Southern belle

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Cover illustration of Harper's Weekly, September 7, 1861 showing a Southern belle

The Southern belle (derived from the French word belle, 'beautiful') is a proper young woman of the American South's upper socioeconomic class.

Origin[edit]

The image of the Southern belle developed in the South during the antebellum era. It was based on the young, unmarried woman in the plantation-owning upper class of Southern society.[1]

Sallie Ward, a Southern belle

Characteristics[edit]

The image of a Southern belle is often characterized by fashion elements such as a hoop skirt, a corset, pantalettes, a wide-brimmed straw hat, and gloves. As signs of tanning were considered working-class and unfashionable during this era, parasols and fans are also often represented.[1]

Southern belles were expected to marry respectable young men, and become ladies of society dedicated to the family and community.[1] The Southern belle archetype is characterized by Southern hospitality, a cultivation of beauty, and a flirtatious yet chaste demeanor.[2]

For example, Sallie Ward, who was born into the Southern aristocracy of Kentucky in the Antebellum South, was called a Southern belle.[3]


In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "History Engine: Tools for Collaborative Education and Research | Episodes". Historyengine.richmond.edu. Retrieved September 26, 2013.
  2. ^ "Anatomy of a Southern Belle | Deep South Magazine – Southern Food, Travel & Lit". Deepsouthmag.com. June 2, 2011. Retrieved September 26, 2013.
  3. ^ Clark, Thomas D. (2015). The Kentucky. Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky. pp. 238–255.
  4. ^ APPublished: January 30, 1988 (January 30, 1988). "Richard Downing Pope, 87, Dies; Promoter of Florida and Tourism - New York Times". Nytimes.com. Retrieved September 26, 2013.
  5. ^ The Lakeland Ledger, January 29, 1988. Vol. 82 No.99 Pg11A

External links[edit]