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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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Bathtime for Baby: 1905

Bathtime for Baby: 1905

Circa 1905. "Martha Harris. Baby being washed." Maybe one (or two) of the Harrises of Harris & Ewing. Harris & Ewing glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Warm and wonderful

Well, bathtime hasn't changed much in 100+ years: water+baby+tub. This baby is clearly enjoying itself, the water must feel great and it's a toasty spot right in front of what looks like the stove. Baby also loves the photographer; those big smiles are usually reserved for Mom or Dad! Poor mom looks a bit tired....I'm sure she was.

This is definitely one of my favorite photos here so far!


That baby's face is full of pure joy. One of the best pictures I've seen on Shorpy thus far!

Thanks, Shorpy

Thanks for being a time machine to an era where, even though innocence didn't always prevail, there was a moral matrix that preserved a sense of peace and order. I now check in every day just to bring my blood pressure down. A big Texas hug around your neck headed your way!!

The Master Bath

Ah, yes, the bedroom bathtime! I wonder how long this lasted.

Gerber Quality

That is one fat, cute baby. Could be the baby on the Gerber label!

Not depressing at all

That baby was the same age as my parents, both born in 1905. I find it interesting to look at, not depressing at all. Who else would remember those two?

Timeless Beauty

I grew up in a less-than-happy childhood; when I was the proverbial angry young man, babies were anathema. Since then, I've worked through a fair amount of crap, learned from a lot of relationships; and now, in my second marriage, at age 53 I'm the proud father of a wonderful six-year old. I learned that there is absolutely nothing more beautiful than a happy baby or child (of *any* species, really). That this photo is clear evidence of one happy baby 104 years ago, to me, imbues the image with a special tenderness. I hope both mother (if that is the mother, and not the nurse) and child "lived long and prospered".

Though that rug looks mighty threadbare; maybe it was just a shop area in the house or washroom something, I'd expect an H&E household to be a bit better-heeled.

And that high collar on the woman makes me sweat just looking at it!

A beautiful picture

but the poor mom is not done after the bath. Wet dress and wet carpet to deal with. But the baby looks to be have a blast splashing around.

Thinking of today

Having just given my 4 month old a bath, I can say wow we've come a long way since then. Back then you had a tub on a rug. today it's constant flow, water temp sensors, rubberized surfaces etc.

Baby looks just as happy in the old wooden tub.

Even better,

a puppy and a baby in the washtub at the same time, lots of fun! Hard to photograph with all the giggling and flying water!

Wrinkled mystery

Can someone explain to me, why sometimes the skin on the hands or faces of people depicted in vintage photos seems wrinkled of old age? Notice the mother's neck, and even the baby's shoulders and his right elbow. Obviously it's some sort of wear and tear on the plate/slide - but even if so, why do other details in the same photo, the towel for example, retain their exact texture?

[Many portrait studios (Harris & Ewing among them) would scratch the emulsion to create highlights when the negatives were printed. -- Dave]

Gracias a la fotografía.

Al menos aquella fracción de segundo vive para siempre...


Just think how cute a puppy would look in that washtub!


Even the baby is dead by now. Sometimes it's depressing looking these pics.

[Not half as depressing as reading some of these comments. - Dave]


There is nothing more lovely than young mothers.


That's a happy baby!

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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