Pin-Up Precursor

LIFE 9/55

“Gibson girl” Evelyn Nesbit poses in 1955 with the 1902 portrait drawn of her by Charles Gibson, reflecting the standard of female attractiveness at the cusp of the 20th century. This included voluptuous curves and, as Judy Garland sang in The Trolley Song, “hair piled high upon my head.”

At 16, she already poses formidably for this portrait by Gertrude Kasebier in 1902, commissioned by architect Stanford White, who was sleeping with the teen at the time.


Nesbit had a storied past, including a love triangle with Harry Thaw, railroad heir and coke addict, who later murdered White in a fit of jealousy, much too complicated for this small blog. We can, however, share the beauty of youth that is timeless.

Smithsonian JN2016-00673

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