List of historical sources for pink and blue as gender signifiers
Since the 19th century, the colors pink and blue have been used as gender signifiers, particularly for infants and young children. The current tradition in the United States (and an unknown number of other countries) is "pink for girls, blue for boys".
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, 1997, 2012).
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. Quoting the concluding lines of this study: "In conclusion, there are strong reasons to doubt the validity of the standard PBR account; if anything, gender-color associations seem to be much more stable than currently believed"
Key to tables
Year = year of publication
Location = place to which text pertains
Comments = brief quote from original text
Pink for girls, blue for boys
|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....
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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...
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....
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?
|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.
|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.
|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 a door on a kind of wide pink pincushion ensoie enriched with lace. I went quickly to the information Haarlem and I learned that when a woman has just given birth, we learn to passers by putting this item on the door whose Dutch name impossible to remember, pronounce and even write, means: proof of birth. it is pink for girls and blue for boys. This bizarre practice was introduced here, they say, the time of the Spaniards.
|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...
|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.
|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
|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 Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine, volume 5, Issue 25 - volume 6, issue 36, page 142 |
|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.
|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.
|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....
|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.
|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)....
|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....
|1869||USA||Little Women, part II, Good Wives by Louisa May Alcott
"Are they boys? What are you going to name them?"
|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.
|Revue des deux Mondes, year XL, period 2, volume LXXXIX, September 1, 1870, page 88|
Les hospices a Paris, by Maxime Du Camp
|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).
|1882||USA||St. Nicholas: An Illustrated Magazine for Young Folks |
|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 ...
|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.
|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.
|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...
|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.
|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.
|Atchison Daily Globe, Wednesday, July 18, 1888, Atchison, Kansas|
New York Fashion—Magnificent colors will be seen this fall
|Hornellsville Weekly Tribune November 17, 1893 |
New York Fashions
|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.
|The Peterson Magazine |
BABY'S BLANKET: "Blue is used for boys', pink is for girls'.
|San Antonio Daily Light April 29, 1892 |
The Baby's Dainty Blanket
|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....
|Los Angeles Times, July 19, 1893, page 4, Col. 7 For Mama and the Baby|
From Our Regular New York Fashion Correspondent
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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. / The pink is for girls and blue for boys; but I think you should give or costume color best fits your face. - Señora Doña Francisca I.
|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.
|1898||Russia||The New England Journal of Medicine|
How Russia Cares for her Foundlings by J. L. Hildreth, M.D., Cambridge, Mass.
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.
|The Parisian (Parisian Illustrated Review), November 1898, volume 5, number 5, page 528|
FRENCH SOCIAL CUSTOMS. by Lionel Strachey
|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.
|Home Mission Monthly |
When the dues are paid, each child receives a badge—pink for girls, and blue for boys.
|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....
|1901||USA||Success Library by Orison Swett Marden, G. R. Devitt|
|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.
|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....
|1905||Italy||Los Angeles Sunday Times 09 Apr 1905: VII8|
A large supply of cradles
|Salted Almonds by F. Anstey |
...parcels neatly tied up in ribbon—blue for boys, and pink for girls....
|The New York Times, May 20, 1906, page 9, col. 3; |
Dreamland reopens and shows new glories.
|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.
|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.
|San Francisco Chronicle, April 11, 1909, page 27|
DUTCH AWAIT THE ROYAL BABY
|Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, August 21, 1910|
Luxurious Preparations for the AUTUMN BABY
|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.
|1911||Russia||Honeymooning in Russia by Ruth Kedzie Wood|
The few children playing there were attended by stout nurses wearing caps shaped like coronets.
|San Francisco Chronicle, April 14, 1912, page 10 |
|1913||USA||Young Folk's Handbook |
Color: Pink for girls, Light blue for boys.
|Fort Wayne Journal Gazette July 6, 1913|
The World of Fashion - Luxuries for King Baby
|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.
|With the Allies by Richard Harding Davis, 1914, page 98 (1919 edition)|
|The Cocoon: A Rest-cure Comedy, by Ruth McEnery Stuart |
|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.
|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
|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.
|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.
|1920||USA||The Publishers Weekly, volume 98, Part 2, November 6, 1920, page 43 |
BABY'S RECORD By Fanny Cory and Betsy Hill
|San Francisco Chronicle, September 14, 1920, page 8 |
Opening of Livingston Bros.' New Store Is Colorful Event
|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.
|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....
|1922||USA||Vogue - volume 59, Issues 7-12 - May 1, page 106|
Vogue essays on etiquette: Questions and answers
|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.
|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!"
|1925||USA||The Golden Book Magazine, volume 2, page 60 |
Blue is for boys; pink for girls.
|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."
|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.
|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?
|Los Angeles Times 7 July 1928: A5|
NANCY PAGE: Re-peter Gets Bank Book and Kodak in Color by Florence La Ganke
|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.)
|The Michigan Alumnus, volume 36 |
BLUE FOR BOYS,
|San Francisco Chronicle, April 18, 1930, page 11|
Conduct and Common Sense by Anne Singleton, The Christening
|Sedalia Capital, February 28, 1931, page 2|
Modern Etiquette by Roberta Lee
|New York Times, 07 Aug 1932, page 23 |
Mothers Protest Blue Seal On Baby Girls' Birth Records
|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 |
|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;...
|San Antonio Express, December 23, 1936, San Antonio, Texas |
Good Taste - Reg. U. S. Pat. Office - by Francine Markel
|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.... American Druggist - volume 95, page 116
|The Portsmouth Herald August 24, 1938, page 3|
THE BABY RULE: PINK FOR GIRLS, BLUE FOR BOYS by Joan Durham
|1939||USA||LIFE Apr 17, 1939, page 9 (magazine advertisement for Fels-Naptha Soap) |
PINK is for girls.
|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."
|Ciba Review - volume 3, issue 25 - volume 4, issue 48, page 1149, September 1939 |
Infants' Clothing, by A. Varron (page 1148)
|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"
|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.
|The New York Times, 04 Oct 1942: page D9 |
Notes for the Shopper Around Town: Blackout Materials Shown, Methods Demonstrated -A Variety of Gifts
|Kingsport Times August 8, 1943
'Double Talk'-Twin Members Of Younger Set
|Abilene Reporter-News, March 1, 1944, page 6|
for and about WOMEN (section) - GRISSON GRAMS (display ad)
|New York Times, March 2, 1945, page 16|
Children's styles shown in France
|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 |
|Bath Independent, November 27, 1947, page 1|
This Is Your Hospital - THE FOOD IS EXCELLENT
|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 |
|Cue: The Weekly Magazine of New York Life|
|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....
|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?
|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....
|New York Times, 09 Nov 1952: SM53|
Baby's Personal Birthday Candle (display ad)
|Billboard Jun 27, 1953|
Weill Specialty Company, Brooklyn, has introduced a kiddie shoe bag.... The bags come in blue for boys, pink for girls.
|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.
|New York Times, 3 July 1955: part F page 9|
News of the Advertising and Marketing Fields
|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."
|New York Times, May 27, 1956 page 212|
Lambert Brothers (display ad), Lexington at 60th, Jewelers since 1877
|New York Times, April 21, 1957 page 54|
Gimbels (display ad)
|New York Times, September 7, 1958, page 65|
Russeks (display ad)
|New York Times, April 5, 1959, page 35|
|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.
|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.
|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."
|1963||USA||Color for Interiors, Historical and Modern by Faber Birren |
Washrooms could be Pink for girls and Light Teal Blue for boys.
|San Francisco Chronicle, February 29, 1964, part 2, page 9|
The Question Many by N.A. O'Hara
|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 ...
|Lebanon Daily News, November 11, 1965, Lebanon, Pennsylvania|
|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.
|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....
|New York Times, June 23, 1969, page 13|
|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....
|New York Times May 12, 1971 page 38 |
Using Toys to Free Children From the Roles Society Dictates by Nadine Brozan
|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....
|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....
|New York Magazine, March 24, 1975, page 63 |
|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...
|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.
|1978||USA||Right from the Start: A Guide to Nonsexist Child Rearing by Selma Betty Greenberg|
....name cards — and of course, the blankets — are often color-coded, pink for girls and blue for boys. 
|1979||USA||He & she: how children develop their sex role identity by Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Wendy Schempp Matthews |
...birth announcement...cards...(pink for girls, blue for boys)...
|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."
|1981||USA||Children, Television, and Sex-Role Stereotyping |
Thus, it is blue for boys, pink for girls, dolls or toy trucks....
|1982||USA||Port Arthur News, January 24, 1982, page 1C|
Organization: it's just a matter of time by Jane Covington, Life Editor
|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"....
|1984||USA||Flemish Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, volume 1 by Walter Liedtke, Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)|
|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.
|Social Semiotics by Gunther R. Kress|
Traditionally, pink is the colour for baby girls and blue for boys.
|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
|Journal of Education and School World - volume 21 - page 187|
Froebel in Naples
|1890||USA||Ladies' Home Journal, November, page 23|
Hints on Home Dress-Making by Emma M. Hooper
|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. 
|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.
|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.
|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. 
|New York Times, 17 March 1901: page 17 |
For Baby's Layette
|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
|New York Times, 25 April 1904: page 9|
In the Shops
|New York Times, 26 March 1905: page 31|
Cost of the American Baby
|San Francisco Chronicle, March 10, 1909, page 3 |
One of the Silver Cups Be Given to a Prize Baby of Los Gatos
|The Los Angeles Sunday Times, September 4, 1910, part VIII, page 1 |
For the Baby
|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. 
|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.... 
|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.
|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 …
|New York Times, May 24, 1916, page 11.|
20,000 WOMEN MEET IN ARMORY TONIGHT § Mrs. W. J. Bryan a Guest
|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. 
|1920||USA||Fifty Contemporary One-act Plays |
The Baby Carriage, by Bosworth Crocker
|1920||USA||The Gospel Trumpet, volume 40 |
Cradle Roll Certificate
|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. 
|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. 
|Time magazine, 1927 |
|New York Times, 30 Mar 1929: page 7|
Macy's Display Ad
|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. 
|1935||USA||Yearbook - Socializing Experiences in the Elementary School|
("Pink is for boys and blue is for girls," said a first-grader.) 
|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." 
|1941||USA||Quincie Bolliver, by Mary King|
'Pink is for boys, and blue is for girls.'
|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 resident will wear a small necklace ... (amber for girls and for boys ivory); ... As the ribbon that will chain of ivory and amber grain, the color will have long adopted and in use in our country, that is to say, for some blue and pink for others. 
1921 - USA
BLUE FOR BOYS; PINK FOR GIRLS
For many years the correct colors for use in connection with birth announcements and many other articles pertaining to or used for babies has been a much mooted question. Most good authorities have maintained that blue for a boy and pink for a girl is undoubtedly correct, while others have insisted that pink for a boy and blue for a girl is proper. So universal did this difference of opinion become that finally, at the suggestion of the Whiting Paper Co., a questionnaire on the subject was sent out by the National Association of Steel and Copper Plate Engravers in an effort to set an authoritative standard of color. Their report is embodied in a circular sent out to the members of the association which reads as follows:
"In the new edition of 'Proper Forms' an attempt to set some standard of color for birth cards has been made. Our questionnaire replies showed cities totaling 12,000,000 people using blue for a boy--cities totaling 6,000,000 using pink for a boy. We believe the majority should be correct and think some record will help standardize it--it is not imperative--when doubtful, advise white."
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