Miss Addie Rice

Ruth Montgomery Collection
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John R. Chesebro

This lovely portrait of Miss Addie Rice reminds us of how the world is changing for women. At a time when the “safety bicycle” (safe enough for women to ride) and the railroad were offering women new opportunities to travel—and when the final push for suffrage was gaining momentum—women’s clothing was also becoming less inhibiting. Here Addie is out in the open air—with her hair pulled back but a lock escaping—in a dress that reminds us of the Gibson Girls (considered “healthy and brave”) who went out to work in the growing pink collar industry as department store clerks and secretaries. While the clothes were less constricting, the skirts still swept the ground and the necks were high. Here she is posed on the porch, her hands on the rail, looking not quite directly at us—but into (one might imagine) an uncertain future.