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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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Little Dippers: 1905

Little Dippers: 1905

Circa 1905. "On the beach at Coney Island." The bathing-costumes this season are even skimpier than last year's. 8x10 inch glass negative. View full size.


As They Saw It

Since we are "behind" the girls in this picture, we can see the 1905 world they viewed with their eyes.

Short hair

I can think of a couple of possible explanations besides lice, though that might be it, too. One is that it was also done when someone had an illness that involved a high fever, in hopes it would help the heat escape. The other is that there was actually a late-Victorian-through-early 20th-century trend to dress little boys in girls' clothes for some odd reason. I don't have access to it myself right now in order to post, but there is a photo of my grandfather( born around the end of WWI, if I remember right, though in a very remote rural part of Kentucky)at around age 5 or so, wearing a little lacy frock very like the above child. He used to get rather tightlipped and try to claim it was his brother and not him in the pic, but it was apparently marked on the back by his mom.

Short Hair

I think the girls in the foreground are black, with naturally frizzy hair that doesn't lend itself to long tresses. Pixy's hair appears to be pulled back in a rough ponytail that's pointed straight at the camera.


I love the little girl on the left who is about to throw the contents of her bucket at someone--so long ago.

Hitchin' Up Yer Dress

By the looks of the three girls on the right in white, who all seem to have their dresses tucked into their waistbands, I suspect they were getting ready to head into the water for a spashabout. Those don't look like actual bathing suits (which, for both sexes, were wool and looked like long johns).

Little girl

Do you think the little girl with the pixie cut had her hair cut because of lice? I can't think of any other reason she would have short hair.

THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG | 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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