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[Tidbits] The Flapper

Flapper. a term used in the 1920’s to denote a free spirit… a
female who denounces convention and flouts her independence. In the
mid 60’s I believe the flapper’s replacement was the hippie. though
perhaps not as fashionably oriented nor so ultra-chic. And now. may I
introduce La Mademoiselle Flapper and the jewelry icon made in her

She was made by Reinad for Eisenberg in 1941 and was described as A
Jewel-Cheeked Flapper In Profile. She is a fur clip of gilded pot
metal with large topaz rose montees set into her cheek and headdress
with a topaz lozenge briolette as an earring. The headdress topaz are
faded. The piece is signed Eisenberg Original. It’s total worth in
material–if I had to take a guess–maybe five dollars. if even that.
As a collector item… . it’s more in the vicinity of $1500.00. Ain’t
markups grand.

So who is this flapper you might well ask? She was born is St. Louis,
MO in 1906. Her mother was Carrie McDonald. a laundress. Her father.
Eddie Carson. a musician. She first began her dancing career for
nickels and dimes on the streets of St. Louis. She then became a
chorus girl. At 15 she married a Pullman porter and at 17 she ran
away. There was too much racial discrimination in St. Louis. She made
her way to Paris and ultimately found a job at the Folies Bergere as
a member of an all black revue. During the McCarthy era she was
falsely accused of Being a Communist. Disgusted. she renounced her
American citizenship and became a French citizen.

She had a few nom-de-plumes. She was Black Venus and Tumpie and Black
Pearl and Creole Goddess. Anybody know who she is yet?

She refused to practice in clubs that practiced racial segregation.
During WWII she worked as a spy for the French resistance. In 1961
she was awarded the Legion of Honor… France’s highest award.

She adopted 12 children. They were called “the Rainbow Children”.
They were: Aiko (Korea), Luis (Colombia), Janot (Japan), Jari
(Finland), Jean-Claude (Canada), Moses (French), Marianne (France),
Noel (France), Brahim (Arab), Mara (Venezuela), Koffi (the
Ivory-Coast), Stellina (Morocco).

Pablo Picasso said of her: “Tall, coffee skin, ebony eyes, legs of
paradise, a smile to end all smiles.” Not bad eh wot?

She had a short relationship with Georges Simenon. the Belgian author
of Inspector Maigret. Alas. it didn’t last because she was more
famous than him. and he could not abide being in second place. This
happens at times. Fame can be emotionally costly for win, place, and
shows alike.

She was rescued from financial hardship by Grace Kelly then known as
Princess Grace of Monaco who offered our star a home in Monaco.

On April 10, 1975 she died of a cerebral hemorrhage. Her name … for
those many of you who I suspect have not only not yet guessed. but
also probably never knew. was Josephine Baker.

And now here’s the kicker-de-luxe. Oh are you ever going to love
this. I am going to send you to a link where you can see Josephine
Baker doing the Charleston. She is magnificent. I hope you all enjoy.
Here t’is:

Okay. The end. Go. Go take a look.

You know where. You know what. The visit to the image… also known
as the viewing experience. You know how to get there. Home page. Scroll down. Left side. Tidbits. Click.
And there for your sensory optic pleasure you will see a bejeweled
version of Josephine Baker in profile.

And there ya have it. That’s it for this week folks. Catch you all
next week.

Benjamin Mark


Fascinating as always! I was surprised to learn that Princess Grace
rescued Josephine from financial hardship by offering her a home in
Monaco. How wonderful to learn of this kindness. And, the icon would
lovely in a palace or my humble home.

Thanks for sharing, Mary A