List of historical sources for pink and blue as gender signifiers

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Blue Boy (Thomas Gainsborough, 1779)
Portrait of a young girl in pink dress (Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta, 1890s)
Johannes Cornelisz Verspronck's Portrait of a Girl in Blue Dress (1641)
Boy's pink silk shirt (Missouri, circa 1890)

Since at least the 19th century, the colours pink and blue have been used to indicate gender, particularly for babies and young children. The current tradition in the United States (and an unknown number of other countries) is "pink for girls, blue for boys".[1]

Prior to 1940, two conflicting traditions coexisted in the U.S., the current tradition, and its opposite, i.e., "blue for girls, pink for boys". This was noted by Paoletti (1987,[2] 1997,[3] 2012[1]).

Since the 1980s, Paoletti's research has been misinterpreted and has evolved into an urban legend: that there was a full reversal in 1940, prior to which the only tradition observed was the opposite of the current one.[4] Quoting the concluding lines of this study: "In conclusion, there are strong reasons to doubt the validity of the standard PBR [pink-blue reversal] account; if anything, gender-color associations seem to be much more stable than currently believed"

Key to tables[edit]

Year = year of publication
Location = place to which text pertains
Comments = brief quote from original text

Pink for girls, blue for boys[edit]

19th century[edit]

Year Location Comments
1823 Netherlands
La Cour de Hollande sous le règne de Louis Bonaparte, by Athanase Garnier, 1823

L'accouchement des dames, me dit-elle, s'annonce de cette manière, et quand la pelotte est fond rose, c'est le signe de l'avènement en ce monde d'une petite fille, tandis que la pelotte fond bleu annonce que c'est un garçon....
Ladies Childbirth, she said, is announced in this manner, and when the pincushion is pink background, this is a sign of the coming into this world a little girl, while the blue background pelotte announces that it is a boy.[5]

1834 France
Manuel complet de la maitresse de maison et de la parfaite ménagère, by Élisabeth-Félicie Bayle-Mouillard
Chapitre XXIII, Des soins à donner aux enfans / Care to give to children, De la layette / Baby clothes

Assez communément, dans ce dernier cas, ou double de satin rose s'il s'agit d'une petite fille, et de satin bleu s‘il s'agit d'un garçon.
Quite commonly, in the latter case [of using muslin], or double [ruffles], pink satin is used in the case of a little girl, and blue satin if it is a little boy.[6]

1842 Russia
St. Petersburg
Russia: St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kharkoff, Riga, Odessa, the German Provinces.... by Johann Georg Kohl

On the front of many shops you see inscribed, in gilt letters, "Coffins sold here;" and within you find hundreds of those narrow houses, piled upon and beside one another, for all religions, for all ranks, for all ages; black, with golden crosses for the protestants [sic], brown and light colours for Russians of the Greek church, rose-coloured ones with white lace, for young girls; azure blue for boys.[7]

1844 Russia
St. Petersburg
Commercial statistics: A digest of the productive resources, commercial legislation, customs tariffs, navigation, port, and quarantine laws, and charges, shipping, imports and exports, and the monies, weights, and measures of all nation. Including all British Commercial Treaties with Foreign States. In three volumes by John MacGregor

In all the upholsterers' shops, except the one alluded to, there are piles of coffins ready for all ages, sexes, ranks, and religions. Brown, purple, and light coloured ones for the Greco-Russians; black with gold ornaments for Protestants; rose-coloured ones decked with white laces for young girls; bright blue for boys.[8]

1849 France
François le Champi: Comédie en 3 actes et en prose. Par George Sand

(Elle aperçoit le bouquet.) Ah ! par exemple, voilà un bouquet qui s’est planté là tout seul, car je n’ai vu personne. C’est pour moi, bien sûr. (Examinant les rubans.) Du rose ! c’est une fille à marier ;… du bleu ! un garçon qui veut épouser ;… un ruban noir ! c’est pour dire qu’on plaint mon deuil ; ...

(She sees the bouquet.) Oh, my! Here is a bouquet that just planted itself, because I did not see a soul. It is for me, of course. (Examining the ribbons.) Pink! it's a girl to be married;... blue! a boy who wants to marry;... a black ribbon! it says they're sorry for my grief; ...

1856 France

THE IMPERIAL LAYETTE. As everything connected with the birth of the heir of the French throne... But as blue is the colour appropriated to male children, as rose or pink is to those of the opposite sex....[9]

But as blue is the color appropriated to male children, as rose or pink to those of the opposite sex....

The World of New York: A layette (that is, baby clothes) must be prepared. Shall it be a layette of pink, for girl, or a layette of blue, for a boy?[11]

1856 USA
Peterson's Magazine, vol. XXIX, Philadelphia, March 1856, No. 3. page 261

FASHIONS FOR MARCH. Fig. XI.--Cap for Christening.--The crown is made of Valenciennes.... On the left side of the cap, in the plaits of the band, is a pretty rosette of No. 4 blue ribbon, if for a boy, pink for a girl.[12]

1856 France
Manuel géométrique du Tapissier, etc., by Jules Verdellet - page 218

Assez souvent on garnit l'intérieur de la capote en soie bleue pour les petits garçons, et en soie rose pour les petites filles, cette soie qui est toujours ouatée et piquée, forme transparent sous les fronces en mousseline des fuseaux de la capote.
Quite often, the inside of the bonnet is lined with blue silk for boys and pink silk for girls. This silk, always padded and quilted, is visible through muslin gathers of the bonnet's spindles.[13]

1857 Netherlands
Revue de Paris, 1857, volume 39, page 389, article by Théophile Gautier, Maxime Du Camp, editor

En Hollande—Lettres a un ami - ...j’aperçus sur une porte une sorte de large pelotte ensoie rose enrichie de dentelles.

...I saw on the door a kind of large bundle of pink silk decorated with lace. I quickly sought information and learned that, when a woman has just given birth, they inform passers-by putting this item on the door whose Dutch name impossible to remember, pronounce and even write, but means: proof of birth. It is pink for girls and blue for boys. This bizarre practice was introduced here, they say, during the time of the Spaniards.[14]

1858 France
Journal des demoiselles - page 157

...terminé par une garniture assortie aux revers du corsage; au- dessus de la manche, tu placeras un nœud en ruban de taffetas, bleu pour un garçon, rose pour une fille...
...finished with a trim matching the lapels of the bodice; place a bow of taffeta ribbon above the neck, blue for a boy, pink for a girl...[15]

1859 France
La science du Monde, politesse, usages - bien-être, by Anaïs Lebrun Bassanville, page 149

Du Baptême - Ces bonnets peuvent être entièrement blancs. Sinon la couleur rose est d'obligation pour une fille et le bleu pour un garçon.
The Baptism - These caps can be completely white. Otherwise, pink is a must for a girl and blue for a boy.[16]

1861 UK
London Lady's Newspaper And Pictorial Times, November 16, 1861, page 308, col. 2

Fig. 5. (Baptismal Robe.)—A broad sarsnet ribbon passed across one shoulder is fixed in a bow on the opposite side of the waist; the long ends flowing over the skirt of the robe. For a boy this ribbon should be blue, and for a girl pink.

1861 Russia The monthly packet of evening readings for younger members of the English church, July, 1861, part 127

Sketches of the offices of the Greco-Russian Church
Little babies have their christening shirt put on... A little boy's wrapper is bound round the waist and confined at the wrists by blue ribbons, and an amber, wooden, or stone cross—no matter, so that it be not silver or gold—is put round his neck by a blue ribbon. A little girl's dress is the same, but with pink ribbons.[17]

1862 USA
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, No. CXLIII-April, 1862-Vol. XXIV-No. 143, page 720

Fashion for April - Furnished by Mr. G. Brodie, 300 Canal Street, New York, and drawn by Voigt from actual articles of Costume.
The Infant's Robe is specially designed for baptismal use. It is composed of fine nansouk and insertion. If the child is a boy, the ribbon sash is blue; if a girl, it is of pink taffeta.[18][19][20]

1862 UK
The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine, volume 5, Issue 25 - volume 6, issue 36, page 142

For very tiny mites, there is nothing prettier than French merino or mousseline-de-laine in blue or pink; the former for a boy, the latter for a girl.[21]

1862 France
La Mode illustrée: journal de la famille, June 23, 1862

DEVIS DE LAYETTE - Une robe de baptême.... ...rose pour une petite fille, - bleu pour un petit garçon.
QUOTE LAYETTE - A christening gown .... in-between lace and embroidery - or scalloped ruffles, separated by four or five small folds ... ...for increasingly shorter strips across the front of the dress; it will be placed on a bottom taffeta or calico, pink for a little girl - blue for a boy.[22]

1863 France
La Mode illustrée: journal de la famille, March 16, 1863

Robe de baptême - Selon la coutume de Paris, on met sous cette robe une robe rose pour une petite fille, bleue pour un petit garçon.
According to the custom of Paris, under the baptisme robe is a pink dress for a little girl, blue for a little boy.[23]

1864 France
La Mode illustrée: journal de la famille - page 185, June 12, 1864

Berceau orne - Le berceau est habillé avec de la percaline rose pour une petite fille, bleue pour un petit garçon, si'on veut suivre la coutume de Paris....
Ornamented cradle - The cradle is dressed with pink calico for a little girl, blue for a little boy, if we want to follow the custom of Paris....[24]

1868 Russia Sketches of the Rites and Customs of the Greco-Russian Church, H. C. Romanoff,
page 66 - On the Feast of the Annunciation the christening was to come off.... The godfather provides a gold cross (we are speaking of a noble's family...) about an inch and a half in length, to hang round the child's neck, if a boy by a blue ribbon, if a girl a pink one. He also pays the Priest's fee.

page 236 - A little boy's wrapper is bound round the waist and confined at the wrists by blue ribbons; and an amber, wooden, or stone cross—no matter, so that it not be silver or gold—is hung round his neck by a blue ribbon. A little girl's dress is the same, but with pink ribbons.[25]

1868 France
La Mode illustrée: journal de la famille - Page 122, April 19, 1868

Bonnet de baptême - Le bonnet est garni de ruban rose (s'il est destiné â une petite fille) ou bleu (pour un petit garçon)....
Baptism bonnet - The hat is trimmed with pink ribbon (if it is intended at a girl) or blue (for a boy)....[26]

1869 USA Good Health: A Popular Annual on the Laws of Correct Living, as Developed by Medical Science, Etc.; Bottle Babies, by Kate Gannett Wells, Boston

Of course my baby was to be a bottle baby.... I was radical, progressive, hated restraint and conventionalism, and duty.... ...little wagons,—pink for girls, blue for boys,—containing shelves...holding the necks of baby bottles....[27]

1869 USA Little Women, part II, Good Wives by Louisa May Alcott

"Are they boys? What are you going to name them?"
"Boy and girl, aren't they beauties?" ...
"Amy put a blue ribbon on the boy and a pink on the girl, French fashion, so you can always tell."[28]

1869 France
La Mode illustrée: journal de la famille, December 5, 1869, page 385

Robe de baptême - ORNÉE DE GUIPURE SUR FILET ...rose pour une petite fille, bleu pour un petit garçon.
Christening dress DECORATED ON NET OF GUIPURE - This dress is made of chiffon, and topped by front and plastron on the bodice with lace on the fillet.... Shoulder knots and ribbon belt having 4 centimeters wide, pink for a girl, blue for a boy. The sleeves are also made of guipure fllet.[29]

1870 France
Revue des deux Mondes, year XL, period 2, volume LXXXIX, September 1, 1870, page 88

Les hospices a Paris, by Maxime Du Camp
Tous les jours, la préfecture de police et les hôpitaux.... Every day, the police headquarters and hospitals send the Hospice of the Rue d'Enfer the children.... To recognize at first sight the abandoned children and children registered, they are given until the age of five years a distinctive sign, which is a necklace....with a silver medal bearing the face image of St. Vincent de Paul, the word Paris on the back, and a serial number, which is that of is blue for boys filed, pink for girls: more on the side of the coin, above the serial number, it bears the word deposit.[30]

1875 USA Demorest's Family Magazine, volumes 11-12, page 121, March, 1875

The prettiest trimming for a baby`s cradle is to cover it first with colored silk (blue for a boy, and pink for a girl, is the Parisian fashion).[31]

1882 USA St. Nicholas: An Illustrated Magazine for Young Folks

Donald and Dorothy by Mary Mapes Dodge
"Always blue on the boy and pink on the girl — my lady's orders were very strict on that point."[32]

1882 Netherlands
The Land of Dykes and Windmills: Or, Life in Holland

At Haarlem, on such occasions, it is usual to place a garland ornamented with lace—more or less expensive according to the means of the resident—on the door of the house in which a birth takes place. Pink is the usual colour for a girl, and blue for a boy. It is I stated that the custom originated in 1572, when the town ...[33]

1884 Russia
St. Petersburg
The Hawaiian Monthly, Foreign Matters, The Foundling Asylum of St. Petersburg

In another room we saw six pine coffins, containing the little ones who had died that day. Their shrouds were cotton cloth, scalloped by scissors and the sleeves and wrists, with a pink bow in the cap if a girl, and blue if a boy.[34]

1887 France La vertu en France, by Maxime Du Camp, 1887, page 358

Le costume est uniforme: robe de cotonnade rose pour les fillettes, de cotonnade bleue pour les garçons. Quand les familles sont trop pauvres pour fournir ce vêtement, on le leur donne.
The outfit is standard: a pink cotton dress for girls, blue cotton for boys. When families are too poor to provide this garment, it is given.[35]

1887 France
Les beaux jours de l'impératrice Marie-Louise, by Imbert de Saint-Amand, page 300, Paris: E. Dentu. (1887)

La comtesse de Montesquiou, femme du plus haut mérite...
The Countess de Montesquiou, wife of the highest merit, was appointed governess to the children of France, with two sub-governesses and Mrs Mesgrigny Boubers, which were joined later a third, Madame Soufflot. Is chosen as a beautiful nurse and robust woman, married to a carpenter of Fontainebleau, and they prepared two small beds, blue for a prince, pink for a princess. The layette, estimated at three hundred thousand francs, was the admiration of all the ladies of the court.

1887 USA
Harper's Bazaar, volume 20, page 874, December 31, 1887

ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS - U.—Pink is the color for baby girls’ ribbons, and blue for boys. There is no new form of announcing the birth of an infant.[36]

1888 Germany A Heart Regained: A Novel by Carmen Sylva

A white silk-lined basket filled with dainty garments stood before her; little shirts of finest linen, made with the skill of practised fingers; soft socks with blue ribbons. "Blue for a boy, pink for a girl," murmered Leonie to herself, as she smiled sweetly over her labor of love.[37]

1888 USA
Atchison Daily Globe, Wednesday, July 18, 1888, Atchison, Kansas

New York Fashion—Magnificent colors will be seen this fall
New York, July 12—
... The newest style in infants' robes is to use valenciennes lace instead of embroideries, as they are finer and more delicate. Blue satin ribbons are for boys, pink for girls.

1890 USA
New York
Hornellsville Weekly Tribune November 17, 1893

New York Fashions
Mate Leroys discusses the revival of ancient styles
There was a mite of a hoof of cashmere to go with it. Pink ribbons are for girls and blue for boys. Loving mothers prefer making the garments for the little strangers....

1891 Russia Through Russia on a mustang by Thomas Stevens

The nurse, with her charge, is always a conspicuous figure on the streets of a Russian city. The fantastic garb of coronet and beads constitute one of the most picturesque costumes in Russia; and you can tell by its color whether her charge is a boy or a girl. If a boy, the prevailing color will be blue; if a girl, pink.[38]

1892 USA
The Peterson Magazine

BABY'S BLANKET: "Blue is used for boys', pink is for girls'.[39]

1892 USA
San Antonio
San Antonio Daily Light April 29, 1892

The Baby's Dainty Blanket
The French think blue the most appropriate for boys, and pink for girls.

1892 Russia L'hospice des Enfants trouvés de Mouscou

CHAPITRE II - Admission des enfants. Le système d'admission des enfants abandonnés est le même à Moscou qu'à Saint-Pétersbourg....
The intake system of abandoned children is the same in Moscow as in St. Petersburg.... The person who brings a child to have them admitted receives a certificate, pink for girls, blue for boys, on which is recorded the registration number and the date of registration.[40]

1893 USA
Los Angeles Times, July 19, 1893, page 4, Col. 7 For Mama and the Baby

From Our Regular New York Fashion Correspondent
The very latest nursery fad is a silkeu hammock for the new baby.... First on the net is laid a silk quilted blanket, pink for a girl, blue for a boy.... byline DALPHINE

1894 France
L'Illustration - volume 103, page 317

Le papier et le bristol blancs avec caractères noirs sont la marque de la suprême correction ou de la très grande simplicité. Certaines personnes préfèrent les couleurs symboliques: le bleu pour un garçon, le rose pour une fille.
White paper or card stock with black characters are the hallmark of supreme propriety or extreme simplicity. Some people prefer symbolic colors: blue for a boy, pink for a girl.[41]

1894 USA The Care of Children, by Elisabeth Robinson Scovil

The Baby's Toilet - Chapter XI - The Baby's Basket - It is a French fancy to have blue for a boy and pink for a girl, but pale primrose yellow, delicate green, or crimson in winter, look equally well.[42]

1896 USA Preparation for Motherhood by Elisabeth Robinson Scovil

Some one color should be chosen for the baby's belongings and used wherever color is permissible. Pink for a girl and blue for a boy is the established usage. Pale green, crimson, and yellow are all pretty.[43]

1896 Spain
La Moda elegante, Madrid, December 22, 1896, page 561

CORRESPONDENCIA PARTICULAR. El rosa es más para niñas, y el azul para los niños; pero creo debe usted hacerle ó traje del color que mejor le vaya á la cara. / Pink is more for girls, and blue for boys; but I think you should make her an outfit of the colour that suits her face best. - Señora Doña Francisca I.[44]

1898 Russia Pacific Medical Journal, volume 41

It is then weighed, measurements made of its length, size of head and chest, which are inscribed on a card, blue for boys and pink for girls, bearing its name, age, and sex; in fact, all important data can be found upon this card.[45]

1898 Russia The New England Journal of Medicine

How Russia Cares for her Foundlings by J. L. Hildreth, M.D., Cambridge, Mass.
Read before the Cambridge Medical Improvement Society, April 25, 1898.

The two sexes are distinguished by the boys having blue and the girls pink cards, bearing their names and numbers, fastened about the neck; also the same color upon some part of their clothing. It seemed odd to find, in far-off Russia, the very same assignment of colors as among the petted babies of our own land.[46]

1898 France
The Parisian (Parisian Illustrated Review), November 1898, volume 5, number 5, page 528

The mother's and nurse's dress is blue or pink, according to whether the child, which is clad in white, is a boy or a girl.[47]

1899 Mexico El Mundo ilustrado, Mexico, November 19, 1899 - volume 6, part 2 - page 314

Regalo mas usual para el niño consiste en el ropón muy lujoso con adornos rosa para las niñas azul para los niños.
The more usual gift for a child is a very luxurious robe trimmed in pink for girls or in blue for boys.[48]

20th century[edit]

Year Location Comments
1900 USA
New York
Home Mission Monthly

When the dues are paid, each child receives a badge—pink for girls, and blue for boys.[49]

1900 France La maîtresse de maison et l'art de recevoir chez soi (The hostess and the art of entertaining at home), by Baronne Staffe, 1900, page 42

Un gros nœud rose pour les filles, bleu pour les garçons, ou crème pour les uns et les autres....
A big pink bow for girls, blue for boys, or cream for both....[50]

1901 USA Success Library by Orison Swett Marden, G. R. Devitt

Usually, the first baby's basket is lined with pink or blue—pink if a girl is desired, blue for a boy—and is covered with dotted muslin, and decked with flounces, laces, and ribbons.[51]

1902 Madrid
Colección completa de formularios burocráticos de los... by Enrique Mhartin y Guix, Madrid, 1902, page 13

Documentes familiares y epistolares, postales y telegráficos. / Documents family and epistolary, postal and telegraph.
Participaciones de nacimiento se envían dentro de los diez días siguientes, generalmente impresas en tarjetones de más ó lujo, blancos ó de fantasía, y a veces de cartulina azul para los niños y rosa para las ninas.
Birth shares are shipped within the next ten days, usually printed flyer or more luxury, white or fantasy, and sometimes blue cardboard for boys and pink for girls.[52]

1904 USA Physical culture for babies by Marguerite and Bernarr MacFadden

The old fancy of "pink for a girl" and "blue for a boy" is still a pretty tradition, yet I think the daintiest baskets I have ever seen have been entirely of white....[53]

1906 UK
Salted Almonds by F. Anstey

...parcels neatly tied up in ribbon—blue for boys, and pink for girls....[54]

1906 USA
The New York Times, May 20, 1906, page 9, col. 3;

Dreamland reopens and shows new glories.
The Coney Island season received added impetus yesterday. Dreamland threw open its doors with the annual flourish of trumpets....
One of the old features the crowd liked best yesterday was the infant incubator exhibit. Seven sterilized infants under glass in regulated temperatures and antisepticised atmosphere slept peacefully in their little white blankets. The boys had blue ribbons tied around them and the girls pink, and not one was over two weeks old. A model sterilized nursery goes with this exhibit.

1907 USA The Consolidated Library, volume 2

After the layette has been provided, comes the fitting out of the basket. Usually, the first baby's basket is lined with pink or blue—pink, if a girl is desired, blue for a boy—and is covered with dotted muslin, and decked with flounces, laces, and ribbons.[55]

1908 USA A Dictionary of Men's Wear ...

page 32 Blue - the color supposed to exercise a gracious influence over the budding destinies of, and to be especially becoming and appropriate to, boy babies as, conversely, pink is for girls.

page 187 Pink - alleged English for red; used only in connection with hunting coats (properly scarlet refines). Pink - a color not to be worn by boy babies.[56]

1909 Netherlands
The Hague
San Francisco Chronicle, April 11, 1909, page 27

It is the custom here to ornament a baby's cradle with pink ribbons for a girl and blue for a boy.

1910 USA
Fort Wayne
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, August 21, 1910

Luxurious Preparations for the AUTUMN BABY
...and the white bassinette is trimmed with a big ribbon bowe—blue for a boy, according to the old tradition, and pink for a girl.

1911 USA Walden's Stationer and Printer

All dealers are familiar with the increasing use of special form announcements to herald the arrival of the new born. ... There are two boxes, the prevailing color of one being pink, for girls, and the other blue, for boys.[57]

1911 Russia Honeymooning in Russia by Ruth Kedzie Wood

The few children playing there were attended by stout nurses wearing caps shaped like coronets.
"Some wear blue ribbons, and some pink, do you see?"
"Yes. Why?"
"Blue, if their charge is a boy; pink if it is a girl."[58]

1912 USA
San Francisco Chronicle, April 14, 1912, page 10

Birth Announcement
The correct announcement card which is sent out to intimate friends within twenty-four hours after baby's arrival is a beveled edge six-inch square of highly glazed cardboard.... "Name, Date of Birth, and Signature," in blue lettering if the recent arrival is a boy and in pink for a girl.

1913 USA Young Folk's Handbook

Color: Pink for girls, Light blue for boys.[59]

1913 USA
Fort Wayne
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette July 6, 1913

The World of Fashion - Luxuries for King Baby
Of course everyone knows—or soon discovers—the tradition about "blue for a boy and pink for a girl" and trims her baskets according to her hopes—though many a lusty boy has had to endure girlish pink belongings, and many a lovely wee girl has gone through babyhood suffering the indignity of masculine blue.

1914 USA Fear and Conventionality, by Elsie Clews Parsons

The sexes have their own colors, beginning in the nursery with blue for boys, pink for girls.[60]

1914 France
With the Allies by Richard Harding Davis, 1914, page 98 (1919 edition)

Their straw hats and bare legs, their Normandy nurses, with enormous head-dresses, blue for a boy and pink for a girl, were, of the sights of Paris, one of the most familiar.[61]

1915 USA
The Cocoon: A Rest-cure Comedy, by Ruth McEnery Stuart

But it's the bassinet, if you must know. Pink is for girls, Jack.[62]

1916 UK
Dental Record: A Monthly Journal of Dental Science Art and Literature

The Dental Clinic Card, reproduced on page 646, can be obtained from the Dental Manufacturing Co. (blue for boys and pink' for girls). The Head Teacher is expected to complete this card as far as possible in readiness for the School Dentist's visit.[63]

1917 UK
England and Wales: v. 1.

Introduction, General report, Charts and diagrams, Abstract of legislation, Epitomes of local reports, by E. W. Hope. v. 2. Midwives and midwifery, Voluntary work for infant welfare, Play centres and playgrounds
Case papers take the form of cards, pink for girls, blue for boys.[64]

1918 UK The British Journal of Nursing with which is Incorporated the Nursing Record ..., volume 61, page 22

Case papers take the form of cards — pink for girls, blue for boys, grey for the expectant mothers, and white for the visitors.[65]

1919 USA Dry Goods Economist, J. Mackey (1919)

[Formerly, the traditional colors were] pink for boys and blue for girls, but lately the order has been generally reversed, and stationers, manufacturers of infants' novelties, as well as department store buyers state that the current demand is for blue for boys and pink for girls. Still, opinions differ. Announcements may be sent out tied with white ribbons to avoid any possible controversy.[66]

1920 USA The Publishers Weekly, volume 98, Part 2, November 6, 1920, page 43

BABY'S RECORD By Fanny Cory and Betsy Hill
A delightfully illustrated and decorated book for preserving a complete record of those important first years of a baby's life. Exquisitely printed in two colors on fine writing stock, and bound in colors of special significance, blue for boys, and pink for girls.[67]

1920 USA
San Francisco Chronicle, September 14, 1920, page 8

Opening of Livingston Bros.' New Store Is Colorful Event
Modern Nursery
A little away from the beaten path of the models the newly installed modern nursery held a group of women enthralled with the daintiness of its appointments in "pink for girls and blue for boys."

1921 USA
Popular Science, August, 1921

....maternity hospital in New York City.... The sex of the baby is indicated by the color of the beads—blue for a boy and pink for a girl.[68]

1922 USA Woman's Home Companion - volume 49 - page 57

An Indian Maid with bow and arrows presided at the tree, and agreeably explained that the articles in blue were for boys, and pink for girls. Each person, on payment of five cents, was permitted to shoot at the tree with bow and arrow till....[69]

1922 USA Vogue - volume 59, Issues 7-12 - May 1, page 106

Vogue essays on etiquette: Questions and answers
What are the proper colors for the different sexes? Blue for boy. Pink for girl.[70]

1923 USA American Stationer and Office Manager - volume 92 - page 305

perked up in blue or pink, for boy or girl, respectively, to announce that the little stranger had arrived.[71]

1924 unknown Married life, or, The true romance by May Edginton

"I must share them with the children; and this pink ribbon—pink for a girl, blue for a boy! It'll do for baby's bonnet. What lovely ribbon, silk all through!"[72]

1925 USA The Golden Book Magazine, volume 2, page 60

Blue is for boys; pink for girls.[73]

1925 USA Everybody's Magazine - volume 53 - page 160

"...Why should mothers buy blue for boy babies and pink for girl babies? The psychology of colors has always interested me."[74]

1926 USA The Jewelers' Circular - volume 93 - page 101

Colors for Birth Announcements - The Greeting Card Association, 354 Fourth Ave., New York, has issued the following bulletin... ...and the annual meeting unanimously adopted... That, effective January 1, 1927, the colors used by all members on birth announcements be blue for boys and pink for girls.[75]

1927 USA Bulletin - National Retail Merchants Association (U.S.) - Volume 9 - page 367

Q—What color birth announcements are used for boys and what for girls?
A—Blue for boys and pink for girls.[76]

1928 USA
Los Angeles Times 7 July 1928: A5

NANCY PAGE: Re-peter Gets Bank Book and Kodak in Color by Florence La Ganke
The kodak seemed very much a gift since it came in a colored case and had a colored frame of its own. It was dainty enough for a small baby. The color of the case was blue. That is because, thought Nancy, the baby is a boy. Thank goodness, it is now considered correct to use blue for boys and pink for girls. The other color scheme always seemed wrong. Pink is a little girl's color, always. And anyway, B stands for blue and for boy. Had the baby been a girl the friend would have sent a kodak in a shade of rich rose.

1928 Ireland The Irish Times, December 17, 1928, page 5

Then they put in their tickets through the letter-box—pink for the girls, green for the boys, which they have bought at the cash desk for 6d.—and the window of the little house is turned by the hands of hidden fairies and lo! a parcel comes round lying in the lap of Santa Claus.

(Admittedly, this source assigns green to boys, rather than blue, but it does show a clear association of pink with girls, and it is possible that the ticket was blue-green in colour.)

1929 USA
The Michigan Alumnus, volume 36

The Daily...conducted a two-day poll...on the prohibition question.... Men voted on blue ballots, women on pink, so the results could be kept separate.[77]

1930 USA
San Francisco Chronicle, April 18, 1930, page 11

Conduct and Common Sense by Anne Singleton, The Christening
An angel cake, which is all white, inside and out, would be more suitable. The baby's name might appear on it in blue letters for a boy, or pink letters for a girl, and the baby's mother would cut it.

1931 USA
Sedalia Capital, February 28, 1931, page 2

Modern Etiquette by Roberta Lee
Q. In what color should a baby be dress?
A. The customary colors are blue for a boy, pink for a girl.

1932 USA
New Jersey
New York Times, 07 Aug 1932, page 23

Mothers Protest Blue Seal On Baby Girls' Birth Records
...protesting against the color of the town's seal on birth certificates, and the town officials are considering a change of the blue seal to a neutral hue.... The mothers have petitioned that the town to use a pink seal on their baby girls' birth certificates.

1933 USA
Berkeley Daily Gazette Saturday, April 29, 1933

MODES AND MANNERS - Blue is for boys and pink for girls, according to tradition....

1934 USA American Childhood - volume 19 - page 28

Published by the Milton Bradley Company - includes music (mostly songs with piano accompaniment).
They started sewing with heavy thread, the boys' blue, and the girls' pink, and large needles.[78]

1935 USA The Nation's Business - Chamber of Commerce of the United States - volume 23 - page 40

To the ladies: New non-breakable nursing bottles go gay — blue for boys, pink for girls;...[79]

1936 USA
San Antonio
San Antonio Express, December 23, 1936, San Antonio, Texas

Good Taste - Reg. U. S. Pat. Office - by Francine Markel
Dear Miss Markel—I must buy a gift for a baby girl. We have had a disagreement as to whether blue is for a girl or a boy. E. H.
Answer—Technically, blue is for a boy and pink for a girl. But really this question is not taken do seriously now as it once was....

1937 USA American Druggist - volume 95 - Page 116

Once there was quite an argument among our customers as to what were official colors for babies. I learned through communicating with the Jewish Hospital nearby that blue is proper for boys and pink for girls; while white is proper for a gift if....[80] American Druggist - volume 95, page 116

1938 USA
New Hampshire
The Portsmouth Herald August 24, 1938, page 3


1939 USA LIFE Apr 17, 1939, page 9 (magazine advertisement for Fels-Naptha Soap)

PINK is for girls.
Blue is for boys.
But tattle-tale GRAY for a baby?

1939 USA
Los Angeles Times 20 Mar 1939: A5 LET'S TALK IT OVER!: With Alma Whitaker

".... A girl 16 years old living half a mile from us put on a pink dress and soon she was married. In a little while her grandmother, age 79, put on a pink dress and now she's married, too."
Which really helps settle that long-drawn argument about the correct colors for babies. I stood firm for pink for girls, blue for boys.

1939 Switzerland
Ciba Review - volume 3, issue 25 - volume 4, issue 48, page 1149, September 1939

Infants' Clothing, by A. Varron (page 1148)
It is remarkable that pale blue as the habitual colour for boys', and pale pink for girls', christening-dresses did not become general until the nineteenth century. Prior to that time yellow was the colour for the trimmings of baptismal clothes.[82]

1940 USA
Catalog of Copyright Entries. Part 1. [B] Group 2. Pamphlets, Etc. New Series

"Pink is for girls, Blue is for boys." -C- Feb. 25th, 1939 A 98213"
Fenner and Beane, New York 21684-21689[83]

1941 USA The new American etiquette - Lily Haxworth Wallace - page 436

Both of these cards are punched with two holes at the top and tied with blue, pink, or white ribbon — blue for a boy, pink for a girl, or white for either.[84]

1942 USA
The New York Times, 04 Oct 1942: page D9

Notes for the Shopper Around Town: Blackout Materials Shown, Methods Demonstrated -A Variety of Gifts
Gifts for New Babies are likely to be an expensive item.... A carriage robe or crib blanket for gala occasions is in Macy's Needlework Department for #1.29. In plushy bunny cloth (pink for girls, blue for boys)....

1943 USA
Kingsport Times August 8, 1943

'Double Talk'-Twin Members Of Younger Set
The twins have separate little beds and their personal accessories are in the traditional "blue for boys and pink for girls."

1944 USA
Abilene Reporter-News, March 1, 1944, page 6

for and about WOMEN (section) - GRISSON GRAMS (display ad)
Gift for a new baby.... Log O' Life Baby Book.... In blue for boys—pink for girls. 1.95
Ernest Grisson's 220 CYPRESS

1945 USA
New York Times, March 2, 1945, page 16

Children's styles shown in France
Paris, March 1--Boys and girls.... Some print material is used for both, but the background is blue for boys and pink for girls.

1946 USA
Dubuque Telegraph Herald, October 21, 1946

Roshek's (display ad) - Cover baby with a fine all wool blanket that is all "his" or "her" very own. Pink for girls and blue for boys.

1946 France Le folklore des Hautes-Alpes, by Arnold van Gennep, 1946 - page 51

...un ruban bleu pour les garçons, rose pour les filles à La Bâtie-des-Vigneaux.
...a blue ribbon for boys, pink for girls at La Batie des Vigneaux.[85]

1947 USA
Bath Independent, November 27, 1947, page 1

This Is Your Hospital - THE FOOD IS EXCELLENT
Bath Memorial Hospital....In the nursery the color scheme of blue for boys and pink for girls is carried out in the batter of blankets.

1948 USA
Racine Journal Times Tuesday, May 4, 1948, Racine, Wisconsin

DOROTHY DIX - Blue for boys. Pink for girls.

1949 USA American Record Guide - volume 16 - page 98

Blue For A Boy— Pink For A Girl and Vieni Su, Victor 20- 3549. Vaughn Monroe and His Orchestra, with vocals by V. M., The Moon Men and The Moon Maids.[86]

1949 USA
Cue: The Weekly Magazine of New York Life

And Charles of the Ritz has a wonderful powder base they call Complexion Veil. ... Isn't it lucky that pink is for girls?[87]

1950 Canada Civic Administration - volume 2 - page 32

There was a time when we thought children were not readily affected by color, so we used baby blue for a boy's room and pink for a girl's. Today, the psychologist tells us....[88]

1950 USA Reno Evening Gazette, April 26, 1950, Gazette's Little University, Modern Etiquette

Q. How did the custom of pink for a girl and blue for a boy originate?
A. It is generally believed to have sprung from the old custom in Holland of hanging pink and blue ribbons on the door to announce a birth—Blue for a boy, and pink for a girl.

1951 USA House Beautiful - volume 93, part 2 - page 254

The fabric used is gay — gay pink for a girl or gay blue for a boy....

1952 USA
New York Times, 09 Nov 1952: SM53

Baby's Personal Birthday Candle (display ad)
Pink ribbon for girls—blue for boys. - Lion's Novelties Inc., 139 Payson Ave., New York 34, N.Y.

1953 USA
Billboard Jun 27, 1953

Weill Specialty Company, Brooklyn, has introduced a kiddie shoe bag.... The bags come in blue for boys, pink for girls.[89]

1954 USA
Galveston Daily News, October 20, 1954, page 14, Galveston, Texas

Carter's Play-Jama...$2.95 Three-piece cotton knit set, gently elasticized, for nap time or romp time. Pink for girls, blue for boys; sizes S, M, L.

1955 USA
New York Times, 3 July 1955: part F page 9

News of the Advertising and Marketing Fields
'Remembrance' Ads
A diaper service distributes pens to new mothers, suggesting that the pen (blue for boys, pink for girls) be used for thank-you notes.

1955 USA American Bicyclist and Motorcyclist, 1955

The big news is the "Speedflite" models L-50 and 51 — an entirely new bicycle available in 26″ and 24″ sizes with red flamboyant finish for boys and blue for girls.

1956 Ireland The Irish Times, March 27, 1956 page 11

Advertisement for Sharpley's of Nassau Street, Dublin

"Presents for the First-born."
Blue for boy. Pink for girl.

1956 USA
New York Times, May 27, 1956 page 212

Lambert Brothers (display ad), Lexington at 60th, Jewelers since 1877
The unforgettable baby gift
A book whose parchment pages.... ....genuine gold leaf on blue for boys; silver on pink for girls.

1957 USA
New York Times, April 21, 1957 page 54

Gimbels (display ad)
baby name bracelets for girls, blue for boys.

1958 USA
New York Times, September 7, 1958, page 65

Russeks (display ad)
3-in-1 pram convertible
...sleeping bag...pram suit...toddler's snowsuit...
Pink for girls with bonnet. Blue for boys with helmet.

1959 USA
New York Times, April 5, 1959, page 35

Bloomingdale's (display ad)
Lexington and 59th Street
Baby Sale
Two-pant suit 2.98 Originally 3.98
...cotton crib set... Pink for girls, blue for boys.

1960 Austria
Anthropological Quarterly, Child Training among Tyrolean Peasants

Infants are nowadays usually dressed in white while they are still in the carriage; when they begin to crawl they are dressed in the urban style of pink for girls, blue for boys.[90]

1961 UK Rubber Journal / Rubber and Plastics Weekly, volume 140, page 331

Surveys have shown that in Belgium and parts of Eastern France the ' blue for a boy and pink for a girl ' convention is reversed.[91]

1962 USA Fashions and fabrics: a guide to clothing selection and good gromming, with a special section on household fabrics by Lucy Rathbone

Some of us still prefer the traditional "blue for boys, pink for girls."[92]

1963 USA Color for Interiors, Historical and Modern by Faber Birren

Washrooms could be Pink for girls and Light Teal Blue for boys.[93]

1964 USA
San Francisco Chronicle, February 29, 1964, part 2, page 9

The Question Many by N.A. O'Hara
What do you wear to bed?
You know the old saying about pink for girls and blue for boys.

1964 USSR Soviet Union - Issues 167-178 - page 47

This is a new ceremony marking the birth of a child. The parents are given a memorial medal—pink if it is a girl and blue if a boy. On it are engraved the child's name, date and place of birth. VERDICT AFTER 1 26 YEARS On a cold winter's ...[94]

1965 USA
Lebanon Daily News, November 11, 1965, Lebanon, Pennsylvania

The first graders brought their baby pictures. These are posted in the traditional "Blue for boys" and "Pink for girls" background and colors and marked by numbers.

1966 USA
New York Times, August 14, 1966, page 305

Fortrel is for the two of you. (display ad) - FREITAG'S snuggly sleepwear.... Blue for boys; pink for girls.

1967 USA Peter's Chair by Ezra Jack Keats

When Peter discovers his blue furniture is being painted pink for a new baby sister, he rescues the last unpainted item, a chair, and runs away.[95]

1968 USA My wonderful world of slapstick by Buster Keaton, Charles Samuels

"Pink is for girls ," I told her. "Blue is for boys." "No, pink is for boys," she insisted. I didn't argue....[96]

1969 USA
New York Times, June 23, 1969, page 13

B. Altman & Co., Fifth Ave.
Also: SPECIAL PURCHASE STRIPED COVERALLS.... Of course, blue for boys and pink for girls.

1970 USA
Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs Gazette, April 15, 1970, page 5G

(advertisement) GLOBEMASTER FALCON BIKE - Sporty looking flamboyant blue for boys pink for girls with white buddy seat, chromed wheels....

1971 USA
New York Times May 12, 1971 page 38

Using Toys to Free Children From the Roles Society Dictates by Nadine Brozan the nursery? No more pink for girls and blue for boys, dolls for girls...

1972 USA The name on the White House floor, and other anxieties of our times by Judith Martin

Nicky can't announce a simple tribute like "Blue is for boys; pink is for girls" without getting a long talk about sexism....[97]

1973 USA
New York Times, November 9, 1973, page 10

(display ad) BONWIT TELLER - Resort Rompers for Binwit Babies - Blue for boys or pink for girls.

1974 USA American education, volume 10, page 7

Results of a color-coded vocational guidance test she took (pink for girls, blue for boys) showed she had a special aptitude for....[98]

1975 USA
New York Magazine, March 24, 1975, page 63

The Artful Lodger / Joan Kron Sheets: the new security blanket
Solid-color sheets have masculine and feminine weights too—you know, pink for girls and blue for boys.[99]

1976 USA Urban, Social, and Educational Issues by Leonard H. Golubchick, Barry Persky, page 310

...while sex-role stereotyping is all-pervasive in society, starting, for example, with infants and toddlers who learn that blue is for boys and pink is for girls...[100]

1977 Australia Women and Politics Conference, 1975, volume 1, page 38

I blame the men, too, but social conditioning does start in the cradle, with pink for girls and blue for boys.[101]

1978 USA Right from the Start: A Guide to Nonsexist Child Rearing by Selma Betty Greenberg cards — and of course, the blankets — are often color-coded, pink for girls and blue for boys. [102]

1979 USA He & she: how children develop their sex role identity by Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Wendy Schempp Matthews

...birth for girls, blue for boys)...[103]

1980 Ireland The Irish Times, December 22, 1980, page 10.

In times past, there used to be blue-wrapped presents for boys, pink ones for girls and yellow ones for those under four.

1980 USA The Lesbian Community: With an Afterword, 1980 by Deborah Goleman Wolf - page 38

...a lesbian who had been in the gay community for several years, is that "pink is for girls, blue is for boys, so the color in between, lavender, is for homosexuals."[104]

1981 USA Children, Television, and Sex-Role Stereotyping

Thus, it is blue for boys, pink for girls, dolls or toy trucks....[105]

1982 USA Port Arthur News, January 24, 1982, page 1C

Organization: it's just a matter of time by Jane Covington, Life Editor
.... Then she color codes the wrappings so that she knows gift packages in pink are for girls and those in blue for boys while yellow means the gift is appropriate for either.

1983 USA Ways with Words: Language, Life and Work in Communities and Classrooms by Shirley Brice Heath

Gifts are usually given in whites, yellows, and greens, but some women give outfits in either blue "for boys" or pink "for girls," with much joking between the mother-to-be and gift-giver about what will be done if the child is the "wrong sex"....[106]

1984 USA Flemish Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, volume 1 by Walter Liedtke, Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)

The use of blue for boys and pink for girls goes back well before Rubens's time, but, in paintings of the period, does not indicate gender reliably.[107]

1987 UK
Northern Ireland
Ulster Folklife - volumes 33-38 - page 49

Eventually I got my first pair glasses, blue for boys and pink for girls.... This was around 1944, and the N.H.S. was a few years away.

1988 UK
Social Semiotics by Gunther R. Kress

Traditionally, pink is the colour for baby girls and blue for boys.[108]

1995 Canada Keepers of the culture: the power of tradition in women's lives (Janet Mancini Billson, 1995)

In Canada, though, Ukrainians have taken on North American customs that separate males and females at birth: "Here it's pink for girls and blue for boys, white for either. Never pink for a boy, of course."

Pink for boys, blue for girls[edit]

19th century[edit]

Year Location Comments
1889 Italy
Journal of Education and School World - volume 21 - page 187

Froebel in Naples
These little mortals of the Kindergarten...
The blouse worn by all, paying and non-paying—pink for the boys, blue for the girls—covered, it is true, dresses of very different cost and handsomeness, but all were clean and tidy. Between twelve and one o'clock the children have their "minestra" (soup) and play in the garden. [109]

1890 USA Ladies' Home Journal, November, page 23

Hints on Home Dress-Making by Emma M. Hooper
Pure white is used for all babies—blue for girls and pink for boys, when a color is wished. [110]

1891 USA House and Hearth - page 265

In those lands where two layettes are seemingly prepared, — one with pink ribbons for the boy, and one with blue ribbons for the girl, — the sentiment is still the same, and the unknown still hangs its halo round the sacred little store. [111]

1893 USA
New York Times, 23 July 1893: page 11, FINERY FOR INFANTS

"Oh, pink for a boy and blue for a girl!" exclaims a young woman who is preparing some gifts for a newly arrived nephew.

1897 USA
New York Times, 24 Jan 1897: page 12, BABY'S FIRST WARDROBE

"There are, in the first place, six knitted shirts, made of the finest Saxony; six knitted bands, and a dozen socks, assorted sizes. These are of fine, soft wool, and may be either all white or varied with pink and blue—no other colors for a little baby. The pink is usually considered the color for a boy and the blue for a girl, but mothers use their own taste in such matters....

1899 USA Table Talk (Philadelphia), volume 14, number 11, November 1899

All Through the Year by Mrs. M. C. Myer.
"Cuddledown Town"
A marked color-line now exists in the toilets and appointments of the boy and girl-baby. If a flutter of pink is noticeable as the royal carriage passes, it is safe to conclude that His Majesty "the King" is taking an airing. If light blue decorations are in evidence, behold! it is the Queen! [112]

20th century[edit]

Year Location Comments
1901 USA Woman's Work for Woman - volume 16, page 143

Mrs. Wells of Utica excited great interest in her Baby Band and their badges, pink for boys and blue for girls. [113]

1901 USA
New York Times, 17 March 1901: page 17

For Baby's Layette
With wool in which there is a little silk, the little sock has the lower part of blue for a girl baby and pink for the small boy, usually combined with white....

1903 USA
Hutchinson, Kansas
The Hutchinson News, February 26, 1903, page 2

It is customary to trim the little clothes preparatory to the stork's visit with blue, if a girl is wanted, and pink for a boy.—Atchison Globe

1904 USA
New York Times, 25 April 1904: page 9

In the Shops
The velvet used with them is one of two colors, pink or blue, the two colors usually see in the cradles or layettes of babies, pink for the boys, blue for the small girls.

1905 USA
New York Times, 26 March 1905: page 31

Cost of the American Baby
During their early months the little man and little woman dress exactly alike unless Master Baby should have pink for the prevailing color in his wardrobe and its accessories—the baby boy color; while Miss Baby will have blue, as that is supposed to be the girl baby color.

1905 Italy Los Angeles Sunday Times 09 Apr 1905: VII8

A large supply of cradles
At one extremity is column, bearing the emblem of Rome, a female figure wearing a helmet and holding in the right hand the royal Italian crown. The angel which supports the cradle at the other side clasps in its arms the united shields of the house of Savoy, that of the king, and the house of Montenegro, of which the queen is a member.
Italian mothers and nurses always carry a small child upon a pillow, with ribbons of appropriate color—pink for a boy and blue for a girl.

1909 USA
Los Gatos
San Francisco Chronicle, March 10, 1909, page 3

One of the Silver Cups Be Given to a Prize Baby of Los Gatos
All boybabies are to wear a pink ribbon and all girl babies will wear a blue ribbon.

1910 USA
The Los Angeles Sunday Times, September 4, 1910, part VIII, page 1

For the Baby
There are many things which can be embroidered or entirely made by the clever aunt or best friend of the new arrival's mother. Usually they should be in white, though pink for a boy and blue for a girl are also sanctioned.

1915 USA Shoe and Leather Reporter, volume 118

Another change is the decline of patents with pink or blue uppers—blue for girl babies, pink for boys. [114]

1915 USA Southern Medical Journal, volume 8, issues 7-12

....a postcard notice of the fact that a birth certificate has been files.... The cards are in colors—pink for boys and blue for girls—and contain spaces for names.... [115]

1915 USA
The Los Angeles Sunday Times, February 7, 1915, part III, page 4

The Bright Side of Sunshine Land—People and Their Doings—a Hundred Happy Affairs: A DEBUTANTE'S LETTER.
We are tremendously interested in Clara's coming event—is she banking on pink or blue? Pink for a boy, blue for a girl, you know. Lavender for twins.

1915 UK "Spring Pictures", short story by Katherine Mansfield

One shop is full of little squares of mackintosh, blue ones for girls and pink ones for boys with Bébé printed in the middle of each …[116]

1916 USA
New York Times, May 24, 1916, page 11.

20,000 WOMEN MEET IN ARMORY TONIGHT § Mrs. W. J. Bryan a Guest
They are talking of fixing up a day nursery to accommodate club babies at the armory so the mothers and grandmothers who have brought the babies along can attend the convention and feel that the children are safe. It will be decorated in blue, blue being the color for little girls, while pink is for boys. This is a woman's convention.

1917 USA
Warren Morning Chronicle, November 13, 1917, page 6

"Pink for boys; blue for boys," holds good in these little affairs.... —Winifred Worth

1918 USA The Amazing Interlude by Mary Roberts Rinehart

"Pink is for boys," she said, and led the way upstairs. [117]

1920 USA Fifty Contemporary One-act Plays

The Baby Carriage, by Bosworth Crocker
Mrs. Rooney: Pink is for boys. I wanted a girl, having Mickey then. [118]

1920 USA The Gospel Trumpet, volume 40

Cradle Roll Certificate
A beautifully and artistically designed certificate, printed in four delicate and appropriate colors, gold and pink for boys, gold and blue for girls, predominating. [119]

1920 USA Good Housekeeping ..., volume 71 October

advertisement for Rogers, Lunt & Bowlin Co., Silversmiths, Greenfield, Massachusetts Illustration shows a three-piece Baby Set in special Gift Box—blue for girls, pink for boys. [120]

1926 USA Answers to Questions by Frederic Jennings Haskin

In different sections of the country there are different interpretations of colors for children. The old symbolism, however, is blue for a girl and pink for a boy. [121]

1927 USA
Time magazine, 1927

In Catholic countries (France, Belgium, Spain, etc.) blue (the Virgin's color) is used for girls and pink for boys.[122]

1929 USA
New York Times, 30 Mar 1929: page 7

Macy's Display Ad

  • Blue for a Girl and Pink for a Boy
  • (footnote): Some say, "pink for a girl and blue for a boy." Our advice is still: choose pink—it's prettiest.
1929 Ireland The Irish Times, October 10, 1929: page 7

Description of a wedding party:

There were six attractive children in attendance—four pages and two small girls. [The boys'] red velvet coats were worn with parchment satin trousers, copied from Raeburn's "Pink Boy" […] Each [girl] wore a wide Leghorn hat, trimmed with blue ribbons to match the blue sash at the waist of her frock.

1930 USA Popular Questions Answered - page 59 - George William Stimpson

According to a traditional color scheme, which is of unknown origin, baby boys are properly dressed in pink clothing and baby girls in blue, although in some parts of the country, particularly in the Southern States, this symbolical color arrangement is reversed and baby boys are dressed in blue and girls in pink. [123]

1935 USA Yearbook - Socializing Experiences in the Elementary School

("Pink is for boys and blue is for girls," said a first-grader.) [124]

1938 USA Clothing the Child by Florence Elizabeth Young, page 146

Nor should one follow religiously the old rule " blue for the fair and pink for the dark" or "blue for girls and pink for boys." [125]

1941 USA Quincie Bolliver, by Mary King

'Pink is for boys, and blue is for girls.'
'It is not! It's the other way around!' [126]


Year Location Comments
1849 France
Le nouveau-né de Paris, by Abbé Dubeau, page 230

Afin d'éviter toute méprise dans le service journalier d'un tel établissement, chaque pensionnaire portera un petit collier ... (ambre pour les filles, et ivoire pour les garçons)... Comme aussi le ruban qui enchaînera les grains d'ivoire et d'ambre, sera de la couleur depuis longtemps adoptée et en usage en notre pays, c'est-à-dire, bleu pour les uns, et rose pour les autres.

To avoid any misunderstanding in the daily service of such a facility, each boarder will wear a small necklace ... (amber for the girls and ivory for the boys); ... The ribbon on which the beads will be threaded will be of the color traditionally adopted and used in our country; that is to say, blue for some and pink for others. [127]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Paoletti, Jo Barraclough (2012). Pink and Blue: Telling the Boys from the Girls in America. Indiana University Press. p. 2. ISBN 978-0-253-00117-7. - access date: 9 January 2016
  2. ^ Paoletti, Jo B. (1987). "Clothing and Gender in America: Children's Fashions, 1890-1920". Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. 13 (1): 136–143. doi:10.1086/494390. ISSN 0097-9740. S2CID 144151590.
  3. ^ Ames, Kenneth L.; Martinez, Katharine (1997). The Material Culture of Gender, the Gender of Material Culture. Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum. pp. 27–35. ISBN 978-0-912724-40-9. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  4. ^ Del Giudice, Marco (2012). "The Twentieth Century Reversal of Pink-Blue Gender Coding: A Scientific Urban Legend?". Archives of Sexual Behavior. 41 (6): 1321–1323. doi:10.1007/s10508-012-0002-z. hdl:2318/1852738. ISSN 0004-0002. PMID 22821170. S2CID 207782208.
  5. ^ Garnier, Athanase (1823). La Cour de Hollande sous le règne de Louis Bonaparte. Paris, Amsterdam: Chez Persan. p. 163. Retrieved January 30, 2016.
  6. ^ Bayle-Mouillard, Élisabeth-Félicie (1834). Manuel complet de la maitresse de maison et de la parfaite ménagère: contenant les meilleurs moyens pour la conservation des substances alimentaires, la préparation des entremets nouveaux, glaces, confitures, liqueurs; les soins à donner aux enfans, etc. Paris: Librairie encyclopédique de Roret. p. 294. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  7. ^ Kohl, Johann Georg (1842). Russia: St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kharkoff, Riga, Odessa, the German Provinces on the Baltic, the Steppes, the Crimea, and the Interior of the Empire. Chapman and Hall. p. 131. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
  8. ^ MacGregor, John (1844). Commercial statistics: A digest of the productive resources, commercial legislation, customs tariffs, navigation, port, and quarantine laws, and charges, shipping, imports and exports, and the monies, weights, and measures of all nation. Including all British Commercial Treaties with Foreign States. In three volumes. Vol. 2. London: Charles Knight and Company. p. 802. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  9. ^ The Illustrated London News. Leighton. 1856. p. 298. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
  10. ^ Godey, Louis Antoine; Hale, Sarah Josepha Buell (1856). Godey's Magazine. Godey Company. p. 91. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  11. ^ Putnam's Monthly. G.P. Putnam & Company. 1856. p. 558. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
  12. ^ Peterson's Magazine. C.J. Peterson. 1856. p. 261. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  13. ^ Verdellet, Jules (1856). Manuel géométrique du Tapissier, etc. Paris: chez l'auteur. p. 15. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  14. ^ Du Camp, Maxime (February 13, 1857). Théophile Gautier (ed.). Revue de Paris. pp. 389–90. Retrieved January 30, 2016.
  15. ^ Journal des demoiselles. Paris. 1858. p. 157. Retrieved 1 February 2016.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  16. ^ Lebrun Bassanville, Anaïs (1859). La science du Monde, politesse, usages - bien-être. J. Lecoffre. p. 149. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  17. ^ The monthly packet of evening readings for younger members of the english church. Vol. XXXII. London: John and Charles Mozley. 1862. p. 249. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  18. ^ Alden, Henry Mills; Allen, Frederick Lewis; Hartman, Lee Foster (1862). Harper's Magazine. Harper's Magazine Company. p. 720. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
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