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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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The Ring: 1915

The Ring: 1915

Circa 1915. "Four dancing figures." Gelatin silver print by the pioneering Washington, D.C., photographer Frances Benjamin Johnston. View full size.

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Wood nymphs and faeries have been extinct in my area of the world for some time. But when I was a kid my dad and uncles would go out with clubs and a sack and get as many as they could on a Saturday night.

By dawn on Sunday they'd have six or eight of them in the back of the wagon and then we'd ... wait, that was opossums. Never mind.

The Three Graces

This looks like a lot of images of the Three Graces, I think, although they seem to have picked up an extra Grace somewhere. Here's a Botticelli version -- in which the ladies are wearing a bit more than in many other representations.


This reminds me of a Maxfield Parrish paining, but I can't think of which one it is. Someone help me out here!

It looks so familiar

I could swear I've seen somewhere a sculpture so much like this picture, but I can't put my finger on where or when.

Poor young wood nymphs

They appear to have misplaced their undergarments.

Fairies at the Bottom of Our Garden

And I can just hear Beatrice Lillie's hilarious performance of "The Fairies" (poem by Rose Fyleman set to music by the soprano Liza Lehmann). Lillie's music hall turns of the 1920s often parodied the flowery salon song styles of late Victorian singers. Here is the first verse of "The Fairies":

THERE are fairies at the bottom of our garden!
It's not so very, very far away;
You pass the gardener's shed and you just keep straight ahead --
I do so hope they've really come to stay.
There's a little wood, with moss in it and beetles,
And a little stream that quietly runs through;
You wouldn't think they'd dare to come merrymaking there--
But they do.

Bea Lillie recorded her comic version in 1934.

One Grecian Urn!

I can just hear Hermione Gingold shouting instructions to the society ladies of River City ...


Will you come with me, will you come and sing
(Heed not wind nor weather)
Come and join the dancing ring
(Sisters dancing together)

-- Leslie Fish sang it, Kathleen Taylor wrote it.

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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