose her family’s coat of arms; justly proud because they’d been around since the American Revolution. Another chose an image of a ship, in honor of her fiancée in the navy. This particular belle chose a dragon fly:

And here we have a Fluer-de-lis:

Next time you notice a young lady with a “tramp stamp,” just remember their grandmothers did it first.

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1 Comment

  1. I had no idea! Fascinating and with pictures to show. I like it :-) Thanks as always for the info.

    Reply

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