Nellie and Martha were friends for as long as they could remember. Then Nellie went away to college, and Martha stayed home in their New England village. They kept in touch by writing letters. This book contains excerpts from what they wore in the years 1897-1899.
As the story begins, in the fall of 1897, women were still "pioneering' when they went to college. Some people feared that intellectual pursuits were too hard on the "delicate sex."
Women who went to college were preparing themselves for their role in society as wives and mothers, or if necessary, to fill the need for secondary school teachers. Women had few ways to earn a living—teaching, nursing, factory jobs, domestic work. A very few became writers or doctors. Most young women looked forward to a happy marriage.