SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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About the Photos

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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Smoking by the Pool: 1939

Smoking by the Pool: 1939

Our third glimpse of John Vachon's leggy muse, a woman who we speculate might be his wife, Penny. 35mm nitrate negative. View full size.

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Taped toes

Why are both of her toes taped? I can't figure that it was
because of new sandals. Any suggestions?

Twenty Years Later

An online article by Tara Hanks entitled "John Vachon: A ‘Lost Look’ at Marilyn" contains this sobering fact: "His wife, Penny, suffered from depression and tragically committed suicide in 1959."

Smoking by the Pool: 1939

John and Penny Vachon lived in Greenbelt, Maryland at this time. Some sources indicate that the address was 3G Eastway.


A Penny with Fortune.


This is such and unflattering and odd photo. From where it is shot and the pose of subject make her thighs look huge and her head tiny. This is the sort of photo that if I took it I would do the subject a favor and never let anyone see it.

Our Good Fortune

How any self respecting male could get beyond the subjects gams is a mystery, but I managed. The artwork on the Fortune cover (February 1939) is by Tom Benrimo, titled "Navigation." It appears to be a likeness of the tireless gooney bird, a plane still at it in many parts of the world after 75 years.

All set

Cigarette in hand, pack and matches at the ready and Fortune with a newfangled DC-3 on the cover. Let the rays begin.

Inflationary tendencies

Is it an optical illusion or does this photo unflatteringly reveal and document the beginnings of riding breeches and cellulite?

I guess that even toward the end of the Great Depression that would mark somebody as being somewhat better off than many others.

Thoughts for Penny

She reminds me of a young lady I once met and never had the courage to ask her out. I wonder if she smoked as much as Penny?

The bandage again

I'll take a couple of wild guesses and say that all three photos were taken on the same day and that Mrs. V has a new pair of sandals.

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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