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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 • EAT MORE FISH, 1917

U-Md: '23

U-Md: '23

"Maryland State, 1923." View full size. National Photo Company Collection.

 

U-Md buttons

I wonder what the lower part of these U-Md buttons is? kind of bell?

[Those are footballs. - Dave]

Student Body

If you have some sort of problem with how these girls look, you should come see our female students now -- fake tans, sweatpants, messy hair, lip gloss, 20 extra pounds, Ugg boots, low tops and drinking problems. I think if I were enrolled 80 years ago, I'd be a lot more proud to say I was a Terrapin.

Hair styles

Putting the teeth and faces aside for a moment, it looks to me that we have three girls with short or bobbed hair (the ones where it is blowing in the wind) and two girls with long hair in buns, and one with a goofy hat for which I can't tell. I would suspect that the hatted girl has long hair and I base my guess on the idea that the hat is more old fashion rather than the trendy topper you would expect with a bobbed haired girl.

Girls cutting their hair in the 1920s was a pretty radical thing to do, much more so than a mere style change. For one it was a reversal of centuries of practice and put the girl squarely in the modern camp likely implying rejection of a whole host of social conventions.

I had a older homeroom teacher in junior high in the mid 1960s who told us once about bobbing her hair. She did it in a barber shop since the hair salon ladies of her hometown didn't do it. (That's another whole social deal -- walking into the male preserve of a barber shop). She said that she kept and brought home her shorn tresses and she told us how her mother in tears laid the hair away as a keepsake, recalling all of the hours spent with her daughter combing the hair at night.

Did the unbobbed girls above later give in? Can't tell. Did the short haired girls get hit on more? You can bet on that.

Rock the Vote Ladies

Women had been granted the right to vote only five years before this photo was taken...and we're talking about how they look?! How disappointed these pioneering scholars would be with us.

I agree

I agree with most of the comments about these young women, most of whom are betrayed by things like the hair styles of the day. The young lady in the center of the picture to whom your gaze is drawn almost immediately because of the way the others are positioned around her is not stunning but would be eminently attractive in any period - fresh faced and eager to face life for the first time as a real adult.

That said, the girl in the back of the picture with her arm upraised (our left) to my mind bears an unfortunate resemblance to Sean Penn in drag.

I was thinking...

the same thing. These lovely young women are distinctive and appear genuinely happy...and because that happiness shines through their eyes, they are beautiful.

When we speak of a "beautiful" woman today, is she really beautiful...behind her augmented breasts, her furrow-free forehead (via Botox), her liposuctioned stomach and thighs, her Restylane fat lips, her label-conscious clothes, her denture-like gleaming white teeth, etc?

I fear today's women have lost sight of their intrinsic value. We continue to be bombarded (via television, videos, movies, and magazines) with images that lead us to believe we MUST be a "pretty package"...but what's inside that pretty package just doesn't matter. Sigh.

The Girls

Wow... I work in PR at a small college, and that could be a promo picture from TODAY except for the fashions. Yeah, I think that as long as you're not exacerbating a structural problem, braces & whatnot are superfluous.

What is remotely unattractive about these girls? They have BEAUTIFUL skin, awesome eyes & good bones. They probably stood up straight, too.

Md. Girls Cont'd.

They look no more imperfect than (in fact pretty similar to!) the majority of people I DO know today. Modern dentistry and cosmetics are for those who can afford them, which is far from being everyone. And I'd agree that they are more interesting to look at than a flock of modern supermodels, but I doubt that these girls were intended to be that in any case. What's wrong with pictures of ordinary people having fun?

Genuine

They look like real people, and like they would be great fun to hang out with.

And I think their teeth are just fine, too!

Md Girls

Oh they're beautiful and fresh! Love this photo!

I agree. They look sweet,

I agree. They look sweet, fresh and unique. I guess we have more perfect teeth now--- but we have lost individuality on the way. I would rather have some gapped teeth and a lack of eyeliner as opposed to a carbon copy for everyone.

Md. Misses

These girls' faces look so fresh and distinctive. They show an incredible amount of character. I have trouble not looking at the girl with the slight gap in her teeth, and I mean that in the most complimentary sense.

No, they don't look like models or celebrities. And they don't have artificially white, perfect teeth. As I've gotten older I've started to think that all perfection does is make things more sterile and boring. I wish I'd grown up knowing this wonderfully imperfect group.

Maryland Coeds

Whooo Boy! Thank science for modern cosmetics and dentistry.

 
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