Marianne Moore: Poetry

November 21, 2010

“People’s Surroundings” and “Instant Beauty”

“medicaments for ‘instant beauty’ in the hands of all”

“People’s Surroundings” in Observations, 1924, p. 67, l. 32.

Moore dropped this reference to a beauty product after Selected Poems (1935); she had supplied a short note in 1924,  “‘instant beauty’ :  advertisement.” It is likely she referred to an advertisement for three “instant beauty” products, Pompeian Beauty Powder, Pompeian Day Cream, and Pompeian Bloom, offered as a bonus to buyers of a yard-tall print of actress Marguerite Clark entitled “Absence Cannot Hearts Divide.”

Clark (1883-1940) played ingenue and young women roles on Broadway and in early silent films, starring as both Topsy and Little Eva in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. She retired in 1921 to be with her husband on their Louisiana plantation. Compared to Mary Pickford, she had a large following, and in 1920, she posed for this color panel for the Pompeian Company. For “a dime,” readers of Cosmopolitan for November could acquire the print and the beauty products and “instant beauty.”


  1. We have this exact picture and framed, My mother got it form her mother whom got it from her’s.
    We have been researching this picture and have come back with nothing until I found it on here.
    Does anyone know any futher info and know of the value?

    Comment by Dawn — July 13, 2011 @ 11:53 am |Reply

    • I suspect that the only version of the picture you will find is either a print, like the one you have, or the image of it in articles from that cosmetic company. If you can read the small print on the ad, one could obtain a print by sending in some money. Lots of women must have done so. Its value would be in relation to its availability and popularity. A search for the image by title turns up only the ad for the cosmetic company, no values.

      Comment by moore123 — July 14, 2011 @ 6:50 pm |Reply

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