Book Creator

The Wives of the 50's

by Ahjeiza Adrian, Harper Benitez, Siri Palreddy, Noemi Villaparedes


The Wives of the 50's
Curated by Ahjeiza Adrian, Harper Benitez, Siri Palreddy, Noemi Villaparedes
Our exhibit traces the story of four bold and dangerous women living in 1950’s New Haven, Alice, Kathleen, Maria, and Nancy. The common thread, which binds them together, is that they are all housewives trapped in toxic and unfair marriages with their husbands. They have no control over their own lives until they decide as a group to set themselves free and kill their husbands. 

These women were defined as merely wives for most of their lives — their interests and ambitions were ignored by their husbands. The women themselves lost some of their self-worth due to being in such power imbalanced relations. While extreme, by murdering their husbands, Alice, Nancy, Maria, and Kathleen rediscovered themselves in a society where women weren’t meant to prioritize themselves and their identities over serving their husbands.
The Art of Lipstick Pamphlet
Title and Afterword of The Art of Lipstick Pamphlet
Published in 1957
Written by GiGi LingGal
A popular book in the 1950’s, which had been circulating within New Haven. It reached the ladies via Maria’s husband, David, who recommended they read the writing for their book club meeting. The pamphlet is definitively sexist and advises women to live only for the purpose of finding and serving their husbands. The afterword of this work displays the impossible and superficial demands society placed on women in the 20th century.
Who They Were
Q-Tips & Cotton Balls
Recovered from the vanity of Alice Lee in 2018
Portrait of Alice
Drawn in 1953
Pencil and Parchment Sketch
Artist: Maria
These makeup removers were a staple in Alice's routine, which included social gatherings her husband Roy Lee forced her to attend and appear "presentable" at.
Alice liked the simpler things in life — she never cared for makeup and wasn’t one to follow the latest magazines. Maria’s line sketch of Alice reflects her straightforward and unembellished personality.
Ch 1: Befriending the Mirror
"Your beauty is your only contribution to society."
Page 2 of The Art of Lipstick