Anna Held

I stumbled into Anna Held this morning, and couldn’t stop thinking about the infamous Dick Cavett blog on obesity (fat people shouldn’t be seen). Some people age more gracefully than others. Mr. Cavett’s pronouncement was simply mean spirited and vacuous (not unlike his shallow defense of the airhead Imus). When I looked at the poster below the fold, I thought, wow—it’s Dick!

What lead me to Anna Held was a 1957 Library of Congress exhibition, “Image of America” which featured an image captioned by Beaumont Newhall:


Actress Anna Held by Aime Dupont, Fifth Avenue, New York.
She was a kind of symbol of the gaiety of the Gay Nineties

Most posters were stylized and present almost a caricature of her impressive build.

Well, it seems to me that the plot, er, thickened by 1903—but ultimately, I think that it was her eyes that were the source of the obsession, not her waistline. Emphasis on a relatively non-functional body part seems silly; I mean, the waist simply provides a supporting role in the grand scheme. Past a certain age I think it’s wise to cloak it, but that doesn’t mean that it should be exiled to invisibility.