SOAP TRADE CARDS,; "Three Ages of Women: A Complete set of six cards, Child, Young Girl, Young Woman

Boston: Curtis Davis, ca 1880-84. Six chromolithographed cards (3 x 4-1/2 in). All are in very good condition. Five of the cards have letterpress advertising on the verso.
The scarcest of the Gilman cards. Kevin MacDonnell notes: "To produce this set of cards, she drew upon keen knowledge of the symbolic "language of flowers," a familiarity with religious iconography, well-known images from popular culture, emblems of female sexuality, and a knowledge of old master artistry... She blended all of these themes and motifs into a set of six cards consisting of two parallel three card sets. These designs reveal Gilman's dual conceptions of the three ages of woman: one secular, the other religious." Gilman's first published work. Lane, "To Herland and Back," p. 63; Gilman, "The Living", p. 47; MacDonnell, Kevin. "Cards by Charlotte Perkins Gilman" in Trade Card Collections Assoc., Fall, 2001. Rare. Item #59953

After studying at Rhode Island School of Design, in 1880, at the age of twenty, Gilman and her cousin Robert Brown designed trade cards for at least four soap companies to earn money. Her original sketches are preserved among her papers and at least 30 cards have been attributed to her. Some of the images show women working like troopers at their domestic chores. The cards themselves were Gilman's first attempts at earning an independent living.

Price: $1,250.00