JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
One of the images that appeared in a post a few days ago (Baseball and World War I) became very popular, appearing in a number of other blogs and retweeted and shared in a number of media. The image was the "Usherettes" of the Chicago Cubs, and the photograph was made by a photographic pool by Underwood & Underwood (N.Y.) and was published July 12, 1918. Its a wonderful image of two young women--both lovely, with the one of the left having no doubt crystalline light-blue eyes--who were identified as replacements for the male ushers who may have gone off to war.
The photograph was made by one a number of news photo service agencies who submitted their wartime work to censorship so that (basically) only mostly-positive images of the war was shared. This image was not of that particular concern, being made in Chicago at a ballpark and all, but it was still produced by the photographic group of Underwood & Underwood. And as was the common practice for this sort of photography the photo was accompanied by a slip of paper that was to be used as a caption for the work. So, if the Asheville Times was interested in using a photo illustrating women in the U.S. doing the work of men who had gone off to war, they'd contact a group like Underwood & Underwood who would supply them with the image as well as the description, both of which would appear in the Asheville paper.
In any event, the caption (reproduced below) reads in part:
"the war has brought about conductorettes, farmerettes, chauffeurettes, elevator operatorettes, and a whole lot of other ettes" and which would now include female ushers.
ANd just so we're ont he same page, the Oxford English Dictionary defines the suffix "-ette" so:
"Forming nouns denoting small or brief examples of the thing denoted by the first element, as diskette, essayettes, kitchenette, towelette, etc." As well as:
"Forming nouns denoting women or girls linked with, or carrying out a role indicated by, the first element, majorette, suffragette, usherette..."etc.
It turns out that the use of "usherette" for this image predates the "usherette" first usage in the O.E.D., which gives a date of 1924 for the first appearance of the word.
It should be stated that the two women in the photograph above were Beatrice Solomon and Violet Flatow, "the first baseball usherettes".