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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Wonder Women: 1919

Wonder Women: 1919

Washington, D.C. "War Risk Insurance gym team, 1919 -- girls." All we can say is: Watch out, boys. National Photo Company glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

The daughters of Dorian Gray

The picture's corrupting while (possibly) the ladies stay young.

Must ... not ... look

I want to look at the full size version of this picture. I REALLY do. But, it is getting late, and I need to get up early in the morning, and need a good night's sleep ... maybe tomorrow. Tomorrow about noon. Maybe.

No "PC" with this comment

I have just met the "Lee" sisters.
Ug-lee, Home-lee, Beast-lee, Ghast-lee ... etc, etc.

Roger Corman assembles the cast

for his next Women in Prison Film.

Skinny Bowling Pins

Decided not to comment on the appearance or speculate on gender possibilities of the gym team members. There are undoubtably some relatives of these folks visiting this site. Sure would like to know what type of sport was being played here though. Shorpyland knows the answer to this, I trust.

Why so unkind?

The ladies are long gone, and I hope they had good long lives, yet there is something so unpleasant about reading these comments. Though indeed, the caption did invite such remarks.

They are young and healthy and athletic and doing something that maybe not a lot of women did in 1919, and more power to them for it. So they weren't pretty. So (blanking) what?

I realize this response is as predictable as the comments. Someone has to play this bit part, so I guess it's me this time.

An Early Manifestation

of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy!


It is not a scar on her leg but a patch job. Stockings were expensive and you would have done anything to keep them going. These ladies aren't in such a position in society that they could have afforded to buy new ones all the time.


That's a repair in her stocking.

[My money says scar. - Dave]

Two things

1. Is that a scar on the knee of the gal top and center? Judging from the caliber of "wonder women" in this photo, my instincts tell me that wound is from a vicious knife fight. These ladies look pretty tough. I'd hate to see the other guy.

2. Is that a spontaneous gender check happening on the top row? You really can't blame her for wondering.


I sure hope time was friendlier to these ladies than the mold and mildew were.

Wonder Women???

Wonder where they got them. They're all homely, those stockings make me itch, and the top row second from the right looks like Bill Clinton.

Welcome to our group

How would you like an Indian club, or do you prefer a pommeling?


Normally, I refrain from commenting on the relative charms (or lack thereof) of folks in the photos on Shorpy.

However, it looks to me as though she might have been a he... Which makes the crotch grab somewhat more odd.

Oh my goodness!

tell me that the little thing in the middle has a repair in her stocking and not a Frankenstein like stitching going up her leg!!? I refuse to comment on what the two to her left are doing.

You are toying with us.

This is a joke, right Dave?

As an aside

What was "War Risk Insurance"? Was it a government entity? Private?

[The Treasury Department's Bureau of War Risk Insurance was established by act of Congress to provide marine insurance during World War I. - Dave]


Back row, second from the right. She's either a very ugly girl or very pretty monster.


An image that will haunt my dreams for years to come.

I will behave.

There is no way I will comment on this photo on a public forum!!

"Wonder Women"

Yes, I was wondering too.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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