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About the Photos

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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Seven Up: 1920

Seven Up: 1920

"Bathing beach, 1920." Seven lovelies at the Potomac bathing beach near the Tidal Basin. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Wool Jersey versus Cotton Sateen

Most of the bathing suits appear to be wool jersey knits, the most popular bathing suit material at the time. The two girls to the right, however, appear to be wearing home-made cotton shift bathing suits or beach dresses. The reflectivity and drape of the fabric suggests woven cotton sateen, an inexpensive fabric that was also sometimes used for beach garments, particularly by home seamstresses. that you?

The girl 3rd from the left certainly looks familiar?

Two of your lovelies

are sporting a thin, shiny material that looks like no bathing suit fabric that I have seen from the period - and they are a very different style from the others. Do you think they are bathing suits or some kind of beach sun dresses?


What is the guy doing on the right? Like other shorpyers (shorpytonians?) observed I can see scandal afoot with these loose women. Thank you for the daily glimpses into life during the past century, it is refreshing to add more perspective to our history as an industrial and technological society.

My word!

This is NSFW! Have these gals no shame? Missys baring skin like this are looking for a good time, a husband or poison ivy. No good will come of it.

My, What Teeth!

These girls have pretty good teeth, for the most part, in an era during which orthadontics were the exception rather than the rule.

Babes, Bobs ...

No Bernices here. Not even Miss Nips was daring enough to bob her hair.


Several of the gals have medallions around their necks. Any idea the purpose?

[Claim tags for the rented swimsuits. - Dave]

Not for Every Body

Bathing caps, wool suits and swimsocks. That's a look you really don't see much anymore.

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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