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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.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Baby Doll: 1917

Baby Doll: 1917

November 19, 1917. New York. "Frances White." Half of the vaudeville team Rock & White, Frances attained brief renown for a novelty tune called the "Spelling Song." 5x7 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Still a Teenager

According to Wikipedia, Frances White lived from 1898 to 1969. Doing the math, she was around 19 years old when this photo was taken. William Rock, her vaudeville partner, lived from 1875 until 1922.

Knitting nerds

Well, car nerds are common around here, identifying all the obscure vehicles in the photos. Train nerds are probably second in number. Flag nerds abound. And now we have a highly qualified knitting nerd.

Louise, I found that interesting, and forwarded the link to my knitter/historian cousin who will be delighted! Thanks!!

Speaking Of Spelling

My Mother would sing to us kids a variant of the Mississippi song...."M eye crooked letter crooked letter eye, crooked letter crooked letter eye, humpback humpback eye".

Frances is s a real knitter, too

... probably since her childhood. She is working on a sweater back, in garter stitch, on smaller needles - probably a size four. You can see the ball of hand-wound olive-dunn wool on the floor under the table. The great thing about knitting as a pastime is that it can turn those unoccupied minutes into something useful. Unlike a book, it won't bereave you to put it down in the middle of a compelling passage. You can still chatter or pay attention to other things - such as the sound from outside your dressing room - while your hands are occupied. it's also a great companion while you are traveling. She could probably get half a sweater done riding the rails between New York and Chicago.

Even the familiarity with which Frances holds her needles points to the verity of the shot. The cameraman probably saw her knitting on the table, and suggested that she pick it up to make a good shot.


What an interesting photo. The battered wall and window completely fail to make the scene seem house-like, but that's not what's so strange.

It's the combination of grown woman in full makeup and silk stockings wearing childlike shoes, floppy bow and rompers. Hearing the clip just confirms that the aim was a "sexy child" effect. The "knitting for the troops" just puts the icing on the slightly creepy cake.

I don't know if it makes me feel better or worse to know this sort of thing has been going on for a long time!

McKayla Maroney twin

Heh, heh. Anyone else notice the resemblance?


Frances sings!

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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