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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.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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I Could Just Dye: 1937

I Could Just Dye: 1937

July 10, 1937. Washington, D.C. "Testing cosmetics for the government. Mrs. R. Goodman is shown sitting with Mrs. C.R. West applying dye for the hair. Some dyes contain lead and the poison in the dye may lead to chronic poisoning. The Department of Agriculture is continually on the lookout for false labels and advertising." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

She's just asking for trouble

I mean, everyone knows not to drink Worcestershire Sauce while you're getting a perm.

Hard sell?

How would one go about advertising for people to be a part of this study?

"Wanted: Young women, preferably with no family, to take part in government study. Free cosmetics makeover for those involved. May experience brain damage, scarring, burning, respiratory distress, or death. Or not.
Serve your country in a fashionable way!"

Mrs. Goodman

looks as though she's been inhaling a few too many of those chemical treatments.

Re: Acid Rinse

That's one way to wash that grey right outa her hair.

Curl up and dye

I'm surprised to see that by the mid 30's the government was already starting to crack down on quack and dangerous beauty products.

People used to apply some pretty scary stuff back in those days.


That's all Mrs. Goodman is missing, a Sulfuric Acid rinse.

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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