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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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They Are Blind to My Beauty: 1920

They Are Blind to My Beauty: 1920

Bathing beach beauty contest, 1920. Elizabeth Margaret Williams and Elizabeth Roache. View full size. National Photo Company.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Does anyone else see Ingrid Bergman?

I don't think the hat was very flattering, but her face reminds me of a young Ingrid Bergman!

Your caption is priceless! I wonder if the sour look had more to do with the fact that she had been struggling to hang on to her three-year-old son all day.

Вот как бывает.

Вот как бывает. Поддашься минутной слабости, и спустя сто лет, кто-то будет помнить тебя вот такой: с ненавистью смотрящей на конкурентку, обошедшую тебя в конкурсе красоты


To me, this is probably one of the best web sites I have ever come across. It is well thought out and put together in a very efficient way. I'm 63 yrs. old and enjoy every time-line represented. For me personally, I find it very educational because it is so real, not like most of the "stuff" we are all exposed to these days. The "comments" section is a very integral and necessary part of this presentation (the educational part). It gives me great comfort knowing that there still are "Americans" out there that feel as I do about our great country and there is somebody out there talented enough to put something like this together for us.

Mike J.
Albany, Oregon


Did I read the word slut correctly? I am surprised she would accept the award being slut.

I think they awarded her the award of being slut because the suit was too far high from the knees and low cut on the front. Back in 1920's it was taboo.

The lady on the left passed with flying colors regardless how beautiful she was.. suit to the knees and up to her neck. Modesty ruled in that time.

[The sign on the trophy says "Most Beautiful SUIT." 2008 is off to a great start! - Dave]

I want to know

I want to know what ethnic group the guy with the high top fade hair is?

I want to know why the guy

I want to know why the guy behind Beautiful Lady doesn't have a prize

Turning point

I award a cup and sign to the lady on the right.
The award is, of course, for the most interesting character.

I wonder about her back story.
She was considered a delicate beauty until that fateful day at the beach beauty contest in 1920... dah dah daaaaah.


I think perhaps the hat on the "Most Beautiful Lady" is what's throwing her beauty off. :)
If I was the woman who won "Most Beautiful Suit" I'd be inching away from the woman to the right. She looks very unhappy!

[Well, yes. The lady on the right is the star of the picture, and the one we had in mind when wrote the headline.]

I was guessin' that. :) Forgive me, I have a gift for stating the obvious.


"I am showing more knee than she is...and she still won."


Note the woman on the far right-she is thinking "And I wore my best suit today!"

Agree about the switcheroo

Although I can't say the left girl's suit is good, so maybe she was just holding the second trophy for the girl on the right.

The bow

"I knew this blankety-blank hair bow was a mistake!"

The ol' switcheroo?

I'm not sure, but I think someone may have reversed those signs...

Geez, I'm happy that I'm

Geez, I'm happy that I'm living today! Hooray for the French and Brazilian beaches! ;)

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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