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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 • UNFAIR TO BABIES, 1936

Palm Beach: 1905

Palm Beach: 1905

Florida ca. 1905. "On the beach, Palm Beach." Detroit Publishing. View full size.

 

What is that?

I'm trying to figure out what that thing is in the lower left of the picture. It looks like a broomstick and that it's going up under the skirt of the woman in white. It is casting a shadow so it is something there on the beach. Can anyone else figure out what it is?

[It's a rope. Also at the left edge of the photo. - Dave]

Itchy & Scratchy

Actually those wool bathing suits weren't all that bad. I have worn pure wool men's bathing attire from the early 1900's and found it to be quite comfortable. Further, not all old-timey suits were wool; many were plain cotton.

Magritte

Looks like a Magritte painting as told by Proust. Incredible image and structure.

[And, thank God, there are no singing butlers. - Dave]

Kicking sand in your face

All my life I have been underweight and called skinny. But darn, my thighs are thicker then that chap's sitting in the sand!

A comment without attempt at snark

For a change. This is a beautiful picture.

Towels

there's no towels or beach blankets. how can you have 'your spot' without a towel laid down to claim it?

I wouldn't want to be one of the ladies in the dresses, especially the dark one, they must be dying from the heat. No wonder so many ladies fainted easily back then.

[Palm Beach was a winter resort. It's probably not hot. - Dave]

Check out those gams..

The guy in the derby seems to be getting quite an eyeful of the lovely ladies in the skimpy bathing suits.

He can see clear up to their knees! Yowser!

Elegance

The woman with the parasol makes me wish I had lived in that era because of her elegant femininity and mystery.

No Sweat

Evidently.

Thinness

In the past several pictures it finally dawned on me - no obesity. Some people may be a bit thick in the middle but, by and large, people look to be close to their proper weight. When you post images of today's culture, Dave, that won't be the case. Yesterday Disneyland re-opened Small World which had undergone deepening of the boat channel and a redesign of the boats to make them more buoyant.

Parasol-optional

Makes nudism quite appealing, doesn't it?

Re: Beach Scenes

The basics never change, although modern mirrored sunglasses do allow you to be more discreet.

Beach Scenes

All of these recent beach pictures seems to have some overdressed voyeur sitting on the beach and getting an eyeful of the overdressed bathing beauties.

What to wear?

Every time I look at these photographs of people on the beach circa 1900 I have to ask myself, what would be worse -- full set of heavy skirts and long sleeves or an itchy wool bathing costume?

Posing for Seurat

It's a live version of "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte."

 
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