From Betty Boop to Wonder Woman: A Retro Slideshow of Female Ephemera

I recently took a (consensual) trip to Waldoboro, Maine with my parents and for the first two days all it did was rain. Our 20x20 cabin plus two dogs was getting increasingly intimate by the hour so in the hopes of bypassing what was sure to be a verbal fistfight out of sheer boredom and creeping claustrophobia I decided to check out TripAdvisor to see if there was anything to do besides wait till 5 o clock so I could share some warm bourbon with my father.

My nimble fingers revealed these three tantalizing options:


Yup, that's right. You can have pickled cabbage, alpacas or a toy museum. I pitched the latter and piled into the car with my parents. Four minutes later my trusty iPhone let me know that we were there; I peered through the rain-streaked window at an unassuming house proclaiming itself to be the illustrious, Fawcett's Antique Toy Museum.

In short I had no idea the amount of stimulation I was about to receive. (Full disclosure, I may or may not have been incredibly high.) As I floated into the house beside my parents, my eyes were greeted by a bonafide wonderland of crap. Toys, books, paintings, dolls, comic books, board games, posters and retro porn were piled—neatly—floor to ceiling. And that was just the stuff for sale. 

Proprietor John Fawcett (who I subsequently learned is a contemporary artist and historian of some renown) greeted us gruffly; we paid him our $6 entrance fee and were whisked away to the "museum" portion of the house behind a small swinging wooden door.

For the next two hours (much to my mother's chagrin) Fawcett gave us an in-depth tour of the evolution—and intersection—of art, advertising, American propaganda, pop culture and comic books. (Did you know Disney issued Mickey Mouse toys wearing gas masks so children didn't fear bomb annihilation as much?) Honestly, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better curated collection of ephemera; I was downright dazzled. Not only was the sheer volume of shit just staggering—there were two floors and like six rooms, meticulously organized—but the memorabilia serves as a kind of societal time capsule that is both chilling and mesmerizing.

If I took a picture of everything I loved within those four walls your corneas would end up like that girl who's eyes were eaten by amoebas, so I went ahead and rounded up just the very best female fodder I could find:

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