JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: Appropriate Dress (boys dressed like girls) #general
On September 30, 05 C. Flack wrote:
<<I have a picture of my grandmother and "uncle" which I believe was taken
in Odessa ,Russia in the late 1880's (or possibly in New York City in 1893)
with the "uncle" appearing to be about 2-3 years old.
He is plainly wearing a dress (skirt) and appears to have long hair
combed over "his" ears. I am wondering if this was the accepted dress
for a male infant in this time period or if family information may have
mixed up whose actual picture it was (impossible to distinguish male
from female >from face). My grandmother also gave birth to a girl uponarriving in New York in the early 1890's who died at about 11/2-2 years
old.The picture or "lithograph" has no information of time or place
In several of Sally Bruckheimer's many messages to Jewishgen, she mentioned
that in 1881 her great grandparents had dressed their five little boys as
girls. At least one of her father's brothers was born in Odessa._ This was done
in order to sneak the family across the border and also to avoid conscription,
since some of the boys were of draft age or soon to be.
I wrote to Sally privately to tell her that while the reasons she was told
may have been the true ones, that it was not unusual in Europe, England, and
the US to dress little boys as girls. Sometime boys were clad in girls' attire
until they were as old as twelve!
I do not think this fashion was commonplace among Eastern European shtetl
Jews, or even among the rest of the Russian populace, although perhaps the
aristocracy dressed their small boys as girls. But I daresay that many Odessa
Jews followed this dressing tradition, since many Odessans, including Jews, were
more "cosmopolitan" and more influenced by Western fashion and ideas than were
many Russians elsewhere.
I recommended that Sally read Philip Aries "Centuries of Childhood," and I
also quoted a passage >from Amoz Oz's "A Tale of Love and Life" in which he
described the attire of his father who throughout his Odessa childhood
unprotestingly wore dresses and pink bows in his hair.
For online information about all this, type in "boys dressing as girls" in
the google search engine and see:
Naomi Fatouros (nee FELDMAN)
BELKOWSKY,BIELKOWSKY, BILKOWSKI, Odessa,St. Petersburg,Berdichev,
Kiev;ROTHSTEIN, Kremenchug;FRASCH,Kiev;LIBERMAN,Moscow;FELDMAN, Pinsk;
SCHUTZ, RETTIG, WAHL, Shcherets;LEVY, WEIL, Mulhouse; SAS/SASS,Podwolochisk;
RAPOPORT, Tarnopol, Podwolochisk, Radomysl?; BEHAM, Salok, Kharkov;