The Flopping Galosh Fad, circa 1920

One intriguing thing that the ARA Historical Commission of the 1970s organized was the “Self-Interview.” This was really just a questionnaire with a fancy name but when they sent it out to early alumni it got a great response. This one came from Margaret Blackwell Davis ’22 and it’s generally representative of what all the answers are like—until you come to the last paragraph. That’s where things get interesting:

The galoshes fad of the early 1920s was one of the goofier fads of a pretty goofy era but I was especially surprised to see it turn up down here–it was more associated with the north east. Here’s the New York Times description from early 1922:


And an ad for the very thing:

I’ll deal with the swagger sticks later.

Bonus: I don’t know what they’re doing up there but I liked how it looked from underneath.

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7 Responses to The Flopping Galosh Fad, circa 1920

  1. Meaghan Bond says:

    I’d be interested to hear more about the “banishment of girls”! How did that work?

  2. MM Pack ('74) says:

    I’m so interested to see the letter my grandmother Margaret Blackwell Davis (’22) wrote in the 70s about her experiences at Rice. She told her granddaughters stories about flapper fashions, including the unbuckled galoshes that gave flappers their name. She also bobbed her hair extremely short and wore some sort of tight elastic chest wrap to create the desired pencil-thin, boyish profile meant to complement short, narrow flapper dresses.

    In an earlier RHC post, there’s a Rice commencement party photo from 1930 that includes my ever-fashionable grandmother and her younger sister Ruth Blackwell Davis. They’re the two on the far left in short floral dresses and cloche hats.

    What my grandmother didn’t say in her letter is that, following graduation, she went to work as an investigative journalist for the Houston Post and then the Houston Press, where she worked until the Press folded in 1964 ( As one of the first female reporters in Houston, she and her one female newsroom colleague were know as “Mike and Ike.” Much of the world, including her grandchildren, called her Mike for the rest of her life.

  3. Lynne (WRC '88) says:

    So that’s how flappers came by their name? I had no idea. So interesting!

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