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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 • SYPHILIS ... SIX OUT OF TEN CURED, 1941

No Horseplay: 1923

No Horseplay: 1923

June 26, 1923. Back at the Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. Taken a year after the pool's opening in 1922, this photo shows the addition of a slide. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

 

Tops

Well, good, I'm relieved to see we're on the topic of recreational aquatic attire, because I was wanting to ask what men's tops were supposed to be covering in this era. Why were they worn? And were the tops age-specific, like did the youngest boys go topless but older boys on up wore tops? Or was it more of a cultural thing — city males wore them, country males didn't? It just seems like an odd accessory given what I perceive as the acceptance of skinny-dipping in rural swimming holes in this general time frame.

(Sure, I could go to Google for answers to these questions, but I trust Shorpy readers more.)

[Men's tops were de rigueur at Washington's coed pools and bathing beaches in the 1920s. - Dave]

Spectacular Swimmer

I wear my glasses in the pool. And am fortunate to live in a time when swimsuits are no longer made of 100 percent wool.

Unfair!

As a child in the 1940's I always wondered why girls were required to wear bathing caps in pools, while boys never were. And many of us had hair pretty much the same length. Sometime in the 60's (I think) bathing caps were no longer required.

Specs

That kid on the right looks like he has his ordinary glasses on. Either that or swimming goggles were invented a lot earlier than I suspected.

Stay Focused

Right hand side of the picture, almost half way up. Is that boy really wearing glasses while swimming?

That slide is really steep

I imagine coming down that slide would be quite a rush.

It really reminds me of the (long-gone) slide at the hot springs pool in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. As a child in the 70's who could hardly swim, I made the regrettable decision to try it out with the big kids and grownups. It shot me straight into the middle of the pool, in all of my arm-thrashing, snotty-nosed, "Daddy, help! Come save me!" glory. So embarrassing looking back on it now.

 
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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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