As the caption says, the picture above is Manhattan in 1905, when and where the book takes place. Even then, it was an enormous city with impressive skyscrapers.
|Lower East Side Market|
|Vaudeville Theatre Poster|
At the start of the novel, Philomena is living on Manhattan's Lower East Side, which at the time was mostly populated by immigrants. In the book, she shops at a market like the one above and lives in an apartment building like the ones shown in the picture below it. She and Jennie also dry their laundry the way it is shown in the pic, by hanging it on clotheslines stretched between the buildings.
Also at the start of the novel, Philomena is working in a vaudeville theater. As you can see from the poster above, vaudeville was a type of variety show that was extremely popular at the time.
|The Casino Theatre, 1905|
|Broadway Chorus Girls, 1908|
Unfortunately for Philomena, the popular look for women at the time was tall, long-legged, and busty, as shown in the picture of the idealistic "Gibson girl" below. Like I said, for Philomena, who is waif-like and five feet tall in heels, this is a problem as far as breaking into show business is concerned. The most famous chorus girl on Broadway at the time was Evelyn Nesbit, also pictured below, and she fit this ideal of feminine beauty to a T.
Philomena's wardrobe. Though her everyday clothes would
be mostly like the black and white photo below (which
would have been a HUGE change from what she wore in The
Heartless City), she also gets opportunities to wear ballgowns
like the one shown here, as well as extravagant stage costumes. I also included the picture of Edwardian undergarments simply because I think they are pretty. :)
|Edwardian Daily Clothing|
|Braided Gibson Tuck|
I hope you enjoyed this little peek into Philomena's world. I can't wait for everyone to read about her journey!