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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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How to Swim: 1913

How to Swim: 1913

Newport, Rhode Island, circa 1913. "Swimming class at a naval training station. Many a merchant sailor cannot swim, but it is because he has never been in the navy. Here the instruction is part of the curriculum. In this generation a bluejacket who cannot swim is a rarity." National Photo Co. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

You put your right foot in...

The birth of the Hokey-Pokey, recorded for posterity.


Well, they might be learning to kick, but they look a lot more like "Hudson River Dance" than they look like the Rockettes.


It's a Busby Berkeley musical!

Tip Me Over

I'm a little teapot,
        short and stout
This is my handle,
       this is my spout
When I get all steamed up,
       hear me shout,
"Tip me over
       and pour me out!"

Part of the uniform...

...was a farmer's tan apparently.

Side Stroke

As jnc said they are practicing the side stroke. Specifically, the scissors kick and the "picking apples off the tree" hand stroke.

At the University of North Carolina in the mid 1960's, you had to pass a swimming test (four laps of the pool using three different strokes) in order to graduate.

All together now!

One singular sensation..


Looks like they are all trying to do "the tree." It's even harder when you don't hang on to something.

Can anyone explain

the purpose of this "flamingo" pose?

In the Navy

Practicing the sidestroke.

Young recruits

Look at the third sailor from right, he looks like a mere boy. I doubt he is a day older than 15!

Things Got Tougher

I the mid 1960s, when I joined the Navy, you couldn't complete basic training without passing a swim test.

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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