I'll let this piece speak for itself. I cannot figure it out. It's from a 1919 high school yearbook. I kid you not. I bought this yearbook a few years ago specifically because of this ad. It leaves me speechless.
Click on image to see it larger.
"The Correlator" was published by the University High School of Chicago, Illinois. I'm trying to imagine what the store was thinking when they placed this ad. I really do wish I knew the back story.
I was on my school's yearbook staff my senior year. I was pretty good at selling ads. In fact, I was the first and only person that year to sell a full page ad. It was for a motorcycle shop. I hated selling ads. I found I had to be a bit of a liar to sell the blasted things. When I went into the motorcycle shop, cold call mind you, the guy said, "Yeah, sure. I'll take a full page ad if I can have a photo of a girl in a bikini on a bike." Wish I had a shot of my face when he said this. These days girls wouldn't bat an eye at this. I stood there staring at the guy, my mind spinning, nodding my head. "Ohhhhhhhhhhkaaaaaaaaay. Let me ask the teacher."
So next day at school I hesitantly went up to the teacher and told her what the guy wanted. I figured it would get shot down. Nope. She loved it. Well, she loved the money. I think the ad cost $100. Nobody else sold a hundred dollar ad that year. And when the teacher wondered what girl they could ask to pose all the boys started grinning and nodding. They all said the same name. Yup, she was the school slut. And yes she enthusiastically agreed to pose.
The reason I tell this is I'm trying to imagine when the high school kid walked into the Leopold store in Chicago, in 1919, did the guy behind the counter say, "Sure kid. I'll take a full page, but I want a cross-dressing boy in my ad." Ohhhhhhhhkaaaaaaaaay.
Seriously, talk amongst yourselves. You're on your own in the weird world of 1919 ephemera.
UPDATE: I just found the following two ads online for Langham-High Clothes. They definitely had a specific market in mind. And it's all a little strange for the time period.
Okay, I just made a rather startling discovery about this yearbook. Ever heard of the Leopold and Loeb murder? Two University of Chicago boys who killed a 14 year old just for fun? Well, Richard Albert Loeb is in this yearbook I have. And yes, I will do a post about this. Hitting my head against the wall never having any idea.