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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.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Skinny Dippers: 1924

Skinny Dippers: 1924

"National American Ballet." August 20, 1924. Our svelte dancers take a dip in or around Washington, D.C. National Photo glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Good wool

Good quality merino wool wouldn't be itchy at all. It might smell a little sheepy when wet, but really fine wool, such as woolen underwear used to be made of is usually perfectly soft and comfortable. I swear by merino wool for my winter cycling clothes.

Desiree Lubovska redux

Bill Thayer, grandson of Mme. Lubovska, reports that Desiree is the tall figure striking a pose on the bank. The seated woman is Desiree's mother, Blanche E. Foote, "the financial whiz and manager of the outfit."

Me too!

In response to Supai's comments, I am not made of wool but also am heavy, itchy and smelly when wet, and so when I'm invited to pool parties, I always beg off by saying that my bathing suit has a hole in the knee and the sleeve is frayed. Because of my advanced age, they always understand and I am excused from attending. Clever, huh?


I have worked with swimsuits exactly like these at the historical society where I volunteer. They were made of wool, which must have been heavy, itchy, and smelly when wet. They had no supporting built-in undergarments like the suits of today, no means of camouflaging flaws or highlighting assets. There was no lycra back then to add stretchiness and tightness, they would have had to be a little loose. What people would see when you wore one was exactly what you had.

They may not have had string bikinis back then, but they put on their own show nevertheless.

Are Those (Swimsuits) Real?

I hate to sound morbidly curious, but I wonder if the swimsuits are the same ones that the ladies would have worn in a normal outing to the beach. Wouldn't the men have gotten real eyefuls, if so? At the time this photo was taken, would this have been appropriate attire in mixed bathing venues? I hope some Shorpy reader can address this.

[They're typical of the wool swimsuits of the era. - Dave]


The water looks a bit, um, nippy.

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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