atm-logoDid women wear makeup in the Old West?

Bill & Patty Hassoldt
Addison, New York

Despite the fact that facial makeup has been around since at least the time of the ancient Egyptians, with the exception of the “painted ladies of the evening” and stage performers, makeup didn’t really become fashionable in America until the 20th century. That’s when entertainers like actress Sarah Bernhardt helped popularize women’s makeup. Then the movie industry gave it a boost.

If Hollywood portrayed frontier women and men as they really looked, viewers would probably be sorely disappointed. Somebody who had just gotten off the stagecoach after a
15-day cross-country ordeal with no opportunity to bathe wasn’t exactly photogenic (or sweet smelling).


Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian.
His latest book is Wyatt Earp: Showdown at Tombstone.

If you have a question, write:
Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008,
Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at

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