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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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Poised to Make a Splash: 1930

Poised to Make a Splash: 1930

Washington, D.C., circa 1930. "Marjorie Webster School swimmers." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Serious swimsuiting

Someone call me when they start making swimsuits like these again. What I wouldn't give to have my upper thighs disguised. But they look suspiciously like they would stretch out somethin' awful once they got wet, providing plenty of immodesty issues.

RE: A bizarre focus

Regarding the focus on the faces, the photographer may well have used a view camera equipped with tilt/shift/swing. By manipulating the bellows and the lens angle you can adjust the plane of focus such that it is not parallel to the film plane (or the glass plate), so you can have a line of receding objects all in focus. It's quite handy.

Classy Photo Op

As for the lack of swimcaps, etc. these girls had no intention of swimming that day. This is a posed shot for the camera for the school yearbook or something similar, and the idea was to present themselves at their very best. The girl on the board is being a good teammate; if she was out on the board it would look like she was self-promoting herself above her teamamtes. Notice the water is smooth as glass, and probably hasn't been swum in since the day before.

Hair maintenance

None of them are wearing swim caps in the photo. The water would have messed up those marcelled waves in a big way.

Seventh Heavenly

Number Seven, I love you.

Las Vegas

A bizarre focus

Except for just being a nice picture, what strikes me is the focus. While in the center, all the faces are sharply focused, the legs are not. Judging merely distances, in my uneducated perception, this isn't the normal foton-glass-collaboration. Can anyone elaborate on the technique, or am I just seeing things?

Intensive Study of Expression

Washington Post, Sep 14, 1930

Intensive Study of Drama Given

Marjorie Webster School Offers Special Subjects in Instruction

Within the last two years, the Marjorie Webster School of Expression and Physical Education has placed in its curriculum, specialized subjects that are of particular interest to those interested in the professional study of physical education and expression.

The expression department this year offers an intensive study of the drama in the development of the Little Theater.

The courses are offered in the day school, but in order to meet the demand of those who are employed during the day, classes are offered two evenings each week - Monday and Thursday. Courses offered on these nights are expression the dance, and swimming. The spacious pool is open daily to the public for class and private instruction. Children of all ages also have an opportunity of studying in the school. Classes are offered on Saturday in swimming, dancing, expression and music.


Ho hum...

The young lady in the middle looks like she will be totally bored when the whistle blows.

Something's Missing

OK, is this airbrushed or is there more fabric than the dark part of these swimsuits? How does the lady on the left not have any cleavage?

Sudden move!


Girl (still) on diving board: "Ha! ha! ha! Made you all jump in!"

Population Explosion

Ooh la la.

No wonder there are so many 79-year-olds around. These gals are sa-mokin'.

The photographer: "you there, number 8, bend over more a little lower...lower...lower...aaah, just right." Yes, she is.

A Daddy's Perspective

Sure, I see a nice-looking group of young ladies. But now that I am 46 and the father of a rapidly growing little girl, this image strikes me in a way that's completely different from the way it would have, say, 20 years ago.

They are actualy auditioning

They are actualy auditioning for the movie "Titanic" and the girl third from left is Kate Winslet, or at very least her mother.


And where are their socks? Pool police!! We can see the young ladies' ankles!!

On the diving board

I hope they are not all about to dive in because the girl on the diving board has a serious problem.

Wait for it

Wait for is comes...suggestive comment in 3...2...1...


Somebody better warn that young lady in the center that she's about to dive headfirst into the board.

Oh wait, she already did, 79 years ago.

Improving with Age

The young ladies portrayed by your photos seem to get better looking every year. It must have something to do with athletics -- shaplier legs, flatter stomachs and much more.


I hope the girl on the board moved forward a bit before she made her dive. They are all so pretty--and so fit!

What no hats?

I will bet there will be plenty of comments about this photo. Got to love the hairstyles.

No More Curls

Uh oh, so much for all those Campbell's Soup curls. That girl on the diving board had better watch where she dives.

Get your acts together!

Number two, what are you looking at, eyes straight a ahead!

Why are you on the diving board!?

Number nine, what are you doing back there, get to the edge of the pool!


The cute swimmer on the far left looks a lot like Betty Boop!

I Dare Say

We might be able to say that Shorpy is going out with a splash this March! Or is it 'Comely Ladies Week' on Shorpy; I might have missed the memo.
'Sikijom' for everyone!!

Oh no...not again

So many choices, so little time (oh wait...1930...'sigh')

Extra Girl

Where's the girl on the diving board going?

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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