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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 • ABOUT PARIS, 1895

Theta Pi: 1910

Theta Pi: 1910

Washington, D.C., circa 1910. "Theta Pi girls." A couple more pix and then it's off to Daytona Beach! Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

 

Those crazy Theta Pi girls

They just can't wait to get to wild Daytona Beach and get in on the Hottest Ankle contest.

Yowzah

Back row, far left. Now THAT'S what I'm talkin' about! She has that look that only wish the wife could do when I came in the door after work.

My favorite fashion era

I could go on about these dresses all day. The elaborate trims and ruffles of the past are still present, but the silhouette and structure are moving to a more natural form, allowing girls greater physical activity. These gowns are the heirs of the Gibson Girl confections, and the precursors to the practical tailoring of the WWI days.

Life force

Amazing how feminine beauty transcends time, despite the differences in dress, style, and convention. Never mind the fact that all of these women are now dust, for this moment frozen in time in the full bloom of their youth, they still project many aspects of personality and life force, and obviously stir some basic emotions as evidenced by some of the other comments. And yes, the blonde is quite attractive, and the woman in the middle has a Mona Lisa smile that hints of many things.

The Evil Face Of Death

That gargoyle in the middle of the picture is completely creeping me out. It's leering directly at the girl with the slightly frizzy hair in front of it in a manner that suggests, "Beware my dear, for today might be your last."

Heathers...

The Early Years.

Ageless

High school grads? College? Or, very probably, Finishing School. Some seem too young for college and others too old for high school.

[Theta Pi was a sorority at Eastern High School. - Dave]

I know this one too well

Today's version of Right Rear Gal at 30: Jogs w/stroller, shops at Trader Joe's, drives Volvo XC90, has personal Pilates instructor, buys her two-and-that's-enough offspring only those toys made from sustainably harvested Scandinavian birch. And she's gorgeous enough to make other women curse.

Leaner

Thanks to the middle girl, middle row, for leaning right so she would fit into my window without me having to scroll. Quite the forward thinking one.

Pearls

I doubt a picture of a sorority now would show so many similarities. I wonder if the girl on the second row with the square neckline and the pearls was considered greatly daring for stepping out from the high-necked collars?

Not wasted

I wouldn't say that they "wasted" their education by getting married. These are the mothers of the people who came of age in the Great Depression and fought World War II. A lot bigger accomplishment than any lawyer/ad executive/magazine editor who didn't "waste" her education today.

Musing

I wonder of the frat boys ever referred to these lovelies as "the girls from Pet-a Thigh."

Nana...Nana??? OMG

Just once I would love to see a posting from someone having traced their ancestors and found that they were 'lusting' after their own Great Grandmother!!

At first glance, I'd have chosen her as well.

But for the long haul, I'll take the one standing behind her on the left. Kind of a Mona Lisa smile, and looks like she'd be good fun.

Did they have to tie up Miss Angry Face sitting on the far left, or is she mad because she didn't get to hold the sacred bowl?

My initial thought

Who got married and wasted their education and who didn't?
Then I thought who got married (or didn't) and was able to use their education that they worked so hard to get?

Beautiful girls in a natural state which makes me wonder when did cosmetics enter the picture? I bet these girls would have had fun with a kit full of makeup!

[These girls were no strangers to makeup. Even in 1910, cosmetics was big business. - Dave]

I'll take the blonde center row left

If she is already taken and you give me a few beers I'll make do with Miss Chesty on the middle row.

With Cheese

A professional portrait: Everyone in their best white dress. The sorority's prized treasures, the cup and the banner. A patterned carpet easy to set a scene on. A painted backdrop, patched in places. Benches to be arranged on. A cheesy comment from the picture man trying to get the girls to smile. Some like it, some didn't, and others ignored it.

Wow, another...

group of incredible lovelies. Keep 'em coming Dave, and thank you.

That cup

Would be used as part of a ritual. In our sorority back in the 1940s we had a big china cup we'd fill with coke (or wine, if we were feeling adventurous) and pass around during initiation. Everyone would take a sip and we'd sing a song.

Natural Beauty rocks!

Yet another fine Shorpy example of natural beauty, no makeup or artificial enhancements needed here. Although the girl seated on the left could use a couple of pounds of makeup.

Wishing for color

As entrancing as this photograph is, it's one of those scenes I wish I could see in its original natural color — for the variety in the ladies' hair, their skin tone, their eyes and maybe even their dresses (although most appear to be basically white).

Just wait 15 years...

and they'll all have bobbed hair and wear short, straight dresses. And their figures will magically disappear.

A Sorority?

But where are the UGG boots, black tights and oversize Hanes tees?

Sorority Pins . . . .

pearl necklaces, tiny brooches, crisp white dresses, and upswept hair a little frizzy (no hairspray, y'know). Your grandpa, hunky stud that he was, could've mowed a wide swath through this garden of good girls, Dave.

[Something tells me you're thinking of Tony W's grandpa. Who was born long after this photo was taken. - Dave]

I give up

What is that bowl for? Certainly not alms!

Middle girl, back row

Be still my beating heart. Oh for the day I could've met her ... sigh

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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