Welcome to Ladies’ Smoker Night, 1941, everybody! Well, not everybody… Men were strictly forbidden from entering the Ladies’ Smoker Night, although they tried their best to attend, in any way possible.
If you imagine that the 30s, 40s and 50s were all about being a humble housewife who cooked, cleaned and pleasured her man, than you are way off. A powerful women’s movement started in the late 20s, and since women got the right to vote, they only grew stronger and stronger.
I June 1941, Nina Leen, a photographer for Life magazine, attended a women’s ‘smoker’, a term which was reserved strictly for men gatherings. Besides having a lot of fun in an ‘Amazonian’ type atmosphere, Nina Leen managed to capture some of the most amazing pictures from that period.
This vintage photo series shows us exactly how life was back in the 40s and how women managed to have fun and entertain themselves in an otherwise male-dominated society.
Also, later on, as the decades passed on, they started having Marilyn Monroe look-a-like competitions which were equally fantastic.
The concept of ‘Ladies’ Smoker Night’ was created by the strong and passionate women of Milford, Connecticut, who made an event strictly for women. You can imagine how shocking such an event could have been at that time!
Here’s how the article about ‘Ladies’ Smoker Night’ from Life magazine begins: “On the evening of May 20, members of the Young Women’s Republican Club of Milford, Conn., explored the pleasures of tobacco, poker, the strip tease … as had frequently cost them the evening companionship of husbands, sons and brothers…”
The event was based on such a huge consumption of nicotine, it would put any ‘Men Smokers’ gathering to shame. It is estimated that 20 cartons of cigarettes, four dozen pipefuls of tobacco and 30 cigars were smoked each night!
This sassy entertainer right here is Miss Connie Mohr who used to run a children’s dance class in Milford, Connecticut.
Drinking was also a very important part of the night…
Women at the ‘Ladies’ Smoker Night’ had a lot of events planned, starting with a little bit of gossiping, man-shaming and anything in between, and moving on to more serious affairs such as poker, singing, dancing and… wrestling!
The wrestling referee was the only man allowed at the party, but as soon as the fight would end, he would be banished immediately from the premises.
A girls’ night out can definitely cause some serious damage, and nobody wants to be there when it’s time to clean up. People said that they hadn’t seen so many cigarette butts since the State Fireman’s convention in 1938, and you can imagine how impressive this is.
As usual, like all boys do when they here about a girl slumber party, they try to get in, but they never succeed.
Ladies, the next time you’re planning a night out with your friends, don’t be afraid to go a little vintage and paint the town red!