Like Mother, Like Daughter


mother daughter cooking 1950s kitchen

Vintage ad Reynolds Wrap 1954

Mid century mothers and daughters were clearly tied together not only by their apron strings but the same set of cultural expectations.  Not only did they share darling matching outfits but the same sunny enthusiasm for household chores.

And why not?

vintage picture Mom with crown refrigerator kitchen 1960

If Mom was queen, sis was certainly the princess! Vintage Frigidaire Refrigerator Ad 1960

The post war homemaker’s life was a breeze full of carefree living, going about her household tasks smiling as if she hadn’t a care in the world. It was a life of self polishing ease, a wash n wear world of no scrubbing no stooping no bending and absolutely … complaining.

illustration mother daughter laundry 1960s

Vintage Ad GE Washer 1962

With everything so automatic, it was automatically assumed that like mother like daughter she’d seamlessly follow in moms domestic high-heeled footsteps.

Ladies Be Seated

vintage illustration mother daughter ironing

Life was a breeze, sitting while ironing . Rhythmic restful automatic ironing. Now ends homes last drudgery. Forget the hand ironing Fold up your ironing board ladies and push it out of sight forever. The sensational automatic ironing, a wonderful willing servant irons everything while your seated! Half the time and effort” Vintage ad US Steel 1947

The message was clear- Girls would be cut from the same cloth as their Mothers

The Pattern is Set

illustration mother daughter sewing pattern 1949

From McCall’s 1949. “A pair of pinafores with fly away shoulders is an inspired gift. These look a likes for mother and small daughter are pretty in pastel chambray.”

Department stores featured Mother Daughter clothing departments but the handy housewife could whip up a new outfit for Mom and sis on her singer sewing machine in a jiff .

mother daughter dress patterns

Simplicity Patterns Mother Daughter Aprons

Simplicity began to issue many Mother daughter patterns beginning in the 1940’s, and women’s magazines regularly  ran features for sewing patterns.

illustration mother daughter fashion patterns 1948

A pattern for Mother Daughter play dress in Good Housekeeping Magazine 1948. The Simplicity pattern cost 15 cents



illustration mother daughter fashion 1950s

Vintage Ad Mother Daughter Dresses 1952 Westway Sportswear

 “Prissy Missy-an irresistible picture….Mother and daughter dress alike in our Prissy Missy by Westway in fine wale piques…little waists and full skirts. So practical to launder!”

These images were indeed cut on the bias

Mothers Little Helpmate

These sugar-coated stereotypes of contented mothers and their copy-cat domesticated daughters seem as frozen and neatly packaged by Madison Avenue as the processed foods these happy homemakers served their families.


Mother Daughter Campbells in kitchen 1942

Vintage Ad Campbell’s Tomato Juice 1942



illustration mothers daughters vacuum cleaning

Vintage Hoover Vacuum Cleaner Ad 1945



Mother and daughter washing dishes in kitchen 1940s

Vintage Ad US Steel 1946


illustration mother daughter doing laundry 1940s

Vintage Rinso Ad 1948



mother daughter doing laundry Rinso

Vintage Rinso Ad 1949



vintage picture mother daughter doing laundry

Vintage Rinso Ad 1950

In these images filled with matching frilly aprons and starched shirtwaist dresses it was clear who would wear the pants in the family…not the girls!

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© Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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One comment

  1. Reblogged this on Phase Three and commented:
    Loving the images on her blog … it is so my era, and an era that does not exist any longer. It evaporated along the way, and that was okay with me too when I was at the height of my young adult years. I have my own adult daughters now with adult daughters of their own. And then there is my mother. What a conundrum! So many different generations, each with their own ideas about how it ‘should’ be, ‘could’ be and then there is the reality of how it is. Although I’m not even sure that is a reality as much as thoughts not well expressed, not in context with the eras of past, present and a future not yet determined. Sometimes I think the passing era would have been useful to


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