Dress­ing Mod­ern Mater­ni­ty: The Frank­furt Sis­ters of Dal­las and the Page Boy Label

Kay Gold­man
  • Review
By – April 23, 2013

In the 1930s, three Dal­las, Texas Jew­ish sis­ters — Elsie, Edna, and Louise Frank­furt — were the first to design, devel­op, and mar­ket attrac­tive, com­fort­able, and afford­able mater­ni­ty clothes. These beau­ti­ful­ly fash­ioned dress­es enabled women to main­tain their pub­lic and pro­fes­sion­al lives while preg­nant. Kay Gold­man tells the sto­ry of these sis­ters and their suc­cess in her cap­ti­vat­ing book, Dress­ing Mod­ern Mater­ni­ty: The Frank­furt Sis­ters of Dal­las and the Page Boy Label. The Frank­furt sis­ters cre­at­ed a chain of their own retail stores, called Page Boy” stores. Their mar­ket­ing was so suc­cess­ful that depart­ment stores across the nation start­ed sell­ing the Page Boy” mater­ni­ty dress­es. Their efforts ulti­mate­ly sparked the cre­ation of the enor­mous mater­ni­ty dress industry. 

This fas­ci­nat­ing tale of the Frank­furt sis­ters pro­vides the read­er with insight into the world of South­ern Jew­ry and how Jew­ish entre­preneurs devel­oped and thrived in the Deep South. The book also serves to doc­u­ment the cru­cial role Jew­ish women have played in shap­ing the Amer­i­can Jew­ish expe­ri­ence. Bib­li­og­ra­phy, index, notes, pho­tos (b&w) and illustrations.

Car­ol Poll, Ph.D., is the retired Chair of the Social Sci­ences Depart­ment and Pro­fes­sor of Soci­ol­o­gy at the Fash­ion Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy of the State Uni­ver­si­ty of New York. Her areas of inter­est include the soci­ol­o­gy of race and eth­nic rela­tions, the soci­ol­o­gy of mar­riage, fam­i­ly and gen­der roles and the soci­ol­o­gy of Jews.

Discussion Questions