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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 • SYPHILIS ... SIX OUT OF TEN CURED, 1941

Dramatis Personae: 1920

Dramatis Personae: 1920

Washington, D.C., circa 1920. "Iden, V. Gilmore, Mrs." We sense a charity play in the offing, and vaguely recall having plans every night that month. (Oh, and: Ouch.) 8x10 inch glass negative, Harris & Ewing Collection. View full size.

 

Pirates and Sultans and Vamps, Oh My!

Local drama was quite popular in the 20's. Although I can't quite tell if the man and his two ladies (background), are supposed to be pirates or Gypsies.

Love the shoe bulge too.

Foot binding

I've noticed in my family photos of my young grandparents in the late '20's that the foot bulge was quite fashionable for women. The Shorpy photos of the same period raised my memory of this style and reminded me of why my Grandma's feet were so distorted. Early Popeye cartoons showed Olive Oyle with the same "foot cleavage" but this lady has taken it to the extreme.

False feet?

I believe JohnHoward has it nearly correct about a "vamp". However, it doesn't seem to be part of the shoe, and I think it's more likely a costuming device (probably "flesh colored") designed to make it look as if the shoes are severely squishing her feet. On the right foot (on the floor) you can clearly see a piece of cloth(?) attached to the "vamp" and going around the ankle just above the back of the shoe.

[Um, that's the heel of the lady's stocking. Which is indeed "flesh-colored cloth." -Dave]

3 pounds

of foot in a 2 pound shoe.

Wardrobe malfunction

Typical of an amateur drama group without a budget, the Sultan, all dressed in white couldn't afford matching white shoes so he tried to cover his dark shoes with liquid white shoe polish. It didn't quite work.

[These aren't people who couldn't afford things. -tterrace]

Re: Ouch Indeed

Yup. Shoes 2, feet 0.

The lady at the top is cute.

She'd be cute even today.

Virginius and Araminta

The V in her husband's name stood for Virginius, and her first name was Araminta -- Araminta Thompson Iden, to be specific. She appears to have been one of several Araminta Thompsons born in the 19th century.

Ouch indeed

That poor woman's feet!

 
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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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