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About the Photos

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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Chiaroscuro: 1920

Chiaroscuro: 1920

            Come plié with us!

New York circa 1920. "Isadora Duncan dancers." Nitrate negative by the Prussian- born American photographer Arnold Genthe (1869-1942). View full size.



These are three of the six women known as the "Isadorables" and called Duncan's adopted daughters. Fortuny's Delphos dresses, with the famously fine and intentionally uneven hand-pleating that no one has ever been able to reproduce, were so expensive that it's hard to imagine dancing in them, but the Isadorables weren't the only ones who did.

Mariano Fortuny

The dancers are all wearing Mariano Fortuny Delphos gowns. These couture gowns today can cost up to several thousand dollars. Mariano introduced this gown in 1907 and it was very much in style up until the 1930's.

The Three Graces

Now this is a work of art! Slightly Witkinesque.


What beautiful, ethereal women. The condition of this makes it kind of other-worldly. Love it.



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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