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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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All Wet: 1925

All Wet: 1925

August 22, 1925. Clarence Ross of the New York Athletic Club, winner of the first three-mile National Long Distance Swimming Race, on the Potomac River at the Key Bridge. View full size. National Photo Company Collection.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Yup, wool

Wool was typically THE swimsuit material after it replaced "nothing" in the 1800s--and it's worth noting that when you get rid of the guard hairs, it's not that scratchy. The scratchy stuff you remember from childhood is where growers leave the guard hairs in there. It's still warm, and it'll shed water better, but it's scratchy...and cheaper. A poorly fitting wool suit would also, just like cheap suits today, show what's beneath well. People had to learn why "liners" were a good idea, then as now.

Second the "Wow!!"

Saw this photo on some other site...what a man!! Nice to see a naturally developed body instead of these "I spent three hours at the gym" guys of today.

I'll second!

Clarence is definitely a hottie, and he looks like fun!

I nominate . . .

. . . Clarence to be added to the "Handsome Rakes" group!


Wow! This guy is so handsome, he looks like my husband!

His swimsuit

...looks like it might have been made out of wool, as I believe many of them were back then. I cannot imagine anything more uncomfortable, but I guess wool was the only thing they had at the time that didn't go see-through when it got wet, or get too clingy. Though, from the looks of this photo...ahem...wool still had its own issues.

Not that I'm complaining.

Given a choice between this or a speedo, I'm torn.

Swimsuit Issues

What is his suit made out of? Its very ... er ... clingy, but not in a bad way.

Mr. Ross is very fit, indeed!

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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