Women and Their Hairstyles

Hair has been called a woman's "crowning glory" - it's certainly been a mode of expression over the centuries. See more...


In the 1800's, brushing your hair 100 times a day was a popular way to beautify it - but hair was usually washed only once a month. And shampoo wasn't invented until the end of the 1800's. For women, hair was usually long but often worn up - with wigs or small hairpieces added. Perhaps hairstyles could be more intricate because unwashed hair could hold a style easier? Buns, chignons, and drop curls were common and combs, ribbons, head bands, and diadems - as well as flowers - often adorned these hairstyles. Perhaps there wasn't a lot of effort in maintaining your hair but the hairstyles themselves demanded both time and attention.

By the beginning of the 20th century, hair was changing - almost decade by decade. At the turn of the century, both long and short hair became popular, with part of the hair pinned up and the rest flowing down with curls. In the 1910s, curls, big bows, pins, headbands, and hats were especially popular. In the 1920's, short bobbed hair became the fashion - spit curls, finger waving and marcelling were all the rage. In the 1930's, wavy shoulder length hair was considered sexy - and platinum hair became the color of the day. In the 1940's, "victory rolls" (think World War II for the terminology) and barrel curls in longer hair were popularized by movie stars. And in the 1950's, very short hair became popular - as shown by the petal coif and the pixie hairstyle (think Audrey Hepburn).

By the 1960s, hair fashion was all over the map. Bouffants, beehives and teased hair were extreme but were also "street" fashion. At the other end of the spectrum, the model Twiggy wore very short, almost boyish hair - as did actress Mia Farrow. In the 1970s, it was if women were tired of fussing with their hair and the "natural look" became the norm. Long, stick straight hair (sometimes ironed) or long, messy waves were all the rage and headbands were the most popular hair accessory. Then came the 1980s - big, often frizzy, usually curly . . . lots of hairspray and some teasing. What a look.

By the 1990's, it was less about style or accessories and more about "natural". Curly, straight, long, shoulder-length, short - whatever the style, it was based on what your hair did naturally and what you personally felt was a "good" look.

These pictures are of women being stylish while trying to do what they could with their natural (or enhanced) hair. Some styles may inspire you - and some may make you happy that you don't have to follow a fashion trend today.

A photo of Margaret Augusta "Gussie" (Sowle) Groesbeck
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Jun 15, 1849 - Unknown 1849 - ?
Added Jul 22, 2015 by: William Fox
William Fox
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A photo of Mary Brian, actress. From Wikipedia: Mary Brian (February 17, 1906 – December 30, 2002) was an American actress and movie star who made the transition from silent films to sound films. She was born Louise Byrdie Dantzler in Corsicana, Texas, the daughter of Taurrence J. Dantzler (December 1869 – March 18, 1906) and Louise B. (August 12, 1876 – April 3, 1973). Her brother was Taurrence J. Dantzler, Jr. (August 9, 1903 – April 6, 1973). Her father died when she was one month old and the family later moved to Dallas. In the early 1920s, they moved to Long Beach, California. She had intended becoming an illustrator but that was laid aside when at age 16 she was discovered in a local bathing beauty contest. One of the judges was famous motion picture star Esther Ralston (who was to play her mother in the upcoming Peter Pan and who became a lifelong friend). She didn't win the $25 prize in the contest but Ralston said, "you've got to give the little girl something." So, her prize was to be interviewed by director Herbert Brenon for a role in Peter Pan. Brenon was recovering from eye surgery, and she spoke with him in a dimly lit room. "He asked me a few questions, Is that your hair? Out of the blue, he said, I would like to make a test. Even to this day, I will never know why I was that lucky. They had made tests of every ingénue in the business for Wendy. He had decided he would go with an unknown. It would seem more like a fairy tale. It wouldn't seem right if the roles were to be taken by someone they (the audience) knew or was divorced. I got the part. They put me under contract." The studio renamed her Mary Brian. After her showing in the beauty contest, she was given an audition by Paramount Pictures and cast by director Herbert Brenon as Wendy Darling in his silent movie version of J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan (1924). There she starred with Betty Bronson and Esther Ralston, and the three of them stayed close for the rest of their lives. Ralston described both Bronson and Brian as 'very charming people'. The studio, who created her stage name for the movie and said she was age 16 instead of 18, because the latter sounded too old for the role, then signed her to a long-term motion picture contract. Brian played Fancy Vanhern, daughter of Percy Marmont, in Brenon's The Street of Forgotten Men (1925), which had newcomer Louise Brooks in an uncredited debut role as a moll. Career rise Brian was dubbed "The Sweetest Girl in Pictures." On loan-out to MGM, she played a college belle, Mary Abbott, opposite William Haines and Jack Pickford in Brown of Harvard (1926). She was named one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars in 1926, along with Mary Astor, Dolores Costello, Joan Crawford, Dolores del Río, Janet Gaynor, and Fay Wray. During her years at Paramount, Brian appeared in more than 40 movies as the juvenile lead, the ingenue or co-star. She worked with Brenon again in 1926 when she played Isabel in P. C. Wren's Beau Geste starring Ronald Colman. That same year she made Behind the Front and Harold Teen. In 1928, she played ingenue Alice Deane in Forgotten Faces opposite Clive Brook, her sacrificing father, with Olga Baclanova as her vixen mother and William Powell as Froggy. Like many of Brian's Paramount movies, Forgotten Faces, which was a big box-office hit, is presumed lost. Successful transition to 'Talkies' Mary Brian with Gary Cooper in The Virginian (1929) Mary Brian with James Hall in Manhattan Tower (1932) Her first talkie was Varsity (1928), which was filmed with part-sound and talking sequences, opposite Buddy Rogers. After successfully making the transition to sound, she co-starred with Gary Cooper, Walter Huston and Richard Arlen in one of the earliest Western talkies, The Virginian (1929), her first all-talkie feature. In it, she played a spirited frontier heroine, schoolmarm Molly Stark Wood, who was the love interest of the Virginian (Cooper). Brian co-starred in several hits during the 1930s, including her role as Gwen Cavendish in George Cukor’s comedy The Royal Family of Broadway (1930) with Ina Claire and Fredric March, as herself in Paramount's all-star revue Paramount on Parade (1930), as Peggy Grant in Lewis Milestone’s comedy The Front Page (1931) with Adolphe Menjou and Pat O'Brien. After her contract with Paramount ended in 1932, Brian freelanced. That same year, she appeared on the vaudeville stage at New York's Palace Theatre. Also in the same year,she starred in Manhattan Tower. Other movie roles include Murial Ross, aka Murial Rossi, in Shadows of Sing Sing (1933), in which she received top billing, Gloria Van Dayham in College Rhythm (1934), Yvette Lamartine in Charlie Chan in Paris (1935), Hope Wolfinger, W. C. Fields’s daughter, in Man on the Flying Trapeze (1935), Sally Barnaby in Spendthrift (1936) opposite Henry Fonda, and Doris in Navy Blues (1937), in which she received top billing. In 1936, she went to England and made three movies, including The Amazing Quest of Ernest Bliss in which she starred opposite Cary Grant, to whom she became engaged at one stage. Her final film of the 1930s was Affairs of Cappy Ricks although she auditioned unsuccessfully for the part that would go to Janet Gaynor in A Star is Born.[2] Later career Mary Brian with Ann Baker in Meet Corliss Archer Brian was absent from the screen from 1937 to 1943, and appeared in only a handful of films thereafter. Her last performance on the silver screen was in Dragnet (1947), a B-movie in which she played Anne Hogan opposite Henry Wilcoxon. Over the course of 22 years, Brian had appeared in more than 79 movies. She played in the stage comedy Mary Had a Little... in the 1951 in Melbourne, Australia, co-starring with John Hubbard. During World War II, she entertained servicemen in the South Pacific and in Europe. She spent Christmas of 1944 with the soldiers fighting the Battle of the Bulge. During the 1950s, Brian had something of a career in television, most notably playing the title character's mother in Meet Corliss Archer (1954). She also dedicated a lot of time to portrait painting in her retirement years. Though she was engaged numerous times and was linked romantically to numerous Hollywood men, including Cary Grant and notorious womaniser Jack Pickford, Brian had only two husbands: magazine illustrator Jon Whitcomb (for six weeks, beginning May 4, 1941) and film editor George Tomasini (from 1947 until his death in 1964). After retiring from the screen for good, she devoted herself to her husband's career; Tomasini worked as film editor for Hitchcock on the classics Rear Window (1954) and Psycho (1960).[3] She died of heart failure at age 96 in Del Mar, California. She is interred in the Eternal Love Section, Lot 4134, Space 2, Forest Lawn – Hollywood Hills Cemetery, Los Angeles, overlooking Burbank. Mary Brian has a star for her contribution to motion pictures on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1559 Vine Street in Hollywood.
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Feb 17, 1906 - Dec 30, 2002 1906 - 2002
Added May 16, 2015 by: Sharon Hillis
Sharon Hillis
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A photo of Freeland Wurtz's wife Marion (Born) Wurtz
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1912 - 1981 1912 - 1981
Added Jan 6, 2015 by: Deb Kerr
Deb Kerr
22 favorites
A photo of Roxie Faye (Smith) Miler taken around 1910 - 1911
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Unknown - Unknown ? - ?
Added Nov 8, 2014 by: Cynthia Long
Cynthia Long
275 favorites
A photo of Edith Linda Grizzle, High School graduation photo in 1944.
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Unknown - Unknown ? - ?
Added Nov 5, 2014 by: Greg Carroll
Greg Carroll
13 favorites
This is Mary Elinor Lucas (1912-2004) at Boise High. Her Father was Parker Vincent Lucas and her sister Elizabeth Harriett Lucas. This is Elinor (she went by 'Elinor') at Boise High 1928.
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1912 - 2004 1912 - 2004
Added Sep 6, 2014 by: Larry Jordan
Larry Jordan
69 favorites
A photo of Mary Ann (Maime) Mellinger, born 1863
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1863 - Unknown 1863 - ?
Added Apr 11, 2014 by: Joyce Smith
Joyce Smith
244 favorites
A photo of Ibbie Batson, a member of the Miller / Bramlett family
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Unknown - Unknown ? - ?
Added Dec 16, 2013 by: Debby Miller
Debby Miller
142 favorites
Marjorie Bland, Abilene High School, Abilene, Taylor, Texas, USA. 1928
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Unknown - Unknown ? - ?
Added Jan 28, 2013 by: Jennifer Rudd
Jennifer Rudd
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Arlene Wagstaff, Athens Ohio, USA. 1946
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Unknown - Unknown ? - ?
Added Jan 10, 2013 by: Jennifer Rudd
Jennifer Rudd
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Maybird Heeth, Lakeland Florida, USA. 1944
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Unknown - Unknown ? - ?
Added Nov 29, 2012 by: Jennifer Rudd
Jennifer Rudd
1.34k+ favorites
A photo of Floyd H Brinkman
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Dec 28, 1925 - January 1990 1925 - 1990
A photo of my mother's older sister, Aunt Rose Finkel, as a flapper, in the 1920's, NYC. I colorized this photo in Photoshop.
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Unknown - Unknown ? - ?
A photo of Catherine Matheson with Marion, Martha, and Doris. This is a studio photo of my ancestor Catherine Matheson (born 1874) and her friends, possibly all teachers in New York, taken in the 1890s or 1900s. I have drawn a blank with Catherine for a good few years and hope that the other young ladies in the photo will have some descendants who will recognise them? The names were written on the back but unfortunately there are no Studio/Photographer names to aid further identification. Thanks for looking.
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1874 - Unknown 1874 - ?
A photo of Martha A. Fowler (nee Richards). This was taken before her marriage in 1879. She had red hair and I even have a lock of it!
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Unknown - Unknown ? - ?
Added Mar 7, 2002 by: Pam Koehler
Pam Koehler
3 favorites
Mary Elisabeth Brooks, b. 3/6/1851 Fisherville, TN. m. Andrew Jackson Fletcher "AJ" (d. 12/30/1881). She d. 9/1/1920, Memphis. Parents: James M. Brooks (1818-1876) b. NC and Mary Ann Kingston (Nov 1824), b. England. Issue: Kingston, Mattie Daisy, Maggie, Patrick, Andrew Jay.
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Mar 6, 1851 - Sep 1, 1920 1851 - 1920
A photo of Anna Louise Heidke at age 20 in 1928.
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Jan 31, 1908 - Apr 29, 1933 1908 - 1933
Added Jan 1, 2001 by: Harold Long
Harold Long
579 favorites
A photo of Rita Hayworth campaigning for the recycling of scrap metal in World War Two. A large part of the home front war effort in World War Two was saving scrap metal that could be recycled into weapons for the war (also used for ships and aircraft). The caption on this photo from the National Archives says that Rita Hayworth "sacrificed her bumpers for the duration" (of the war). Rita Hayworth was a big movie star at the time and she also helped sell war bonds - her two younger brothers were both in the War. Most of Hollywood was involved in the war effort, either through promoting home front campaigns such as Victory Gardens, buying war bonds, rationing, or collecting scrap metal, or by service in the War overseas. Margarita Carmen Cansino was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1918. She changed her name to Rita Hayworth for the stage and eventually was named one of the top 25 female motion picture stars of all time. Married and divorced 5 times (once to Orson Wells), her life was plagued with alcoholism. Later in life, she was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's and died at the age of 68 in 1987.
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Oct 17, 1918 - May 14, 1987 1918 - 1987
Added Jan 31, 2012 by: Kathy Pinna
Kathy Pinna
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A photo of Frances Veronical Aldridge Jacks
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Feb 23, 1883 - Sep 2, 1958 1883 - 1958
Added Jan 11, 2017 by: Ward Hartmann
Ward Hartmann
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Toby Wing (1915-2001) - American Actress was born as "Martha Virginia Wing" on 14 July 1915 in Amelia Courthouse, Virginia. Her parents were photographer, Paul Reuben Wing (1892-1957) and equestrian, Martha Gillis Thraves (1893-1981). Toby's film career began aged nine, when her father was working as an assistant director for Paramount Pictures and her mother was employed as a Hollywood stunt rider. After about ten uncredited juvenile roles Toby became one of the first "Goldwyn Girls" in "Palmy Days" 1931. Toby Wing appeared in more than forty feature films and fourteen short subjects from 1924 to 1938. She was memorable, though uncredited as the "young and healthy" blonde in "42nd Street" 1933. Among other low budget features, she starred in "Silks and Saddles" 1936. Her last movie was "The Marines Come Thru" filmed in 1938 and released again in 1942 as "Fight On, Marines!". She also appeared on Broadway in the Cole Porter musical "You Never Know" 1938. In 1939 she toured with Rita Rio and her "All Girl Orchestra" to help raise money for charity. Toby Wing retired from films aged 23 after her marriage to aviation pioneer, Henry Tyndall "Dick" Merrill (1899-1982) in 1938. The couple had two sons, Henry Tyndall Merrill Jr. (1939-1940) and Richard Wing Merrill (1940-1982). She was an ardent member of the church, had a second successful career in real estate and died on 23 March 2001 in Mathews, Virginia aged 85. Toby Wing has a star recognising her contribution to the Motion Pictures Industry on the "Hollywood Walk of Fame" at 6561 Hollywood Boulevard. additional information - Her father Paul Reuben Wing (1892-1957), an army officer in WWII was captured by the Japanese and survived the "Bataan Death March". Her sister Gertrude Madison "Pat" Wing (1914-2002) was also an actress and chorus girl. Her brother Paul Reuben Wing Jr (1926-1998) was a successful businessman involved in real estate. Her son Richard Wing Merrill (1940-1982) was murdered in the family Miami home in 1982 aged 42. His death was reportedly related to a drug smuggling operation, though the case is still listed as unsolved.
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1915 - 2001 1915 - 2001
Portrait of Regina M. Goellz, age 13 years, taken in 1917.
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1917 - Unknown 1917 - ?
Added Feb 5, 2012 by: Pam Marks
Pam Marks
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Anne Eliza Keller, born approx 1872, died circa 1950, Cleveland, OH
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1872 - 1950 1872 - 1950
Added Jan 1, 2001 by: Dee Schaffer
Dee Schaffer
3 favorites
A photo of Ella Wheeler Wilcox. Taken in Madison, Wisconsin. Found in Byron Doolittle (1844-1912) scrapbook labeled as friend. Byron Doolittle lived in St. Ansgar ,Iowa.
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Unknown - Unknown ? - ?
A photo of Thelma (Winters) Updegrove
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Jun 25, 1920 - Sep 7, 2007 1920 - 2007
Added Apr 22, 2018 by: Bobbie Lou Whittenbarger
A photo of Margaret N. (Merriman) Wheeler
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Sep 4, 1918 - Unknown 1918 - ?
Added Sep 2, 2018 by: Kimi Wheeler
Kimi Wheeler
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A photo of Josephine Graham Bacon
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Unknown - Unknown ? - ?
Added Mar 14, 2016 by: Christian Thamer
Christian Thamer
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This is my grandfather's oldest sister. She was the daughter of Obediah Marshall and Arra Bell Baker Horner. She was born May 8, 1881 in Brooke County, WV. When she was a child her family moved to Washington County, PA. She married Elmer Hathaway in 1905. They had two children, Gladyce Claire Hathaway and Earl Leroy Hathaway. She was known as "Mae". She moved to OHIO and died there September 20, 1959 in Freeport, Harrison Co., OH.
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May 8, 1881 - Sep 20, 1959 1881 - 1959
This photo was found in an antique store in Texas. In pencil on the back: "born 1892, Edith Glenn Crain, age 6"
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Sep 11, 1892 - Oct 3, 1973 1892 - 1973
Added Aug 14, 2019 by: Roxy Triebel
Roxy Triebel
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A photo of Mary Ann Beckner, sister of Wm. Morgan Beckner of Kentucky -- my grt grt grandmother, and wife of Thomas Wm. H. Moseley, also born in Kentucky. Portrait by Mullen's studio Lexington, Ky.
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Unknown - Unknown ? - ?
Added Apr 14, 2002 by: Rob Jackson
Rob Jackson
87 favorites
Unidentified photo found in an antique store. Their faces look similar. I wonder if they were sisters.
Added Jan 27, 2020 by: Roxy Triebel
Roxy Triebel
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We Thought This Looked Good? How Hairstyles Have Changed
From intricate curls piled on top of our heads to long, straight, and ironed - hair styles change every decade or so. Can ...
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