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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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Bathing Girls: 1922

Bathing Girls: 1922

"Lansburgh Bathing Girls, 1922." Avert your eyes, gentlemen -- the leftmost lady's knees are showing. Next to her, Shorpy regulars will recognize Iola Swinnerton, winsome Washington beauty. National Photo glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

20s attire

I LOVE, LOVE the 20s fashions -- just NOT the bathing attire!!


I get seasick every time I look at this.

Bathing Girls: the soundtrack

Good memory, Lectrogeek. "Even grouchy traffic cops get jolly, when they see you step into a trolley." Here's Billy Murray's popular rendition of "Roll 'Em Girls," recorded on November 4, 1925.

No expense spared

Boy, that photographer really went all-out with the backdrop, and even if he managed to crop it well, that flagpole sticking out of the ocean behind the girl on the right is going to be harder to get rid of.

Curtis & Lemmon

A publicity still from Some Like It Hot?

Roll 'em, girlies, roll 'em!

When I was in middle school, in the early '80s, I took a judo class taught by one Morey Korey, who was then about 80 years old. He really moved well for an octogenarian, and naturally, he was big on stretching exercises, which were accompanied by a song he had learned as a teenager, and which he taught us:

Roll 'em, girlies, roll 'em,
Go ahead and roll 'em,
Go ahead and show your pretty knees.
Don't let teacher tell you that it's shocking.
Paint your sweetie's picture on your stocking.
Laugh at Ma, laugh at Pa,
Give them all the ha-ha-ha,
Roll 'em girlies, girlies roll your own!

90 Years Later

In a short 90 years, girls went from 95% coverage to only 5% coverage!

25 years

from here to the first bikini. Regarding these styles,I think the birth rate in the early '20s must have been near zero.


I read an interview with the "oldest living Ziegfeld girl", Doris Eaton Travis from just before she died at age 106 last year. She said she didn't like the fashions of the 1920's. She thought they were unflattering. And I have to say, these outfits are BIG TIME hideous. I mean, the addition of color might help, but what this looks like to me is a VERY awkward halfway point between old fashioned "bathing costumes" and modern one piece swimsuits. Gak indeed.

Could you swim in those?

All that cloth would probably be heavy when wet. I love the style, though.

I'm so sorry, but

are the three on the right part of Les Cagelles?

No gal could get past those "bathing suits"

There's a pretty face or two in this picture but the outfits are so outlandishly awful (and unflattering to boot), it would take a veritable Angelina Jolie to shine in these get-ups. (clearly "less is more" was NOT the motto in those days for bathing beauties)

Prop Flop

What we have here is a failure to crop the brick wall out of the picture.

No shame

Next thing you know they will be appearing at the beach without stockings. Where will it end?

It's hard to tell

they are not really at the ocean.

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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