Creepy Maid

Odd may not be a strong enough descriptive term for this portrait of Gloria Wilson and her “Kitchen Maid: as titled by Richards Studio in May 1950. Once you get past the facial resemblance it may be of interest to know that Gloria’s unseated companion is made entirely of kitchen/household items- a broom peeking out from under the tablecloth gown, rubber glove hands holding a napkin bouquet and a mop for the hairstyle. The whole composition of the studio shot has a Twilight Zone edge to it and there seems to be just a bit of maniacal anger in Gloria’s calm housewife attire and expression. It looks like she used her own face to personalize the figure and maybe make a very satirical comment about how women’s roles were viewed in mid-century America.

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This site is about the way history, in this case of a city and it's surrounds, is remembered or recorded in stories and small bits of memory. It's also about the way images and stories go together, how they inform and enrich each other and how we as thinking people fill in the content between a narrative and a visual document. So here is my city in time past, the way it looked and the people and events that create its character. For more than 20 years I have taught a 5 credit course on the History of Tacoma at the University of Washington Tacoma. With an average of 30 or 40 students a year, each doing a research paper as their primary focus for the course, I have benefited from many paths of inquiry and many researched and assembled stories. Here are some of them in the retelling along with the treasures of photographs and images in the collections of the Washington State Historical Society, Tacoma Public Library, University of Washington Digital Archives, Washington State Archives at the Office of the Secretary of State, Library of Congress, Washington State University, Alaska State Library, and many other archives, libraries and private collections.

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