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About the Photos

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 • STAY ONE JUMP AHEAD OF TROUBLE, 1945

Thisbe: 1900

Thisbe: 1900

Circa 1900. "Thisbe." Who was quite the Babylonian. View full size.

 

Drew Barrymore?

I agree with all comments regarding the beauty of both the woman and the photo, but does anyone else think she bears a striking resemblance to Drew Barrymore?

Had we but world enough, and time

I look at this and think of the line "Had we but world enough, and time..." I love the time travel we can do with old photographs. She is mesmerizing. A Mona Lisa of photography.

How'd I miss this one?

One word: WOW!

Words Escape Me

But colorizing her does not. Here is my take:

Captivating

This girl was absolutely beautiful. Does no one really know who she was? For example, where was the picture found?

NOT Evelyn Nesbit!

I keep running into sites that have this picture posted, claiming that it is Evelyn Nesbit. Some even have pictures of Evelyn right beside them, where I would think it would be obvious to anyone who didn't have extremely poor eyesight that it wasn't the same girl. I have seen the same thing with pictures of many other semi-famous people, such as Virginia Rappe, as well as celebrities as familiar as Joan Crawford. Obviously, it is not of any Earth-shattering importance, but it is one of those things that just bug me!

Dave, does it bug you?

[It's not at the top of my list. - Dave]

It bugged you enough to point it out on the Shorpy Store! Actually, I think this girl is much prettier than Evelyn.

I See a Angle

I think she looks today just like she did 130 years ago when she slipped out of this world. She's my idea of what a Angle in Heaven looks like.

[Acute or obtuse? - Dave]

Decolletage

Funny how the English language never came up with its own name for that sensuous area of a woman's body.

Another Colorization

Very Beautiful

Florence Evelyn Nesbit

This is Florence Evelyn Nesbit (December 25, 1884 – January 17, 1967) an American artists' model and chorus girl, noted for her entanglement in the murder of her ex-lover, architect Stanford White, by her first husband, Harry Kendall Thaw.

[It's not Evelyn Nesbit. Below, Evelyn in 1901. - Dave]

Fifty Comments!

Yes! This girl deserves it. Hello, beautiful!

Thisbe the truth

Pyramus have been smitten.

Oh my.

She is absolutely breathtaking. The lady and the photo are both exquisite.

Pyramus & Thisbe

Pyramus & Thisbe was the play that Bottom and his cohorts were preparing to perform for the marriage of Theseus and Hippolyta when Puck made an ass (or at least half an ass) out of Bottom.

French name?

I believe that Thisbe is a French name. If this is so, the "h" is silent and the name is pronounced "Tis-be."

["Thisbe" is Latin. This photo is an allegorical depiction of a figure from Roman mythology. The legend of Thisbe and her lover Pyramus is an archetypal tale of doomed love that would see its themes recapitulated in works like "Romeo and Juliet." - Dave]

Beautiful!

So a beautiful girl!

pre-Madonna

I agree with some others that this is ravishingly honest ruebenesqe. The message (whatever it is) is for virile young men.

Oh wow

She is gorgeous.

Decadent innocence?

The hands remind me of classical Greek sculpture. There is a dreamy, ethereal, but three-dimensional quality about her. "Drew Barrymore" leapt to my mind also.

Kudos to the Photographer!

The pose is beautiful, the lighting is gorgeous and accentuates all the right bits. Thisbe herself is attractive. But I really think the photographer did an excellent job of lighting and posing the subject to make her look so becoming.

O Tempora! O Mores!

I can't help thinking of the line in "The Devil Wears Prada" where the Meryl Streep character refers to the character played by Anne Hathaway (!) as "the fat girl."

OMG!

That could have been my grandmother (b. 1884)!

It's hard to tell at this resolution.....

but it looks like there is some well done work with the etch knife. Yes, even then, beauty was being enhanced by the skill of retouchers. I'm not saying saying she wasn't pretty, just improved.

[As noted below it would have been a pencil or pen. - Dave]

Yes, question in back?

Will Thisbe on the test?

I wish I knew who she was

Some more photos of her would be grand!

Surely you jest...

Oh brave new world that would consider this innocent portrait of youth and beauty "not safe for work". Somehow, I'm glad our Thisbe isn't here to bear such absurdity.

[Yes, they were jesting. Of course the real humor (the "meta-joke") comes from the replies of people who took the comment seriously.- Dave]

Incredible!

This is, bar none, the loveliest shot in the entire Shorpy collection. The lighting is amazing and the subject is perfect. She is gloriously beautiful.

Dave, you have outdone yourself. The is the absolute pinnacle of perfection!

Meh

She ain't all that. She expects men to find her sexy. It's more attractive when the obvious is somewhat oblique.

Oh. My. God.

I 'bout fell outta my chair, Dave. You've outdone yourself. Don't see how you'll ever top this one.

Finally!

I have new desktop wallpaper.

Cool it, Gents

Your ardor is misplaced. Everything is not as it seems. She is 130 years old today. Exactly how do you think she looks?

Please turn your attention to us living ladies...

A classic beauty

She is absolutely gorgeous. Your mention of Babylonia made me think of King Tut via Steve Martin:

Born in Arizona
Moved to Babylonia (King Tut)
Dancing by the Nile
Ladies loved the style (waltzing Tut)

Thisbe and Pyramus: think Romeo & Juliet, West Side Story, The Fantasticks; with a dash of A Midsummer Night Dream.

"Hot damn"

was the first thing I uttered upon seeing this photo. She's absolutely stunning.

Perfect natural beauty

I actually gasped at the sight of this lovely girl. Perfect skin, total natural beauty. Those perfect lips must be kissed again and again. I could gaze at her for hours.

Whaddaya mean, "NSFW"?

At most workplaces which don't require burkas, shoulders aren't specifically disallowed. You can probably walk outside of your workplace and see young women wearing more revealing clothing on the sidewalk.

Double wow

She looks mighty fine to me just the way she is!
I wouldn't change a thing.

From Buffalo..

to this! Yowzzzzzer! Thanks Dave!

Re: NSFW

I can't imagine any workplace that this photo is not safe for that would allow one to surf the net and look at the Shorpy photos.

What Eyebrows?

She has eyebrows? I haven't worked my way up there quite yet.

I Gotta Say.....

that the evolution of eyebrow grooming was one thing that didn't cross my mind as I studied this photo.

Illuminating

I find this beautiful, especially the position of the hands. And the smoothness of the skin in pre-pre photoshop days.I wonder if lighting was from a window. It created a timeless look.

[It maybe pre-photoshop, but emulsion on the negative has been extensively retouched by stippling with a pen or pencil to create diffuse highlights on the finished print, which in that era generally would have used a very soft focus to give an ethereal, painterly effect. - Dave]

NSFW

Shorpy, please!

You need to start labeling these postings:

Not Safe For Work!

Supercilious

I really get tired of the eyebrow comments. Once upon a time it was not considered unfeminine for women to have natural eyebrows! It's a different style -- do you get it?

Conversely, I am fascinated with these older photos because they show lovely young women not bloated by modern diet and lack of physical exertion -- like walking (gasp!) to school, and without a lot of makeup.

Simply beautiful

That is one of the sultriest gazes I've ever seen from any era. I wonder if she could ever have imagined she'd still be quickening pulses 109 years later.

Re: Memories of Thisbe

Hey Bob, I ALSO met that lady many years ago with the twin pups on the Jersey shore and she was in the water just this far. Being a youngster, I stupidly said "Hey lady, if you are going to drown those puppies, can I have the one with the pink nose?"

Rose wood

A rose in a carved rosewood chair. Timeless! I hope that life was good to this beautiful girl.

Twin Caterpillars

Was there no tradition of eyebrow care in 1900?

Coif, coif

She could have benefited from some conditioner, but she's beautiful.

Fun de Siecle

Thisbe one Victorian hotty!

At that moment in time

Some guy was totally sick of putting up with her.

 
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