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Mary Phelps Jacob was a 19 year old New York socialite who invented the first widely used 'modern' bra. After buying a new dress that her corsets looked awful under, she created her brassiere with handkerchiefs and ribbons ~ creating a "boyish" silhouette rather than a corsetted 'monobosom'. Patent awarded on November 3, 1914. She set up her business under the name Caresse Crosby, and sold the patent to the Warner Brothers Corset Company for $1500 (who went on to make $15 million from it over the next 30 years).
She had a facinating life. Married with children, a war broken husband, a scandalous affair with the younger wealthy Harry Crosby, European bohemian shenanigans, management of a publishing company, suicide of her husband and his lover, support of an artists' colony.... She was also politically active and founded the organization Women Against War. She died in Rome in 1970.