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KARN Publications Garston

A Selection of Letters from Victorian Newspapers and a fascinating piece of social history this small book reveals! These extracts are culled from long-defunct publications, such as The Family Doctor, Modern Society and Society; most of them from male readers extolling the virtues of tight lacing, boasting of their slim waists and the comfort they derive from the support provided. Many others go further, saying how much they enjoy wearing women's clothes and high heeled boots and shoes. The terms "cross-dressing" and "Transvestite" were not known at the time and the general attitude seems to have been one of mild surprise without any sort of condemnation.

These ideas of dress were not apparently confined to this country; other letters tell of young male "ballerinas" in France and America who were greatly admired (by woman especially) and, in fact, were not only made much of but treated as darlings of society.

The seventeen photographs of graceful young ladies - including Rev. H.D. Astley and the Hon. A.G.Yorke - date from the mid-1860s and amongst them may be found the famous (notorious?) Ernest Boulton and Frederick Park. Their arrest and eventual acquittal were a cause célèbre for Victorian England. They were involved in amateur theatricals, sometimes arranged for charitable purposes, which were extremely popular with the young men in Society, who organised the productions solely, it would appear, for the pleasure of playing the ladies' parts! Indeed, the photographs are, undoubtedly, taken from various theatrical endeavours.

Mr. Farrer's researches have taken him to Museums and Libraries all over the country and more of the material he has discovered appears in "Borrowed Plumes".

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In Female Disguise | Borrowed Plumes | Confidential Correspondence On Cross Dressing 1911-1915 | My First Party Frock | The Regime Of The Stay-Lace | Confidential Correspondence On Cross Dressing PT II 1916-1920
The Life of Maurice Pollack 1885 -1918 | Tight Lacing | Cross Dressing between the Wars