May Manton's Fashion Book Fall 1913

Estate sales come in all shapes and sizes. During a buying trip last year, I happened across one while traveling through Waco and decided to make an impromptu stop. Walking through the front door of a seemingly small house, I came to find a maze of hallways, rooms and storage spaces, all of which were filled to the brim with stuff! (There really is no better word for the the myriad of things to be found at the majority of these sales, from trash to treasures and everything in between.)

I found several pieces for the shop that have since come and gone, a few personal items, an incredible 1940s scrapbook and a Fall 1913 May Manton Fashion Book which I'd never seen or heard of before. I knew the delicate pages of Edwardian dresses and undergarments needed to be shared, but was at a loss as to how to document them at the time. Needless to say, the book's been on the back-burner ever since.

I posted a photo of it on Instagram earlier this year, in the hope that my followers would come to the rescue with suggestions. Thankfully, photographer Camille Stallings offered the simple suggestion of turning it into an online catalog of sorts. A great idea, to be sure, but so time consuming!

Three months later, I've finally gotten around to it. Enjoy!

From what I could gather, May Manton seems to be a spin-off of McCall patterns, although not quite as upscale. When the company's founder, James McCall, died in 1884, his wife took over, and in turn, Jessie Swirles Bladworth eventually came to take over her position, operating under the pen name May Manton.

Were the May Manton Fashion Books successful? Frankly, I'm not sure. My best guess is that their success was short lived, as I was unable to find any information on them past the late 1910s.