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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

Icecapade: 1924

Icecapade: 1924

February 23, 1924. A winter frolic along the frozen banks of the Potomac in Washington. View full size. National Photo Company Collection glass negative.

 

Re: Toned

I have to agree with Frank's comment about people of the early 20th century not being couch potatoes. The woman holding the ice has a gorgeous set of "guns". Her arms remind me of Michelle Obama's arms. "Toned" is almost an understatement!

Polar Plunge

This picture reminds me of the Polar Plunge that goes on in Cleveland every year- I don't know when the date is, but in late winter/early spring a bunch of people gather along Lake Erie and jump in the freezing cold water! Most of the people who dive are dressed as scantily these young ladies, and a lot of people who have done it say it's very refreshing. I wouldn't try it myself, though...

Cold as Ice

Where do I start with this one? The Clara Bow type who is riding piggyback? The insanely tight suits? The bare feet? No, I just want to know more. My guess is that these gals, who are all rather too attractive for a random sample, were being used to promote something, or were aspiring starlets. Reminds me of the Mack Sennett Bathing Beauties or some such.

Swimsuits

I'm more impressed by the ice lady's bodysuit - were they common back in the 20s?

And she's sensibly wearing shoes.

1920s swimsuits

I thought these were pretty revealing, too, but there are some drawings and tiny photos here that look similar to what's above. The most striking difference is the absence of bathing caps and decoration/belts.

"Baywatch" 1.0

Their swimwear is more revealing than what some of the other ladies from this era were wearing at the beach.

Would this have been kind of risque for the period? Where are their socks/stockings? Where're their hats? Where's the beach policeman with his measuring tape, making sure we don't see too much leg? Did the beach cop take the winter off?

Toned

She probably didn't have to do anything special to get those arms, either. People of the early 20th century were no couch potatoes.

Holy Moly

OK, 1) barefoot on the ice? Our ancestors truly were a hardier bunch, and 2) the girl holding up the big chunk of ice has AMAZING arms.

 
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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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