Charles James (1906–78) is widely regarded as America’s greatest couturier. He created his first Tree gown in 1955; this version, made of silk taffeta, followed in 1957. It was owned and donated to the Chicago History Museum by Mrs. William Cameron.

James stated that the design used “faille stretched like a ruched membrane over a stiffened shell molded NOT to the figure of the client, but to the shape I wished it were.” The fabric is shirred horizontally, with the shirring creating slight V-shapes from the bust to knee area. The understructure, composed of cotton, net, synthetic crinoline, and synthetic horsehair, provides a rigid shape and features a multichromatic tulle underskirt. 

See more of this dress up close

To purchase a copy
E-mail rightsrepro@chicagohistory.org and give them this number: ICHi-64580

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Throughout San Francisco, 175 underground cisterns still exist as part of a dedicated fire emergency system developed in 1908. Most of them can be identified by a distinctive brick circle on the road.

Following the 1906 earthquake, the Auxiliary Water Supply System (AWSS) - a separate and distinct water supply system for fire protection use only - was built. The system includes dedicated reservoirs, pump stations, fireboats, cisterns and hydrants. The cisterns are disconnected from the network, with no pipes, in the event of major damage to the distribution system. 

Read more here, and here

Top photo: Robin Scheswohl, Bottom left Paul Mison, bottom right mailgirl333

Woman’s Most Formidable Weapon, Los Angeles Herald, December 23, 1906

Glasses are prosaic things at the best, and therefore a handicap in the way of a love affair.

In the first place, don’t read on the car on your way down town. But, you say, the only chance you get to read is on the car. Then give up your reading, for it is much more important for a woman to be pretty than learned.