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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 • THE TOY DEPARTMENT, 1913

Cool Pink: 1953

Cool Pink: 1953

May 1953. "Dancer-actress Gwen Verdon in a hammock wearing a ballgown." Color transparency from photos taken for the Look magazine assignment "Midsummer Fantasies: How to Keep Cool in a Heat Wave." View full size.

 

The location is no coincidence

It makes sense that this photo was for a Look magazine assignment, as she's on top of the Look building at 488 Madison Avenue. At the time it would have been only a couple of years old.

Designed by Emery Roth, the building received official landmark status a couple of years ago. Its rounded corners are reflected in the curve of the railing.

Look magazine has been gone since the early 1970s, a year or so prior to the demise of its archrival Life. Today the building houses mostly service businesses such as law and accounting firms with no real "marquee" tenants.

Not found in nature

As a former natural redhead, I always really wanted hair like that-- a color so unnatural and shocking that you couldn't forget it. The former Mrs. Bob Fosse was certainly one you couldn't forget! (Nor was he.)

"How to Keep Cool in a Heat Wave"

Step 1: Remove elbow-length satin gloves.

"Chicago" star

She was also the original Roxie Hart in "Chicago", and she played her as a rather bedraggled floozy, not a glamor girl as in the movie version. A great performer, and a very brave lady to climb into that hammock!!

Lola

I believe at this time she was about to star in "Damn Yankees". She repeated the role for the movies. If you have seen "All That Jazz" she was the real life person depicted as the red red headed former wife of the lead. In real life she had been married to Bob Fosse.. After their marriage broke up they remained close along with Ann Rienking.

[She'd just opened in Can-Can, May 7, 1953. Damn Yankees opened May, 1955. -tterrace]

I didn't remember correctly. I did see her in "Yankees", but in '55 I was only 11, so forgive me.

High Above Madison Ave

It took me awhile to figure out that St.Patricks is on the right and the roof of the Villiere Houses (then used by the Archdiocese of NY) are on the left.

Note to self:

Must remember to roll out of bed on the left!

 
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Shorpy.com | 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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