Barber and Beauty Shops in 1940’s Lander

In 1940 the Lander High School (then known as the Fremont County Vocational High School) Social Studies classes put together a lengthy report on life in Lander in the late 1930s and 1940.  150 students participated, interviewing old timers, business leaders and others. The purpose of the report was “to develop an interest in local history and an understanding of local problems and agencies and to place the information where it might be readily accessible.

The book length report is a fascinating snapshot of Lander at that time, showing many differences from life in the town today.

Two chapters in the book detail barber and beauty shops in the community. Jim Trimmer wrote his report on barber shops. He reported that there were five barber shops in Lander (there is only one today) in 1940, employing eight people.  Barbers did haircuts, shaves, shampoos, neck trims and massages, and made $100 to $150 a month.

One of the purposes of the project was to learn about jobs, how to get them and what training it took. Trimmer reported that a training course for barbers lasted six months and cost $100 for tuition, opportunity for advancement was limited unless you opened your own shop, and that barbers worked long hours.

Ruth Ansell and Betty Newinger wrote their chapter on Lander Beauty parlors. There were seven in Lander in 1940, two in private homes and the others on or near Main Street. They included Bett’s Beauty Shop, Fremont Beauty Shop, Yocum’s Beauty Shop, Dolorese’s Beauty Shop and Mary Janes Beauty Shop.

There were two employees in each shop, except for the ones in people’s homes, and operators had to train for nine months and pass a state of Wyoming test before they could open a shop.

The price for permanents was $2.50 to $6.00. The more expensive permanent was machineless.

In 1940 there were two dry cleaning shops in Lander and one laundry, employing 19 people. Ironers got $10 to $12 a week, while pressers earned $16 a week, the delivery man $17 a week and washers $20 a week.

Next up for the Fremont County Museums

March 17th, 3pm at the Riverton Museum, “Russell Hawley: The Feathered Dinosaurs”

Wyoming Community Bank Discovery Speakers Series

April 14th, 2pm at the Riverton Museum, “Rabbit Hide Painting”

McDonald’s Children’s Exploration Series

April 19th, 7:00pm at the Pioneer Museum, “150 Year Anniversary of Atlantic City” by Bob Townsend

Wyoming Community Bank Discovery Speakers Series

April 21st, 1-3pm at the Pioneer Museum, “Sheep Shearing Day”

McDonald’s Children’s Exploration Program

The Dubois Museum, the Pioneer Museum in Lander and the Riverton Museum need your financial support.  In the current economic environment the museums are more reliant than ever on donations from the private sector to continue to provide the quality programs, collections management, exhibits and services that have become their hallmark over the last three and half years.  Please make your tax deductible contribution to be used specifically for the benefit of the museum of your choosing by sending a check to Fremont County Museums 450 N 2nd Rm 320 or taking it directly to the museum you choose to support.

photo: The interior of Trimmers Barber shop around 1940.

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