Source: St. Louis Globe Democrat, March 7, 1954


During the 1950s, St. Louis City lost 12.5% of its population, while the country gained 73%. The suburbs of St. Louis were growing as young married couples moved out of the city. At this time, the median age for marriage was 22.6 years for men and 20.4 years for women. After the Depression and World War II, people were looking for security in the family and for many the key to happiness and security in the home was the suburban housewife.

The best way to keep the family happy was to design a happy home, according to the prevailing wisdom of the time. Suburban housewives designed the perfect home by buying the newest devices for the kitchen and the brightest towels for the bathroom. These purchases supposedly kept the family happy, while also making housewives' lives easier. Women filled their kitchen with laborsaving devices such as washers and dryers. The purchases for the home became the reward for a life of domesticity.

The housewife in the department store fulfilled both her role in the home and her role in society. Men of the society were the producers while women were the consumers. Advertisements were often aimed at women and had a family focus, selling items for the family room, a family car, or the family vacation.

Visit the New Woolworths Store
Visit the Famous Barr Store