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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • UNFAIR TO BABIES, 1936

The Boaters: Late 1930s

The Boaters: Late 1930s

I'd reckon this is the late 1930s in Yosemite. Yosemite seems to be where a lot of these travel pictures were taken. And I can generally judge the age by the kind of negative it is, which is a larger size than the later ones from the '50s and '60s. But tterrace disagrees on the age:

The aspect ratio of the negs is the same as those in our collection from 116 roll film, neg size 2¼ x 4 inches. A popular Kodak Brownie size that could be contact-printed for snapshot-sized prints. Ours date all the way from 1919 up through 1946. Judging by the clothing here, this seems considerably later; 1960s maybe?

What do you think? Scanned from the 4 x 2½ inch negative. View full size.

Going by the film

I completely agree, mdarnton; what I was doing, though, was pointing out the usage of film sizes by this particular photographer or family over time. We had a couple of old folding cameras still around in the 1960s, and I used a Kodak Junior Six-16 and 616 roll film to take this photo in 1962. At the same time I used another, an "autograph" model that used 120 film, to take the shot below that shows it, a box of fresh 616 film and my then-current Starmite II, along with our slide projector:

Don't go by the film

116 (and 616, same format, different spool) film was available into the 1970s. My great grandfather, who died in the early 70s, used the same camera, from around 1920, I think, all his life.

Dating the boaters

The comments placing this in the later 30s or early 40s are pretty convincing. My initial reaction was based mainly on the appearance of the gal wading this side of the boat; as Dave said, something about her garb and hairdo looked 60s to me, but again there's that timeless aspect. For example, in this shot from 1960, I'm wearing my father's hand-me-down swim trunks from the 1940s. I hope Tony sends in some more from this family's collection; there are many gems, plus the quality of the negs (from cameras with considerably better optics than your standard snapshot Brownie) and Tony's scans are excellent. Ah, I should reiterate Tony's mention that the negative size here is consistent with others in the collection that are definitely 1930s, whereas those from the 50s appear to be 6X9 frames on 120 roll film.

It's the hair

The men's hairstyles, especially on the guy with the striped towel, and the guy with the shirt with the loud print, say late '30s to me.

Dating on the water

The sundress top on the woman standing in the boat does not look like anything I saw in the 1960s. Plus the women's hair is very late 1930s/1940s. Notice how much styling is in the edges of the woman who is walking. The pageboy cuts of the 1960s were much simpler. And the large size of the pattern on the man's shirt (between the two that are standing) was popular in the late '30s/1940s.

While it is true that their clothes are so classic and nearly timeless that these people could have been dressed like that all the way into the mid 1950s, these little clues, when put all together, point to an earlier era. They are all consistent with the late 1930s/WWII time frame.

Another Observation

The fellow on the left has one of the striped towels from the other photo, which seems to clearly predate the '50s. On the other hand, they may have been long-lived towels and the two photos could have been taken years apart. I've been dragging the same camp pillow around since the 1980s.

My first impression of the women's hair (and faces -- yes, visages have vintages) said circa 1960 to me. Barbara Bel Geddes.

Style Notes

It is earlier than the 1960s. I would say late 1930s/early 1940s. This is based on belted men's swim trunks, which became fashionable in the late 30s. The women have curled hair which is rolled in from and focused around the face, also of that time period. The man on the far right is wearing an untucked sport shirt, also a style from that time.

1960s is too late for the overall picture the clothing presents.

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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