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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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Tomato Salad: 1941

Tomato Salad: 1941

Sunbathers at the city park swimming pool in Caldwell, Idaho. July 1941. The girls are rubbing olive oil on each other. View full size. Photograph by Russell Lee.

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I was born in 1954. I grew up in places like Southern California, North Carolina, and Hawaii, where we spent many days at the beach and got sunburned on a regular basis! Sunblocks didn't come along until the mid to late 70s. Before that, the manufacturers of suntan lotions claimed that it prevented sunburn, but it really just helped keep the skin from drying out as fast. I also remember people mixing baby oil and iodine, which supposedly helped the skin tan faster. I found that the main thing oil of any kind did was make the sand stick better. Yuck!

Oh, and I am sure the treat the girl is eating is indeed a fudgesicle!

No sunblock back then

When I was a teen in the 70's we used baby oil instead of olive oil, but the intent wasn't to block the sun, it was to intensify it and get the maximum tanning we could, while forestalling any peeling. We didn't know about sun damage and melanoma. It was considered healthy-looking to have a nice, dark tan. Yikes!

And the title of this one made me laugh. Naughty naughty! But so funny!

One more

The photo is of the same kids when someone started handing out the Popsicles.

Olive oil?!?

That'sa spicy meataballa!

Not a Popsicle, precisely . . .

Actually, that looks much more like being a Fudgsicle, but hey, who's drooling?

Nose Clips

Anyone else notice the dorky noseclips on the boy in the back?


Look harder ...


I still can't see the popsicle, but the girl on the right appears to be holding her hair in place as she uses her teeth to spread open a bobbi pin to place in the waiting hair.

Why yes

It is Scarlett Johansson's grandmother on the left and she is SMOKING!

And that brunette is HOT.

Scarlett Johansson's grandmother

Is that Scarlett Johansson's grandmother on the left?


It really looks like the girl bending over is putting oil on the brunette's chest. She's actually dipping her hand in the oil though.

olive oil

Reminds me of an episode of Scrubs where JD uses Crisco instead of sunblock on his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend. The punchline was: "Do you smell bacon?"

I was curious so I looked it up. It seems that olive oil doesn't really work as a sunblock. It's not without purpose, though -- it acts as a moisturizer, which you need after being in the sun for a while. And it makes you dream of Italy...

Bathing beauties

Now I remember why I started smoking. It looks so glamorous.

[The girl is eating a Popsicle. What looks like a cigarette is actually sunlight on the boy's leg. - Dave]

Bathing beauties

How did the little guy get that job?

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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