Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Germans Wore Grey, You Wore Blue...

... and New Dealers wore hoop springs.

Unforgettable line from the movie Casablanca. The title of this post, I mean. Humphrey Bogart said this to Ingrid Bergman while recounting their romance in Paris. Thinking back to the time of this classic movie, pince-nez was still worn. In the FDR administration, New Dealers almost exclusively wore the hoop spring variety pince-nez. This is not a surprise as FDR wore the hoop spring and he looked superb in this style.

It has grown into legend that FDR adopted the pince-nez because he admired his relative Teddy Roosevelt. This legend has no basis in fact as pince-nez itself was quite popular in FDR's era. Furthermore, Teddy Roosevelt wore a safety chain on his hoop spring pince-nez. FDR did not wear a safety chain to my knowledge. FDR clearly had his own style and is one of the great unsung dandies of the twentieth century.

Bernard Baruch, Presidential Adviser

Henry Morgenthau, Jr., Sec. of Treasury (1934-45)

Frank Knox, Sec. of the Navy (1940-44)

Homer Cummings, Sec. of Justice (1933-39)
[technically an Oxford style pince-nez]

Justice Felix Frankfurter, circa 1930s


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