The St. Louis Woman's Exchange: 130 Years of the Gentle Art of Survival

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-02-27
  • Publisher: History Pr
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On the surface, the Woman's Exchange of St. Louis is an exquisite gift shop with an adjacent tearoom-beloved, always packed, the chatter light and feminine, the salads and pies perfect. But the volunteers who run the Woman's Exchange have had enough grit to keep the place going through two world wars, a Great Depression, several recessions, the end of fine craftsmanship and the start of a new DIY movement. The "decayed gentlewomen" they set out to help in 1883 are now refugees from Afghanistan, battered wives and mothers of sons paralyzed in Iraq. Sample the radical changes they have made over the years, as well as the institutions they wisely left alone, like the iconic cherry dress that has charmed generations of women and mothers, including Jacqueline Kennedy and Gwyneth Paltrow. Book jacket.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. 9
Introductionp. 11
Stitched in Secret: 1832-1899p. 13
Hand in Glove: 1900-1929p. 37
Binding the Edges: 1930-1949p. 44
Eye of the Needle: 1950-1969p. 59
Classic Wins: 1970-1989p. 71
Cherry Picking: 1990-presentp. 96
Conclusion. The Art of Preservationp. 121
Consignorsp. 127
Staffp. 145
Bibliographyp. 155
Indexp. 157
About the Authorp. 160
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.


The St. Louis Woman's Exchange has a long and colorful history, from the cherry dress made famous by Jacqueline Kennedy to the ball gowns and monogrammed gloves, christening gowns and mended boxer shorts that carried St. Louis' upper class through every stage of life. Local founder, Ariadne Lawnin, was committed to improving the lives of poor, widowed or uneducated women of St. Louis. Join Jeannette Batz Cooperman as she explores the history of this treasured institution.

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