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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • BRIDGE AT ARGENTEUIL, 1874

Sweet Seventeen: 1922

Sweet Seventeen: 1922

"Washington Tidal Basin Beauty Contest -- August 5, 1922." Seventeen-year-old Eva Fridell, last seen here and here, takes the loving cup from judge Isaac Gans. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

 

I agree with noelani

I am a little late to the show here, but I have to say I absolutely love the way the photographer captured the charm of this shot.

Some information on Eva Fridell

I decided to ask my dad, the career Marine-turned genealogist, if he could find out anything about our Eva Fridell, here. Here is what he said:

"Eva Fridell, the bathing beauty and not the one that lived in Washington State and died at the age 110, was born 22 October 1904 in Washington, D.C. She died 7 November 1988 in Silver Springs, Maryland. I found several Family Trees with her in them but most everything about her was marked 'Private". There was one indication that she had married a man named Julius Hawkins. He was a Commander in The Navy."

So, that's at least a little more on the girl that so many of us have been touched by, in one way or another!

What a doll!

I agree with all of the others who have commented on how much prettier she looks in this one than the others of her. Personality really makes a difference! Sure looks like Mr. Gans is loving his job, that day, doesn't it?

She lived to be 110 years old

[Article about a different Eva Fridell.]

[Our Eva lived in Washington, DC. See this article in a comment to a previous photo of her. - tterrace]

Oh no he

I'd kill to know what it was he said to get that expression.

Hmmm,

Girls really did have hips back then.

Ah yes

A lovely young redhead with freckles and curves! I love her long curly hair as well. Just beautiful!

I Just knew

I Just knew she had a smile in her. Glad we've finally seen it. She sure looks nice wearing it!

My goodness!

US Park Police Officer Bill Norton must be off to-day!

Say cheese

In reply to tterrace the OED or Brewers' Dictionary doesn't seem have the origin of the phrase "say cheese." I did find this, though:

http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/say-cheese.html

How To Avoid Getting Sand In Your Shoes

Mr Gans had the right idea, don't get off that bottom step.

Very happy young lady

Beautiful, playful smile! We judged too hastily! Pretty girl.

Smile!

So here we have documentary evidence that people not only really did smile back then, but could smile when their picture was being taken. They just had to have something to smile about. Just having your picture taken in and of itself wasn't enough. In fact, what we generally see seems to point to a societal norm of the time that being photographed was regarded as an occasion for dignity. I wonder if the OED has a date for the first occurrence of the phrase "Say cheese!"

Scenario

Charlie Rose is annoyed. He wanted Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon to win, and had told her that he could fix it. Now she'll probably go home and marry that prince.

America's Other Sweetheart

If the other photos left doubts about this girl's ability to charm, this photo should dispel them. This is a classic silent movie era version of "Work it, girl!" And the pair of mesmerized Ruperts on the right seal the deal.

Why don't they do this anymore?

As someone who lives just a few blocks from the Tidal Basin, I'm disappointed that we no longer have such events in the neighborhood (and that we no longer have girls like that in the neighborhood as well).

 
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