Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and I thought I’d share some great ad images from the February 1945 issue of Ladies’ Home Journal. World War II was winding down at this time, but still very much featured in advertising. It was an incredibly romantic time. as evidenced in these great ads. My own parents were part of this generation, having married in 1945 after my Army dad returned home from fighting in Europe.
We’ll start out with a steamy Woodbury Facial Soap ad. Goodness, who knew that washing your face with soap could elicit this type of passionate response? It brought out rapturous poetry too: So one and one really make one, A moment bright with rapture, and suddenly you know. Winged ecstasy set to shimmering music. You’re whirling through space, lost…yet you’ve just found yourself for the first time! This is the end of the beginning of your life. This is love, love, love… Even though I don’t smoke, I almost need a cigarette after that!
Which leads me to this next ad for Chesterfield cigarettes. Did you know that cigarettes could be used for depicting a house plan like this woman is doing? Of course, a lot of couples were in the planning stages then, and almost everyone smoked. Like most soldiers, my dad smoked during WWII, which always seemed weird to me because he quit soon after and I never saw him do it. But in the 40s, nobody thought anything bad about smoking. In fact it was considered cool and rather healthy.
Of course you had to have soft hands to capture a man’s heart. In fact you had to have adorable hands, which one could only achieve by using Jergens Lotion. Soft, adorable hands were a necessity for hand-holding, and most importantly ring-wearing. And definitely necessary for those three day leaves where there would apparently be a lot of hand-kissing.
Underneath it all you wore your stockings and pink rayon lingerie. And to preserve their glamour, it was best to wash them in cool-water Ivory Snow, the “snowdrop” soap. It was not only pure and mild, but granulated for quick sudsing without hot water. You can tell that we were still in the midst of a war effort as the ad states: WASTE NOT WANT NOT. All soap is made of vital war materials. Make your Ivory Snow go farther. If your dealer is out of Ivory Snow, don’t blame him. We’re making it as fast as we can, and he’ll have it soon.
Now on to the romance of bath soap. ‘Popular’ girls bathed in Cashmere Bouquet as apparently it was incredibly captivating to men – it’s the fragrance men love. The haunting scent of rare perfumes in the soap clinging delicately to your skin made men unable to resist you. So to be a (AHEM) ‘popular’ girl you needed to bathe every day with Cashmere bouquet…and be always dainty, desirable, and utterly feminine. Who knew soap had such power? Not me, certainly. 🙂
I’ll end with the old Valentine’s Day classic, Whitman’s Chocolates Sampler. The Sampler has been around since 1842, so it was already 103 years old in 1945 and is still made today. This ad gave cute advice on what to give your Valentine, whoever that might be. For your overseas sweetheart you could send a letter, booklet fashion, and fill it with pictures of his favorite people, dress it up with hearts and add a touch of your best perfume. For your sister you could make a hand-crafted pincushion. For your mother you could make a knitting bag crafted from scrap fabric. But of course the Valentine deluxe for any and all who are close to your heart is a Whitman’s Sampler – “Sweets to the sweet”. The WWII touch was the note that said: If you can’t always get your favorite Sampler, remember it’s because millions of pounds of Whitman’s Chocolates are going to all our fighting fronts.
Have a wonderfully vintage romantic Valentine’s Day! ♥ Marilyn