The Twenties' Modern Woman

Art Deco Spelter Female Nude Bookends with Green Patina (LEO Design)


The Twentieth Century ushered-in a new conception of "The Modern Woman."  Even before World War One—at which time many men were sent-off to war and women filled their work world vacancies—change was already in the air.  Women were campaigning for the vote.  They were entering the workforce.  And they were mixing with men (socially and professionally) in more ways than they had in the Victorian era.  The Nineteenth Century stereotype of the demure, frail, house-bound woman was being replaced with images of the active, strong and (even) athletic woman.  Charles Dana Gibson's "Gibson Girl" was just such a modern woman.

Come the 1920's, this Modern Woman became even more commonplace; bobbed hair, smoking, and dancing in public defined the Jazz Age flapper.  And it was during the Twenties that America saw a 50% increase in women working outside of the home.  This new woman put on short skirts and left her corsets at home.  In Europe, Coco Chanel defined the comfortable, streamlined look for the active new woman.

The Art Deco bookends shown above, made in the Twenties or Thirties, capture the New Woman of the Twentieth Century.  She wears her hair short; she is slim and athletic; she is confident and self-possessed.  The bookends are made of spelter and are finished with an Art Deco green paint.  Click on the photo above to learn more about them.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (

We also can be found in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, at The Antique Center of Strabane (

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248