Photo collections from the 40s and 50s show how far style, comfort, and culture have come for women in Hillsborough County
To put it lightly, society was different prior to the women’s liberation movement of the late 1960s. In general, women could not buy or sell property, open bank or credit card accounts, or hold professional positions of authority.
Women had fewer choices compared to what many have today – from how they learned and earned, down to how they were expected to present themselves in public.
1951 Photo titled “Mr. and Mrs. Sam Zummo at Guerra and Sollecito Wedding” (Courtesy, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System)
Hem lines were long, hair was curled and coiffed, and waistlines on dresses were pinched. More often than not, formal attire was incomplete without a pair of heals and a full face of makeup.
Whether the fashion of decades past is now considered eloquent or oppressive, back in the day most women just smiled through it for the cameras.
1948 Photo titled Frances Campisi Shower SMS, Dinner at Sea Breeze (Courtesy, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System)
With only a few clicks, you can see local women’s fashion from the 1940s and 1950s. An online collection of photographs shows Hillsborough County women at weddings, banquets, parties, church, and other social events. You can search images by decades or by key words, such as “May Festival,” “bridesmaid,” “studio portrait,” and more.
Digital Photography Collection
1952 Photo titled “Alice Juan and Leo Guerrero Wedding” (Courtesy, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System)
These images are only a small portion of the photographic collection at the Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative. The Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative currently has 15 unique digital collections that each tell a vital story about the local history, culture, and people of the Tampa Bay area and Florida. There are over 548,000 items to explore, from historic images to artwork and genealogy records.
1952 Photo titled “Stella Piazza and Buster Calderone Wedding at OLPH Catholic Church” (Courtesy, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System)
Learn more at Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative.
Top Photo Information: 1950 Photo titled “Vasquez and Martinez Wedding” (Courtesy, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System.)