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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 • SUMMER IN ITALY, 1951

Loose-Limbed: 1919

Loose-Limbed: 1919

Washington, 1919 or 1920. "Brewer, Taylor, Gram dancing at Wilson Normal." View full size. National Photo Company Collection glass negative.

 

Practice for the Music Man?

These ladies look like they're rehearsing for that famous scene in which Mayor Shinn's wife leads a similar troupe at the park.

Contrasts

I love the "high art" notes of this photo, the poses, the classical bust (Apollo Belvedere?) as they contrast with the mundane aspects that are visible, such as file cabinets, radiator, and curtain cords.

Flashed

It's interesting that you can totally see their undies through their tunics, down to the lace insertion top of Ms. Brewer's camisole. Ms. Gram seems to be wearing one of the newfangled bandeau brassieres, the hussy.

Miss Jane

The Jane Hathaway School of Dance.

Twiggy

So purty!

Thank you

I'm always sorry I missed the Wild Forest Nymph aesthetic when it was new.

I like the way Ms. Brewer (left) looks acutely self-aware of how this photo will look to people look in 80-90 years' time. She strikes me as someone who was into the movement and physicality of it, but didn't take it too seriously. Ms. Taylor (center) seems to be the artiste of the bunch, and Ms. Gram looks like she's there to meet guys.

Or perhaps I'm projecting again.

Dance fever...

If Isadora Duncan had ever been commissioned to create camouflage for the military, I think it would have looked a lot like this.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
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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